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Where is the best place to put your CO detectors???

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by sydney1963, Nov 13, 2008.

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  1. sydney1963

    sydney1963 New Member

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    Hi All,

    I have 1 detector and have it in the same room as the pellet stove just sitting on an end table because I can't decide where the best place is to put it. It's a 3 bedroom house, 1 bedroom on the first floor, same floor as the stove and 2 bedrooms upstairs with stairwell. I'm thinking about buying another one. Should they be placed near the ceiling just outside of the bedrooms? Thanks for your help.

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  2. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Syd,

    I have 4 combo smoke/CO detectors, and placed one outside each bedroom door on the ceiling. The inspector who came to check my stove install said those were good locations.
  3. sydney1963

    sydney1963 New Member

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    So i'm assuming CO rises as does smoke, correct?
  4. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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  5. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    Technically CO is only marginally lighter than air (its specific gravity is .96 vs. 1 for air) but it's usually contained in warm air from the stove and will tend to rise with the warmer air.

    Don't install CO detectors directly above or beside wood or pellet stoves since they may emit a very small amount of CO on start-up. Also, don't mount one within 15 feet of heating or cooking appliances or in or near humid areas like bathrooms.
  6. smaxell1

    smaxell1 New Member

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    Nope... CO is heavier than air, and odorless. CO detectors should be placed closer to the floor, which is why I am a fan of the plug-in ones. The combination CO and smoke detectors are, in my opinion, next to worthless. Smoke rises, CO sinks. You can have CO without a fire hazard condition. Therefore you stand little chance of detecting JUST CO with a combination unit.

    ---scott
  7. smaxell1

    smaxell1 New Member

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    I guess I am going to jump this one...

    Per a firefighter, CO is heavier than air... just looked into it a little more closely, and there is conflicting information on this. If you go strictly by the book, it is lighter than air. Also, since CO tends to be produced by a heat generating source, it would tend to rise because of the heat making air rise. Hmmm...

    I still am going to stick with not liking combination units, and with outlets in newer houses higher off the floor, I would still stick with putting the detector there. My CO detector does specifically state that it should not be within 15 feet of the possible source of CO. I guess that goes to show that you should always question yourself, you might learn something.
  8. flewism

    flewism Member

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    I have 3 in a 2000 sq ft home, the house was hardwired for smoke alarms when it was built so these are separate units. The first CO detector is within 6ft of our fireplace insert in the familyroom kitchen. The second one is in the basement about 10ft from the NG furnace. The third one is in my son's bedroom which is the shortest run from the NG furnace. These are just the wall plug in units you get from Lowes of HD. The two units on the main floor are about 15" above the floor and the basement one is 4' above the floor as this is where the outlets are.
  9. MrKLeen

    MrKLeen New Member

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    I have mine plugged in to the wall on the same plug that the stove is on. I figured if there was going to be a CO build up that it would be around the exhaust pipe. I guess I will look into it a bit more.
  10. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    What is your source for that claim? According to the EPA it's slightly lighter than air as I indicated. See this link: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/co.html and for those who don't click, here's the definition from the EPA:

    "Definition

    Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, practically odorless, and tasteless gas or liquid. It results from incomplete oxidation of carbon in combustion. Burns with a violet flame. Slightly soluble in water; soluble in alcohol and benzene. Specific gravity 0.96716; boiling point -190oC; solidification point -207oC; specific volume 13.8 cu. ft./lb. (70oF). Auto ignition temperature (liquid) 1128oF. Classed as an inorganic compound.
    Source: "The Condensed Chemical Dictionary," 9th ed., revised by Gessner G. Hawley, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., NY, 1977.


