Where to Place Carbon Monoxide Detector: A Comprehensive Guide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent, invisible foe that lurks in homes, posing a significant health risk to its occupants. This odorless, colorless gas, often produced by burning fuel in cars, stoves, grills, and fireplaces, can cause serious illness or even fatal poisoning when inhaled in high concentrations. The insidious nature of CO makes it crucial for homeowners to be vigilant in detecting its presence. This is where carbon monoxide detectors come into play. A well-placed carbon monoxide detector acts as an essential early warning system, identifying the presence of CO at dangerous levels before it can cause harm.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the critical aspects of carbon monoxide detectors: how they work, where to place them for maximum effectiveness, and the different types available on the market. Understanding where to place carbon monoxide detector is crucial in ensuring your home remains a safe haven for you and your loved ones. Let's dive in!

carbon monoxide detector

How Does Carbon Monoxide Detector Work?

A carbon monoxide detector operates by detecting the presence of CO gas in the air. Utilizing technologies such as electrochemical sensors, biomimetic detection, or metal oxide semiconductors, these detectors are designed to identify elevated levels of CO. When dangerous levels are detected, the device triggers an alarm, alerting you of the potential hazard. The alarm sound is distinct and loud to ensure it can be heard even when you are asleep, or in less frequented areas of the home.

co detector

Where to Place Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Determining where to place carbon monoxide detectors is vital for maximizing their efficiency and ensuring your safety. The common inquiry of "Does carbon monoxide rise or fall?" is important here. CO is slightly lighter than air, meaning it can mix throughout the room. Therefore, installing the detector at a height of about 5 feet from the ground or at eye level ensures that it is in the path of natural air circulation, allowing for more accurate detection of the CO levels you are breathing. Additionally, carbon monoxide rises with warm air, so a reasonable alternative is placing the detector on the ceiling, at least six inches away from the wall, which can be particularly effective in detecting rising CO levels.

Specific recommendations for CO detector placement include:


Kitchens are common sources of CO due to the presence of gas stoves or ovens. However, detectors need to be far enough away to prevent false alarms from everyday cooking while still being close enough to detect real threats. Here's where to put carbon monoxide detector in the kitchen:

  • Install the CO detector at least 5 feet away (but less than 20 feet) from fuel-burning appliances (like stoves or ovens) to avoid false alarms caused by minor, normal emissions during cooking.
  • Avoid placing the detector near windows, doors, or areas with high humidity (like close to a dishwasher or sink), as drafts and moisture can affect its performance.

eufy carbon monoxide detectors

Outside the Bedroom:

Another key location where to mount carbon monoxide detectors is in the hallway outside of bedrooms. This ensures that the alarm will be heard if it goes off during the night, providing crucial protection when residents are most vulnerable. 

  • As with other rooms, it should be installed at least 5 feet above the ground, at eye level, or on the ceiling.
  • If your home has multiple floors, it's advisable to install a detector on each level, especially near sleeping areas.


If your basement houses fuel-burning appliances (like furnaces, boilers, or water heaters), install a detector there, ideally near the stairway leading to the rest of the house.

  • Install it at least 5 feet above the ground or at eye level for optimal detection. Ensure it's accessible for maintenance and not obstructed by storage items or machinery.
  • Ensure that the detector is not near direct sources of heat, as extreme temperatures can affect its functionality.

In summary, when you are planning where to install carbon monoxide detectors, prioritize areas such as the kitchen, hallways outside bedrooms, and basements. These locations are strategic in ensuring that alarms are heard promptly and in detecting CO leaks at their potential sources, thereby significantly enhancing the safety of your home against the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

How to Install Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Having identified the ideal location for your carbon monoxide detector following our earlier placement suggestions, the next crucial step is its proper installation. Here is a step-by-step guide to walk you through the installation process for a wall-mounted detector:

  1. Read the Manufacturer's Instructions:Before installation, carefully read the instructions provided with your carbon monoxide detector. Different models may have specific requirements for installation and placement.
  2. Gather Necessary Tools:Typically, you'll need a drill, screwdriver, wall plugs, and screws.
  3. Mark and Drill Holes:Hold the detector or its mounting plate against the wall, mark where the screws should go, and drill holes there.
  4. Install the Mounting Plate:If your detector has a mounting plate, screw it onto the wall. If not, you'll mount the detector directly to the wall.
  5. Attach the Detector:Attach the detector to the mounting plate or directly to the wall, depending on the design. Some models click into place, while others might require additional screwing.
  6. Test the Detector:Once installed, test the detector according to the manufacturer's instructions. This usually involves pressing a test button on the device.

