Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Using Them To Secure Iron-Clad Protection

Posted On: December 12, 2012

The state of Illinois enforces a law that requires all residential properties to have a working carbon monoxide detector installed within 15 feet from the master bedroom door if any kind of combustible fuel is used indoors (such as in a gas furnace or water heater). The law became effective in 2007, but if you’re behind the curve on getting your detector installed, this guide can help you choose, place and maintain these devices.


Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors use either your home’s wiring or batteries as a power supply. If you choose the hard-wired or plug-in units, look for one that has a periodic readout of CO levels, especially if you’re using older equipment that burns combustible fuels, such as a gas furnace. Checking the CO levels from time to time lets you know when a service call is mandatory for your safety. CO is odorless and colorless, and the only way to detect its presence is to use carbon monoxide detectors.


Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on a wall at least 10 to 15 feet away from any appliance that uses a combustible fuel, to avoid false alarms. Avoid placing the detectors close to the kitchen or bathrooms, because humidity may interfere with their operation. If your home has an attached garage, placing a detector within 10 to 15 feet alerts you when CO is seeping into your home. Each floor of your home should have at least one detector. If you have to budget for them, place the first one near the master bedroom.


Check the batteries for the CO detectors once a month (unless they’re connected to your home’s electrical system). Unlike smoke detectors that sit passively until smoke triggers them, CO detectors cycle continually, which increases battery usage. Push the test button to test. If the alarm doesn’t sound, replace the battery. If that doesn’t work, replace the detector.

If you would like more information about carbon monoxide detectors and keeping your home safe when using gas, oil or propane, please contact us at Ernst Heating & Cooling. We’ve provided superior HVAC services to the Metro-East area since 1951.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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