Your security system can help you protect your home from more than just burglary. Security equipment also offers added protection from dangerous environmental threats such as carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas, sometimes called “the silent killer.” Carbon monoxide is a product of incomplete fossil fuel combustion and it can be emitted from household appliances such as gas water heaters, wood stoves and furnaces. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning each year.

Homeowners should install carbon detectors in their homes to avoid the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide detectors are relatively inexpensive and simple to install – not to mention the fact that they could save your life.

How carbon monoxide detectors work

Carbon monoxide detectors share some similarities with smoke detectors, another type of device widely recommended for home security. Your carbon monoxide detector will trigger a loud alarm if it detects hazardous levels of carbon monoxide accumulating in your home.

If you hear the sound of your carbon detector’s alarm, you should immediately move outside and call the fire department. Make sure you count to see that all the members of your family have made it outside and are accounted for.

You should not try to re-enter your home until you have been given the green light by emergency responders. Going back inside your home before the gas has dispersed could cause loss of consciousness and even further exposure to toxic CO.

Where to install your carbon monoxide detector

  • Because carbon monoxide rises with warm air, carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on walls about five feet above the floor.
  • Make sure you place carbon detectors in areas where they won’t be damaged by children or pets.
  • CO detectors should not be installed in areas of direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.
  • Make sure you do not install your carbon detectors behind obstructions, such as curtains.
  • You should install a carbon monoxide detector near every sleeping area in your house.
  • Also make sure that you install at least one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, including the basement and the attic.

To learn more about protecting your home and family from environmental threats, check out’s fire prevention tips.