A colorless and odorless gas, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States. It is why we are warned against leaving a car running in the garage or using a charcoal grill indoors and why we vent major appliances like water heaters, ovens, and clothes dryers. It is also why carbon monoxide detectors are so important.

What to Look for in a New Detector

A carbon monoxide detector is the perfect tool for determining if your appliances are operating correctly and keeping your family safe. If you want a new carbon monoxide detector, the most important feature options are the power source and display.

Power Source

Carbon monoxide detectors come battery-operated, hard-wired, or plug-in. Of the three, battery-operator carbon monoxide detectors are the easiest to install and maintain. Better yet, they will not stop working if there is ever a power outage – just install it and let it do its work. 

Unless it has a battery backup, a hard-wired model will stop working if the power goes out. The installation for a hard-wired unit is a bit more labor-intensive. 

Plug-in detectors are easy to find and often come with battery backups. But because they are plugged into wall outlets – often located close to the floor – the detection ability is not as good as the other options. 


The display on a carbon monoxide detector shows the concentration of carbon monoxide in the air. Additionally, some models come with a continuous readout of the current level of carbon monoxide and the history of your home. This is a great feature to 

Some models even feature a continuous stock ticker-like readout of the current level. A display that includes a timeline history of your home’s CO concentration can be helpful in assessing or identifying dangers.

What to Consider Before Buying a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Before deciding on purchasing a new carbon monoxide detector, here are a few items to consider:


  • Check Regulations 

  • Check the Date 

  • Check the Package 

  • Perfect Placement

  • Test the Device

Check Regulations 

Some towns and counties have different codes and regulations regarding carbon monoxide detectors.

Check the Date

Carbon monoxide detectors lose effectiveness over time, so determine when yours was manufactured.

Check the Package

Carbon monoxide detectors should meet UL Standard 2034.

Perfect Placement

Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home, preferably on the ceiling or high on the wall and away from major appliances.

Test the Device

It is suggested that carbon monoxide detectors be cleaned and tested once a week.

A Carbon Monoxide Detector Saves Lives

Don’t overspend when purchasing a carbon monoxide detector for your home. A little bit of diligence and research can help you keep your family safe.

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