DIY Network

Installing a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

This DIY Basic will provide tips on installing a carbon monoxide alarm.

More in Home Improvement

wall mounted first alert carbon monoxide alarm

Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Learn the Basics

Carbon monoxide (CO) is the No. 1 cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the US. This invisible, odorless, tasteless gas can kill you and your family in 15 minutes. Symptoms include nausea, dizziness, weakness, chest pain, vomiting and disorientation.

73 percent of CO exposure is in home; 41 percent occurs during winter.

CO is produced by fuel-burning appliances like gas furnaces and stoves, hot water heaters, wood-burning and gas fireplaces, dryers, kerosene space heaters, gas grills, automobiles in attached garages, and electrical generators.

Step 3: Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

battery-powered CO alarm
plug-in CO alarm with battery backup and digital display
double-sided tape

Step 4: Choose a Spot for the Alarm

Install at least one alarm on each level of multi-level home, including the basement.

Alarms should be installed near sleeping areas. If your family members sleep with bedroom doors closed, install CO alarms in bedrooms.

Do not install in garages, kitchens, crawlspaces or unfinished attics; avoid extremely dusty, dirty or greasy areas, as installation could lead to nuisance alarms.

Do not install within 15 to 20 feet of furnace.

Do not install alarm near ceiling fan; moving air may prevent CO from reaching sensors.

To avoid dead air space, alarm should be at least 4 inches from corners where walls or ceilings and walls meet.

Battery powered CO alarms can sit on countertop or be attached to wall with double-sided tape. Plug-in alarms have battery backup and digital displays.

Step 5: Install the Alarm

Activate battery backup by installing 2 AA batteries.

Plug alarm into standard, un-switched 120V AC wall outlet. If installing horizontally, rotate adapter 90 degrees; release and remove adapter; rotate, snap back into place.

If using power cord option, rotate adapter, pull out power cord and unwrap it. Plug power cord into AC outlet and mount alarm to wall.

Step 6: Test and Maintain the Alarm

Test the alarm weekly, replace the batteries twice a year, and the replace alarm every five years.

If the CO alarm sounds, leave the home immediately and call 911.

All About…

More Topics