Best Practices: Carbon Monoxide Detector Placement


Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. When exposed to CO, it replaces the oxygen in your blood and can cause tissue damage or death. Many things can cause an elevated CO level in a home, it is imperative to protect yourself and your family. Read through and follow the information in this best practices document.


Selecting a location for the CO detector is key. When selecting a location for your CO detectors, make sure there is at least 1 in every level of the home (attic, each floor - upstairs/downstairs, basement), while keeping height and distance in mind.

Note: It is strongly recommended that there are additional detectors placed throughout the home. Place 1 inside/right outside of all sleeping quarters. When sleeping the effects of carbon monoxide are virtually undetectable, the detector alarm will wake you and alert you to the threat.


Select low (around knee height) locations on the walls. Carbon Monoxide is a heavy gas, placing the detectors closer to the floor allows the threat to be detected earlier. If they are placed on the ceiling or next to a smoke alarm, by the time the detector notices the CO, it will be too late to avoid harmful effects or death.

Note: Because of the low installation point, be mindful of children and pets. Do not place the detector in an area where they will be easily tampered with.


Install CO detectors a minimum of 15 to 20 ft from gas-powered appliances (stoves, dryers and furnaces) and things that produce heat. If there is an attached home garage, please a smoke detector withing 10 ft of garage entry.

Location don’ts

When selecting the location for the CO detector, never place the detector in/near any of the following:

  • In direct sunlight
  • Near gas or fossils fuel areas
  • Humid/moist/damp areas (bathrooms or under sinks)
  • Within reach of children/pets
  • Near windows or breezeways
  • Behind doors, cabinets, curtains, blinds, or other areas where they may be bumped or sheltered from CO

Additional safety practices

In addition to the placement suggestions we recommend the following:

  • Read the manual to ensure proper installation and use
  • Connect detectors is possible
  • Test the detector monthly
  • Keep it clean, making sure it is free of dust and other debris
  • Check battery status often.

Note: The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission advises changing your CO detector’s batteries annually when turning your clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time.


Full PDF - Best Practices Carbon Monoxide Detector Placement (DOC ID 1958)