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Close Up of CO Detector

Your Ultimate Guide to Placing Carbon Monoxide Detectors

April 7, 2024

Ensuring your home is safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) begins with the correct placement of carbon monoxide detectors. These small devices can be lifesavers, alerting you to the presence of CO, a colorless, odorless gas that can lead to poisoning or even death if not detected. Understanding the specifics, such as the correct mounting height for a carbon monoxide detector, what a carbon monoxide detector looks like, carbon monoxide detector placement on the wall, and how far a carbon monoxide detector should be from the furnace, is crucial. Let’s delve into these aspects to optimize your home’s safety.

Understanding Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Before we explore the placement strategies, it’s important to recognize what a carbon monoxide detector looks like. Most CO detectors are small, round or square devices that can be mounted on the wall or ceiling. They typically have a test button and a digital screen to display CO levels. Some models are combined with smoke detectors for a two-in-one safety solution.

The Correct Mounting Height for a Carbon Monoxide Detector

When installing CO detectors, one common question is the correct mounting height. Carbon monoxide mixes with air, meaning it can be found at various levels within a room. Therefore, it’s advisable to place detectors in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations, which often suggest mounting them at least 5 feet from the ground. This height helps ensure the detector can effectively monitor the air you breathe while standing or sleeping.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Placement on the Wall

For carbon monoxide detector placement on the wall, there are strategic considerations to ensure optimal functionality. Firstly, place detectors near sleeping areas to ensure alarms can be heard at night. It’s also wise to install a CO detector on every level of your home, including the basement. Avoid placing detectors near windows or doors where drafts might skew the readings. Additionally, keeping detectors at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances minimizes false alarms due to temporary spikes in CO levels.

Distance from the Furnace

A critical safety measure is knowing how far should a carbon monoxide detector be from the furnace. Furnaces are common sources of CO leaks, so placement is key to early detection. Ideally, a CO detector should be installed within 10 to 15 feet of the furnace. However, it should not be placed directly above fuel-burning appliances to avoid false alarms from normal, temporary emissions. Ensure there’s at least one CO detector on each floor, and particularly near sleeping areas, to provide adequate coverage and response time in the event of a leak.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Test Regularly: Test your CO detectors monthly to ensure they’re working correctly.
  • Replace Batteries: Change batteries at least once a year or consider models with 10-year batteries for less maintenance.
  • Know the Sounds: Familiarize yourself with your detector’s alarm sound versus its low-battery or end-of-life warning.
  • Professional Installation: If unsure about placement, consider professional installation and consultation for peace of mind.


The placement of carbon monoxide detectors in your home is a simple yet crucial step in protecting your family from the silent threat of CO poisoning. By understanding and applying the guidelines for the correct mounting height, recognizing what a carbon monoxide detector looks like, ensuring proper carbon monoxide detector placement on the wall, and maintaining the recommended distance from the furnace, you can significantly enhance your home’s safety.

Your vigilance in installing and maintaining these detectors could be lifesaving. If you haven’t installed carbon monoxide detectors in your home yet, or if it’s time to check or replace your existing ones, don’t wait. Ensure your home is equipped to alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide.

For more information on selecting and installing carbon monoxide detectors, or if you need assistance in ensuring your home is safe, contact Lickety-Split. Our team is ready to help you make your home a safer place. Remember, your safety is our priority. Let us help you protect what matters most.


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