Never Install Your CO Detector Like This

A carbon monoxide detector will only keep your family safe if it's installed correctly.

Low-down detector

wrong way to install a CO detectorCourtesy American Society of Home Inspectors

According to the CDC, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning every year, so putting your detector in the right spot is not just smart, it may be a life-saving decision. It’s hard to find anything good to say about the placement of the CO detector in the above picture. It’s clearly not in an ideal location to detect carbon monoxide, but it’s also vulnerable to dust, dirt, and damage from kids, pets, and vacuum cleaners. This is the most overlooked fire hazard in your home.

The right way

correctly installed CO detectorFamily Handyman

Read the instructions included with your CO detector. Best practices suggest having CO detectors on every floor of your home, situated near every bedroom. Also, avoid placing CO detectors near heating or cooking appliances, which could cause false alarms. Finally, because CO is lighter than air, always place your CO detectors high on the wall but at least 6 in. from the ceiling.

Your CO detector should have an expiration date on the backside so you know when to replace it. If you cannot find an expiration date and it’s more than seven years old, replace it as soon as possible. If you’re unsure of its provenance, err on the side of caution and go out and get one today. Now, read up on these tips to keep your home safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.


  • CDC: “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning”

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Originally Published on The Family Handyman