Posted by Ben Thompson on 11.16.09

Here's the Mini-Skinny on Carbon Monoxide Detectors:

Why it's dangerous:

CO inhibits your body's ability to absorb oxygen.  It's odorless and colorless, and can lead to death in enough cases to make it a s.  It is caused by incomplete combustion  from an open flame, negative pressure on a home sucking back into the home combustion vapors, or possibly from a blocked chimney.

Who should install them:

To do it yourself you can pick up a battery powered unit for $20-60.  An electrician can install an integrated carbon monoxide detector for $150-250.  (This is what I have in my house for the reasons below.)

Where to locate them:

At minimum you would like to put one near the bedroom wing of a house.  Ideal height is 5' off the ground but for a host of reasons (durability & aesthetics) I say the ceiling is a fine location.

False sense of security:

"Lifetime battery" units last about 6 yrs.  More troubling to me is that the sensors on even the best units last maybe 10 years so these are items that require infrequent, but some maintenance.

For a more exhaustive writing beyond my opinions and factoids on the issue of carbon monoxide visit this government site:



Topics: On the Radio, carbon monoxide, CO Detector, Detector