    The specific gravity of air is 1 by definition. Anything less is lighter, anything more is heavier. CO is lighter. The whole "CO is heavier than air" myth is encouraged by popular TV shows where people commit suicide in garages.
  11. Jester

    Jester New Member

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    I am going to disagree with you there. Co is marginally lighter than air as stated earlier and as a result mixes equally through the house based on prevailing currents. It does not sink but mixes almost even with the air and if anything will rise with air currents in your home.
    I disagree 100% with plug ins being a better unit. In most cases we find that the plug in units constantly being unplugged for vacuuming etc. Also, the plug in units tend to be placed behind tables/couches/furniture where the air currents are limited, rendering the unit ineffective and useless. In my experience, I have responded to both units alarming as appropriate, but the cieling mounted ones tend to be out of sight/out of mind and left alone to do thier thing, unobstructed. You just have to remember to change thier batteries. As far as the combination units being next to worthless, I can say with 20 years of experience as a firefighter, those are the units I currently have at my residence and can think of situations where residents can say they owe thier lives to the unit functioning in one capacity or another.


    The reason that you do not place the unit less than 10 feet from a device where combustion takes place is that repeated low dose exposure to carbon monoxide desensitizes the detector to the presence of CO and eventually will render the unit ineffective, so the theory of putting the unit right next to the stove is not recommended. Co is a byproduct of combustion. When selecting a location choose a location between the device generating CO and where your habitation normally takes place. If you look at the detector packaging, you will see that there is a certain concentration where the unit alarms. If the unit alams at 35 PPM, a constant exposure to 10 PPM will make the unit less sensitive, and it will only alarm (over time) with a greater exposure to CO, which means when its time to really alarm, it may not. A smoke detector is designed to alarm with ANY smoke. CO detectors are not, as there are levels of CO that are considered acceptable, unlike smoke.

    In mass, you should have a detector on each level of habitation, and there should be one in the room with the pellet stove. The code here also calls for a carbon monoxide detector within 10 feet from the outside of each bedroom (thus code could require more than one on any floor if there are 2 bedrooms seperated by a hallway of more than 20 feet) Remember that CO detectors have a substantially shorter service life than smoke detectors, so if you do buy the combination units ( I strongly recommend. ) you will have to replace them sooner

    I hope this helps clear some of the common misnomers up about these units.

    *edit*
    notice in the last post it also has an autoignition temperature, as well as a lower explosive limit.
  12. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    what about:

    hard-wired combination smoke/CO detectors?

    do they exist? (can't find 'em at HD or Lowes).

    I have the hard-wired smoke detectors....15 years old. I was thinking that it would be good to replace them w/ combo units, if they exist, and if they accept the same low-voltage electrical supply.
  13. Jester

    Jester New Member

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    Chuck,
    There are 110volt hard wired combination detectors. Cheapo Depot had them for a bit but they dont seem to have much anymore (Ive been trying to buy dimmable CFL floods for weeks, they never have anything in stock there), youre better off going to Beacon Electric in Haverhill to get them if you choose to go that route. The code came out before the technology was up there 100% on them, and like pellet stoves there was a backlog for the hardwired combination units. If your smokes are 15 years old its time for them to go anyhow. Give Beacon a call or take a detector down and bring it there. If for some reason you dont replace them all, you want to make sure you get ones that will communicate with the ones that you dont replace (if you can afford it Id do them all). Some of these newer ones wont tell the older ones to alarm, so you could have a problem in the basement and it wont communicate to the second floor bedroom.
  14. cac4

    cac4 New Member

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    Beacon Electric is where in Haverhill? (rings a bell...I probably know where it is)...


    I don't think the one's I have are 110v; pretty sure they're connected with some kind of low-voltage wiring, via a transformer on the circuit breaker panel.
  15. Jester

    Jester New Member

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    They're at the intersection of 97 and 495. As you cross 495 heading west, you'll pass the new Lowes/Target, Regan Ford then there's Beacon on the right. If you get as far as Dunikin Donuts you went too fay. They have a decent sign at the end of thier little road
  16. flewism

    flewism Member

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    So your statement is all 5 of my smoke alarms, the house was built in 1990 and two of the three CO detectors are suspect at best. Well that's just great.
  17. imacman

    imacman Guest

    I have 4 First Alert OneLink Combo CO/Smoke detectors (battery) in my home, one near each bedroom, and one about 15 Ft from my oil burner in the basement.

    www.firstalert.com/onelink_wireless_item.php?pid=48


    The nice thing about the OneLink, is that if one unit goes off, they ALL go off with a siren and voice warning about the threat, and it's location (you can program each unit for it's own location).

