Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Installation Height for Carbon Monoxide Alarms Is Your Choice

by Barbara 8. February 2013 10:52

Question about  installation height for most effective use of carbon monoxide alarms

Q:"How high do I need to install carbon monoxide alarms in my home?" Thanks. Rebecca

Answer: According to information from one of our manufacturers, you can install a CO alarm at any height in your home. The reason is that the molecular weight of air is almost identical to the weight of carbon monoxide. Air is typically composed of 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen. Nitrogen has a specific weight of 28.013 while carbon monoxide is almost identical 28.011. CO mixes with
Air as their weights are approximately the same.

We advise you put the unit high enough that a child cannot tamper with the unit. Also remember that a minimum of 3 carbon monoxide alarms are recommended for a two story home, one on each level near the stairwells. Put one inside each bedroom if you close bedroom doors at night.

Direct plug-in units, CO alarms connected to a 12 or 24 volt security system and 9 volt battery operated ones give you many options.

We prefer the Costar 9RV, a 9 volt battery powered CO alarm that is for homes or recreational vehicles. These easily mount with two screws. The units cannot be reinstalled on the mounts unless there are batteries installed.

For homes with wired security systems, the CoStar Security System Carbon Monoxide Alarm,12-24SIR is a great choice.

Costar carbon monoxide alarms use a unique sensor that mimics red blood cells. Each sensor takes 28 days to "grow." The sensor reacts with carbon monoxide just as red blood cells do in our bodies. In other words, when a human is exposed to CO, the oxygen in the blood that attaches to red blood cells is replaced gradually by carbon monoxide. When carbon monoxide levels in an area near the sensor reach a level of 70 parts per million in a period of 60 to 240 minutes, the sensor is saturated sufficiently to set off an alarm. Below 35 ppm no alarm will sound. At 150 ppm, the alarm goes off within 10 to 50 minutes. At a level of 400 ppm, the alarm sounds within 4 to 12 minutes. 400 ppm alarm within 4 to 15 minutes.

Safe Home also sells RV carbon monoxide alarms that wire to both 12 volt systems, the coach and the engine, and have a 9 volt battery back-up. The CoStar 12RV-DB 12V RV CO Alarm W/9V Battery Backup protects you even if the 12 volt system is disconnected.

We also sell co alarms by other manufacturers that plug directly into 120VAC outlets. The only problem here is that few outlets are above a child's reach.

Thanks for your question.