Never Install Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Like This

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A carbon monoxide detector will only keep your family safe if it's installed correctly.

wrong way to install a CO detectorPhoto: Courtesy of American Society of Home Inspectors

According to the CDC, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning every year, so putting your detector in the right spot is not just smart, it may be a life-saving decision. It’s hard to find anything good to say about the placement of the CO detector in the above picture. It’s clearly not in an ideal location to detect carbon monoxide, but it’s also vulnerable to dust, dirt and damage from kids, pets and vacuum cleaners.

The Right Way

correctly installed CO detector

Read the instructions included with your CO detector. Best practices suggest having CO detectors on every floor of your home, situated near every bedroom. Also, avoid placing CO detectors near heating or cooking appliances, which could cause false alarms. Finally, because CO is lighter than air, always place your CO detectors high on the wall but at least 6 in. from the ceiling.

Your CO detector should have an expiration date on the backside so you know when to replace it. If you cannot find an expiration date and it’s more than seven years old, replace it as soon as possible. If you’re unsure of it’s provenance, err on the side of caution and go out and get one today — here are three of the best CO detectors available.

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