Do I Need a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

March 03, 2020

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas produced when fossil fuels are burned, such as wood, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, natural gas, coal or oil. And carbon monoxide can be deadly. Since carbon monoxide can’t be detected without a carbon monoxide detection device, it’s important to install and maintain one or more of these devices in your home.

What produces carbon monoxide in my home?

Carbon monoxide can be produced by any fuel-burning device in your home, such as a fireplace, home furnace, space heater or other source of fuel. In your garage, carbon monoxide is emitted by vehicles or generators that are powered up and running.

During the colder months when people crank up the heat and warm up the car’s engine before hitting the road, it’s especially critical to ensure your family’s safety against this lethal gas.

Where do I install carbon monoxide detectors?

You can purchase individual carbon monoxide detectors or include them as part of a newly installed home security system. Whichever route you choose, it’s important to place carbon monoxide detectors in the following areas:

  • At least one detector on each floor of your home, including the basement.
  • Inside or directly outside of any sleeping area in your home.
  • Inside any garage that’s attached to your home.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers these recommendations regarding placement of carbon monoxide detectors:

  • Install them on a wall about five feet above the floor or on the ceiling.
  • Never place the detector close to a fireplace or flame-producing appliance.
  • Always keep detectors out of the way of pets and children. 

Other best practices include:

  • Reading the carbon monoxide detector installation manual to fully understand how it works.
  • Remembering that carbon monoxide detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and vice versa. You can, though, purchase dual smoke/carbon monoxide detectors to serve both functions, if desired.
  • Replacing each carbon monoxide detector every five to six years.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure?

Remember that since carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and invisible, it’s hard to gauge carbon monoxide poisoning without a carbon monoxide detector. However, if you suspect you or someone in your home has been exposed to carbon monoxide around a fuel-burning device, watch for these symptoms:

  • Dull headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness

If any of these symptoms are present, move the person to fresh air immediately and then seek emergency medical care.

Can having a carbon monoxide detector help me save money on insurance?

The more safety and security features you have installed in your home, the more likely insurance companies will consider your home a reduced risk for claims. Contact us today for a complimentary review of your homeowners insurance. We’ll help ensure you’re maximizing all of the discounts and benefits available to you for the absolute best rate.

Request a complimentary homeowners insurance review

It’s easy to get a no-obligation quote. Just click below to contact us. We’re here for you.

There's a lot going on at McGriff

View our newsletters, white papers, webinars and more.

McGriff Insurance Services, Inc. is a subsidiary of BB&T Insurance Holdings, Inc.

McGriff Insurance Services, Inc. CA License #0C64544.

Insurance products and services offered through McGriff Insurance Services, Inc., a subsidiary of BB&T Insurance Holdings, Inc., are not a deposit, not FDIC insured, not guaranteed by a bank, not insured by any federal government agency and may go down in value.