Remember, proper installation and regular maintenance of your carbon monoxide detector are essential for ensuring it functions correctly and provides reliable protection against the dangers of CO poisoning.

Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Choosing the right type of carbon monoxide detector is crucial for ensuring the safety and security of your home. Several types of carbon monoxide detectors are available, catering to different needs:

Smoke/CO Dual Detectors

These are combination units that provide the functionality of both a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector. This dual functionality is convenient, saving space and maintenance time while ensuring your home is protected from two major hazards.

Battery-Operated CO Detectors

Battery-operated CO detectors are highly versatile and can be installed almost anywhere in the home without the need for wiring. They are especially useful in areas without easy access to electrical outlets and continue to work even during power outages, ensuring continuous protection. However, it's important to regularly check and replace the batteries to ensure the detector is always operational.

Hardwired CO Detectors 

Hardwired detectors are directly connected to the home's electrical system and often come with a battery backup for uninterrupted protection. This type of detector is ideal for those who prefer a more permanent solution that doesn't require frequent battery changes.

Smart Security CO Alarm Listeners

A smart smoke and CO alarm listener, like our eufy Security Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Listener, is a cutting-edge addition to home safety technology. While it does not detect smoke or CO by itself, it listens for the sound of your existing smoke and CO alarms and sends alerts to your smartphone, providing seamless integration and remote monitoring. This smart alarm system addresses the limitations of traditional detectors by ensuring you're always connected and informed, providing an extra layer of security that is especially crucial in larger homes or for families with elderly members. It ensures that no alarm goes unnoticed, no matter where you are, and everyone is promptly alerted in case of an emergency.

eufy Security Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Listener

Bonus Tip: What to Do If Your CO Detector Goes off?

If a carbon monoxide detector alarms, immediate action is necessary:

  1. Safely evacuate all members from your home immediately. Do not stop to gather belongings; getting to fresh air quickly is paramount.
  2. Once outside, assess if anyone is experiencing symptoms of CO poisoning, which can include headache, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath, or confusion.
  3. Call emergency services or the fire department. Inform them that your CO detector has sounded and whether anyone is showing signs of poisoning.
  4. Stay outside in fresh air and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Do not re-enter the home until it has been cleared and deemed safe by professionals.
  5. Even if no one is showing immediate symptoms, it's wise to seek medical attention to rule out CO poisoning, as symptoms can sometimes be delayed or mistaken for other illnesses.
  6. Before resuming normal activities in your home, have a professional inspect and determine the source of the CO.


In conclusion, when considering where to place carbon monoxide detectors, it's imperative to prioritize locations where the risk is highest and where the alarm will be clearly heard. Remember, the right placement not only extends the effectiveness of the detectors but also maximizes the safety and well-being of all residents. Regular maintenance and testing are equally important to ensure continuous protection. Stay informed, stay alert, and let your carbon monoxide detectors serve as vigilant guardians against this invisible threat.

Frequently Asked Questions about "where to place carbon monoxide detector"

Can I put a carbon monoxide detector in attic?

Putting a carbon monoxide detector in the attic is not typically recommended. Carbon monoxide detectors are most effective when placed in or near sleeping areas and living spaces where people spend the most time. The attic is not usually an ideal location unless it is a living space or contains a potential source of carbon monoxide.

Is it ok to put a carbon monoxide detector on the ceiling?

Yes, it is generally safe to install a carbon monoxide detector on the ceiling. Carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air, so mounting a detector on the ceiling can help ensure it detects the gas effectively. However, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding placement for optimal performance.

Where is the coverage area for a carbon monoxide detector?

The coverage area for a single carbon monoxide detector typically includes the room where the detector is installed. It is recommended to have one on each floor of your home, including the basement, and near sleeping areas to ensure maximum protection and early detection of carbon monoxide.

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