Carbon Monoxide Detector Facts

Carbon Monoxide Alarms can be placed at any height on a wall or ceiling. It is a common misunderstanding that Carbon Monoxide Alarms must be placed near the ground to accurately detect levels of CO. In truth, Carbon Monoxide is roughly the same weight as air, and distributes evenly throughout a room. This means a CO detector can be placed at any height on a wall or ceiling. It is important to keep in mind that the CO Alarm must be placed in an area that allows for the siren to be heard. The First Alert brand team recommends placing a Carbon Monoxide Detector in all sleeping areas, as well as living areas and the basement. As Carbon Monoxide moves freely through the air, the Alarm must not be located near a ceiling fan, or blocked by furniture in order to detect CO levels accurately. Be sure to keep your Carbon Monoxide Alarm clean, and out of the way of children or pets. It is important to refer to your user's manual for specific installation requirements as to where to install your carbon monoxide detector.
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What is Carbon Monoxide and why is it dangerous?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless gas that is a common by-product of incomplete combustion. Carbon monoxide is produced when fossil fuels like wood, coal, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, natural gas, or oil burn. Because of the way that your body reacts to carbon monoxide, it is a deadly gas that must be avoided to prevent poisoning.canada what causes carbon monoxide within home

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

If you believe yourself or anyone are under the influence of carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately vacate the surroundings and search for a well-ventilated area before contacting emergency services.

Symptoms of mild carbon monoxide exposure can include:

  • Slight headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms

Symptoms of medium carbon monoxide exposure can include:

  • Throbbing headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Elevated heart rate

Symptoms of high exposure to carbon monoxide can include:

  • Convulsions
  • Unconsciousness
  • Heart and lung failure

Prolonged exposure can lead to brain damage and even death.



What causes carbon monoxide in the home?

Common explanations for the presence of carbon monoxide can be gas or oil appliances such as a furnace, clothes dryer, range, oven, water heater or space heater that's not operating properly. In typical conditions, trace amounts of carbon monoxide produced by these sources are typically not dangerous. However, there are a few noteworthy conditions that can cause carbon monoxide to spread at a rapid pace:

  • Appliance error, i.e. the heat exchanger on your furnace has taken damage.
  • Vent, flue, or chimney is choked by debris or even snow.
  • Fireplace, wood burning stove, charcoal grill or other source of burning material is not properly vented.
  • Vehicle is left running in an attached garage and carbon monoxide leaks into the home.
  • Several appliances running at the same time and competing for limited fresh air can be a cause of carbon monoxide buildup.
  • An overabundance of products (even when working as attended) can produce CO.


    What should I do when my First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarm triggers?

    First Alert CO Detectors are designed to warn you before CO symptoms begin. The alarm should never be ignored or disabled.

    When you hear your detector sound off:

    • Remain calm. While pressing the silence button to quiet the alarm.
    • Quickly move everyone outside of the home.
    • Dial 911 from a safe location away from the source of CO.
    • Do not reenter your home. Emergency responders will inform you when the area if CO free.
    • Don't tamper with your First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector. Emergency responders will need to check the detector once they've entered the scene.



    Where is the best place to install my carbon monoxide detectors?

    First Alert CO Alarms can be placed at any height on a wall or ceiling.

    • It is a common misunderstanding that carbon monoxide detectors must be placed near the ground to accurately detect levels of CO. This isn't true. Carbon monoxide is roughly the same weight as air and distributes evenly throughout a room. This means your First Alert CO Alarms can be placed at any height on a wall or ceiling.
    • First Alert CO Alarms must be placed in an area that allows for the siren to be heard. The First Alert team recommends placing a CO detector in all sleeping areas, as well as living areas and the basement.
    • Refer to your user's manual for specific installation requirements as to where to install your carbon monoxide detector.


      Is there anywhere I shouldn't install carbon monoxide detectors?

      Carbon monoxide moves freely through the air. It's essential for First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarms to avoid areas located near vents or ceiling fans. Areas that are blocked by furniture or curtains should also be avoided.

