Where Should I Install CO Monitors?

SafeWise experts have years of firsthand experience testing the products we recommend. Learn how we test and review

Just as you should use both door and window sensors with your home security system, a smoke detector and carbon monoxide (CO) monitor should go hand in hand when it comes to protecting your home from smoke, fire, and poisonous gases. Many states require homes to have carbon monoxide detectors, but where and how many you install will vary based on your home’s layout and size.

Make your home safer with one easy step.
From wild weather to fire hazards, our newsletter provides tips for protecting everything (and everyone) you love. Sign up now!

By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

To maximize your home’s security against high levels of carbon monoxide, place detectors in several key locations.

  • On each level. Each level should have at least one monitor. Don’t forget to include your basement and attic as levels of your home.
  • Near each bedroom. Make sure everyone in your home can hear the alarm sound—even if they’re asleep when it goes off.
  • Next to attached garages. Cars release carbon monoxide when they’re running, and if a car is left running in your garage for too long, the gas can seep into your home.
  • Anywhere manufacturers or state laws recommend. Some carbon monoxide detectors are designed to work in certain areas of your home, so check the manual. Additionally, certain states have specific regulations around CO monitor placement.

Carbon monoxide monitor placement

There’s a common misconception that carbon monoxide monitors should be installed near the floor. This is likely because some standalone units must be plugged in and most outlets are closer to the ground. However, as carbon monoxide is lighter than air and distributes evenly throughout a room, it’s better to install CO detectors at least five feet above the ground or a few feet below the ceiling.

To avoid false alarms and help your monitors accurately identify carbon monoxide levels in your home, make sure you keep them at least fifteen feet away from any fuel-burning appliances—such as a gas-powered stove, oven, or fireplace—fans, vents, windows, and humid rooms, like bathrooms.

Carbon monoxide monitor installation and maintenance

Depending on your preferences, you can purchase carbon monoxide monitors and smoke alarms separately, or buy combined devices that offer both in one. Regardless which route you take, choose an interconnected monitor so when one monitor sounds, the other monitors in your home will also sound.

Once your carbon monoxide monitors are installed, check the levels and test them once a month. If the battery starts running low, replace it immediately. Check out our buyers guide to see our top picks for carbon monoxide monitors.



Compare top home safety products

Product
Best for
Price
Specifications
Standout feature
Learn more
Read review
Best smoke and CO detectorBattery-powered and wired optionsSpeaks to you
Best fire extinguisherABC fires
9.5 lbs.
14-sec. discharge
Firefighter recommended
Best emergency kitSustains 2 people for 3 daysSleeping bags

Hand-crank radio

Best radon detectorBattery-powered

Digital display

Results in 24 hours
Best gas leak detector18-inch probeDetects 18 gases
Best water leak sensor-30°F to 150°FConnects to Wi-Fi
Best portable generator1,800 wattsRuns for up 8.1 hours
Best fire escape ladderHolds up to 1,000 lbsDeploys quickly

Amazon.com price as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change. Read full disclaimer.
Google and Google Nest Secure are trademarks of Google LLC.

Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help everyone find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism. In her free time, she volunteers at the local botanical garden and writers for the community newspaper.

Recent Articles

older-hispanic-couple-hiking
The Best Fall Detection Devices
Find the best medical alert systems with fall detection. Compare equipment, price, accuracy, customer reviews,...
woman adjusting thermostat in bright home
The Best Home Security Systems of 2024
After thousands of hours of tests and research, we picked Vivint and SimpliSafe as the...
medical alert products on an illustrated background
Best Medical Alert Systems
See which medical alert system is the best to keep you and your loved one...
Man and woman couple wife husband set up surveillance security camera
Best Apartment Security Systems
These renter-friendly apartment security systems help keep you safe and require less commitment than your...