    IMO, either plug-in w/ battery backup, or straight battery power is the way to go.

    BTW, this is what First Alert says about CO in their FAQ section:

    "Is carbon monoxide heavier than air? What is the diffusion of carbon monoxide in air?

    Carbon monoxide is not heavier than air. The diffusion of carbon monoxide in air is relatively even, meaning that a source of carbon monoxide can distribute the gas evenly throughout the room and house. When installing a carbon monoxide alarm, choose a location where the alarm will stay clean, and out of the way of children or pets."

    Sorry DarkStar, I think you're wrong....CO is almost as light as air.
  18. Jester

    Jester New Member

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    Burning Chunk, you'll have to pop a detector and go to the manufacturers website and see what thier service life/ recommended replacement is. The units I have in my house recommend being replaced every three years due to the more limited life of the CO sensor, five on the straight up smoke I have as a second unit near my computer junk and electrical in the basement.
    your manufacturer might be different, but I'll hazard a guess that if the place was built in 1990 they've outlived thier recommended life. (according to the manufacrturer)
  19. smaxell1

    smaxell1 New Member

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    Yeah, for everyone that decided to point out that I was wrong, I actually jumped my own post and stated that if you would bother to read the thread completely. Initially, I stated information that was given to me by a former firefighter, but then decided to take a look at it a little closer. A lot of the stuff I read pointed to my initial post of the heavier than air CO turned out to be wrong, and I corrected my original post in (I think) less than 15 minutes. I will, however, stand by my dislike of combination units regardless of placement. I guess that will remain a personal preference.

    Read back a few if you like...

    ---scott
  20. smaxell1

    smaxell1 New Member

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    Yeah, I actually corrected my original post in 10 minutes, not 15. My mistake. I went back and researched that too. ;)

    ---scott
  21. DiggerJim

    DiggerJim Feeling the Heat

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    C'mon, chill out & don't take it personally. Otherwise I'll get all pouty because you didn't apologize for dissing my post in the first place even if you did come back 10 minutes later and sort of admit you were not correct (although I'll point out that it's not conflicting information out there - it's simply correct info & wrong stuff). :)

    Time for a deep breath and moving on...nothing to see here...
  22. smaxell1

    smaxell1 New Member

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    Not taking it personally at all. I will say tho, that if people would bother to read the entire thread, I corrected myself (in 10 minutes) and a full hour before anyone else did. And did more than "sort of" admit I was wrong. I admitted I was wrong. However, there is conflicting information out there, as there is on any subject on the internet. Seems to not be the case here, and I was misinformed by someone who should have known the difference. I corrected my mistake before anyone else, I was not rude about it - I merely pointed out that if people had bothered to read the entire thread, they would have noticed that I did correct my error. That is where misinformation starts - people read things, and never bother to check them against another source. Or even look back in a thread that they are interested in. I happened to question my source and look into it further.

    If you need a deep breath, go ahead and take one. I personally will have another Budweiser. Perfectly relaxed and calm. Go ahead and pout - I think my wife has a couple of wine coolers in the fridge for ya. In case ya didn't notice, I added a little wink at the end of my post. Most people would have taken that as a sign that I didn't take myself or the post too seriously. I am certainly not looking to start any type of flame war.... but I reserve the right to clarify my position.

    /me jumps off to stew about the Pats... and drink another...


    Take care... burn well...

    ---scott
  23. Jester

    Jester New Member

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    Macman,
    How do you like the system you got. I inspected a house with them in it a few months back. they havent had any false alarms there, how do you like them?
  24. Jester

    Jester New Member

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  25. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    If you buy a detector, keep the receipt! I've had 5 year old ones replaced at no charge other than shipping.
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