A carbon monoxide alarm is the only sure-fire way to detect this otherwise undetectable gas. As carbon monoxide exposure can lead to debilitating injury or death, this modest life-saving device is worth the small financial investment.
But there’s not much point in owning a carbon monoxide detector if it’s not fit for purpose or you haven’t installed it correctly. In this post, we’re providing a few helpful tips on what to buy and where to place your carbon monoxide alarm.
Why You Need a Carbon Monoxide Alarm
If you’re not convinced you need a carbon monoxide alarm, ask yourself this: do you have any fuel-burning appliances in your home?
If you’ve got a space heater, clothes dryer, water heater, or oil heater (or any other fuel-burning appliance), you’re at risk. While these devices are perfectly safe under normal circumstances, a minor malfunction can be deadly.
Appliances that are improperly installed, poorly ventilated, or inadequately maintained (most commonly clogged flutes) will cause carbon monoxide to proliferate through your home. As this noxious gas is odourless, colourless, and tasteless, you won’t notice its presence until it’s too late. Most carbon monoxide poisoning victims die in their sleep.
A carbon monoxide detector, however, will pick up tiny traces and trigger an alarm long before you start inhaling harmful quantities. The crucial safety device saves several Australian lives each year.
What Type of Carbon Monoxide Alarm Should You Buy
Even in small doses, prolonged carbon monoxide exposure causes long-term damage to the brain, lungs, and heart. Moderate carbon monoxide exposure leads to immediate symptoms like headaches, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness while inhaling large quantities is fatal.
Given how harmful even small doses can be, it’s best to purchase the most sensitive carbon monoxide alarm you can afford. Aim for a unit that can pick up 50 parts per million (ppm) in less than two hours (60-90 minutes is ideal). A trusted brand like Lifesaver will provide better protection than a no-name knock-off from an online marketplace.
Carbon monoxide alarms come in three main types: mains-powered, battery-powered, and powerpoint-powered.
The mains-powered units need to be hardwired by a licensed electrician, which is costly in Australia. However, these premium options are super reliable and provide the best level of protection.
If professional installation isn’t feasible, aim for a battery-powered device. These easy-to-install units typically use AA batteries, which need to be swapped out every year.
Another hassle-free option is the power point-powered alarm, which you plug straight into an existing electrical outlet. However, this design limits where you can install the device. Also, householders (especially children) might be tempted to unplug it and plug something else in—it’s really not ideal.
Where to Position a Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Now you’ve settled on an appropriate model, it’s time to install your device.
Many people mistakenly believe a carbon monoxide alarm needs to be installed down low to detect carbon monoxide. However, as carbon monoxide has the same density as air, the height doesn’t actually matter. Most manufacturers recommend installing your alarm at eye height, but only so you can monitor the numbers on its LCD.
It is, however, essential to install an alarm near (or in) every bedroom of the house. If you can’t put one in each room, position your alarms in a hallway with sufficient airflow to cover each room. Use one on every floor, or more if you’ve got two (or more) bedrooms on opposite ends of the same floor.
Remember: most carbon monoxide fatalities occur while the victim is already asleep. Covering your bedrooms is crucial.
Don’t place your carbon monoxide alarm in the corner of any room, as it needs sufficient airflow to detect the gas rapidly. Furthermore, avoid positioning one near any fuel-burning appliances, as you’ll end up getting false alarms.
And finally, don’t neglect your basement or garage, if you have one. These rooms typically experience a build-up of carbon monoxide before other areas of the house—it’s worth knowing about it ASAP.
Shop with Confidence at PSA Products
With almost 40 years experience in the home safety sector, PSA Products exclusively sells life-saving devices you can trust.
As a proud Fire Protection Association (FPA) member, we stock a wide range of wireless smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at wholesale rates. Browse our catalogue today to find the perfect home safety solution for you.