      • Do not install First Alert CO Detectors inside garages, kitchens, furnace rooms, greasy areas or in any location that's considered extremely dusty, dirty or humid.
      • Do not install alarms in direct sunlight or locations that prone to extreme temperature conditions. Such locations would include unfinished attics, un-insulated or poorly insulated ceilings, unconditioned crawlspaces and porches.
      • Do not install CO alarms in outlets shielded by curtains or other obstacles. Avoid areas that produce turbulent wind such as ceiling fans, heat vents, air conditioners, fresh air returns or open windows. Blowing air may hinder CO from reaching the sensors.



      What is the suggested number of carbon monoxide alarms in the home setting?

      • The National Fire Protection Association of Canada (NFPA) recommends that a CO detector be placed centrally outside of each and every sleeping area outside of each bedroom. For maximum protection, you should have additional carbon monoxide alarms placed in every bedroom and on every level of your home. This would include the basement.



      Can I reset my plug-in CO detector with the silence button?

      No, a First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarm cannot be reset using the test/silence button.
      • To reset your CO detector, the alarm will require fresh air and time to burn the contamination off the sensor. Find and hold the silence button for 5 seconds to mute the detector while contamination is being burned off the sensor. This process may need to be repeated a number of times to allow your carbon monoxide alarm enough time to properly reset.



      What is the suggested way of performing a carbon monoxide test?

      Locate and hold the Test Button on the front of your carbon monoxide detector until the siren sounds. Be sure to press the button long enough. This process can take up to 20 seconds before the alarm responds to your Carbon Monoxide Alarm test.



      My battery powered carbon monoxide detector won't stop chirping. How do I stop it?

      If your First Alert CO Detector keeps chirping, the battery may be low or weak. Locate the battery light on your co alarm. A yellow light will indicate if the battery is currently too low.


      Why is my First Alert Plug-In CO Alarm flashing a green light?

      This is a normal feature of the powering up cycle.

      • Any time there is a power outage, brownout, surge or other problem with the power, the detector will go through a power up cycle. The flashing on your plug-in carbon monoxide alarm should stop after 5 minutes before remaining a steady green.



      Why is there a red light flashing on my carbon monoxide alarm?

      • The red light indicates that your CO Alarm is not receiving any power from its battery. Replace the batteries for the alarm immediately.



      Will First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarms detect explosive gas leaks?

      • No, you'll need a First Alert Explosive Gas Alarm.
      • Explosive gas comes in different forms. Natural or propane gas users should have at least one explosive gas leak detector.



      Why couldn't my emergency responder locate any traces of carbon monoxide after the alarm sounded?

      If your carbon monoxide detector sounded off, it detected a dangerous amount of CO gas. Here are a few of the reasons why no CO was found during the responder's search:

      • The carbon monoxide gas dissipated when fresh air was introduced. Opened windows and doors could have released the CO from your home.
      • The alarm may have been triggered by a reoccurring problem. CO Alarms measure gas exposure over a length of time. The exact conditions that cause an alarm may be difficult to duplicate during an investigation.



      Why is my First Alert Plug-In CO Alarm flashing a green light?

      This is a normal feature of the powering up cycle.

      • Any time there is a power outage, brownout, surge or other problem with the power, the detector will go through a power up cycle. The flashing on your plug-in carbon monoxide alarm should stop after 5 minutes before remaining a steady green.



      Why is there a red light flashing on my carbon monoxide alarm?

      • The red light indicates that your CO Alarm is not receiving any power from its battery. Replace the batteries for the alarm immediately.



      Will First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarms detect explosive gas leaks?

      • No, you'll need a First Alert Explosive Gas Alarm.
      • Explosive gas comes in different forms. Natural or propane gas users should have at least one explosive gas leak detector.



      Why couldn't my emergency responder locate any traces of carbon monoxide after the alarm sounded?

      If your carbon monoxide detector sounded off, it detected a dangerous amount of CO gas. Here are a few of the reasons why no CO was found during the responder's search:

      • The carbon monoxide gas dissipated when fresh air was introduced. Opened windows and doors could have released the CO from your home.
      • The alarm may have been triggered by a reoccurring problem. CO Alarms measure gas exposure over a length of time. The exact conditions that cause an alarm may be difficult to duplicate during an investigation.