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Carbon Monoxide Detectors in a Security System

Posted by Alexa Sandbakken on Jan 9, 2015 2:22:00 PM

Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to monitor levels of carbon monoxide - a colorless, odorless gas also known as "the silent killer." Carbon monoxide detectors search for the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) and a siren sounds if too much CO is present. CO detectors are essentially time weighted — they can sound off if there is a small amount of CO detected over a longer period of time or a larger amount of CO in a shorter period of time. CO detectors are not designed to detect fire, smoke, or any other gas.

photo of a carbon monoxide detector

Why Have a CO Detector as Part of a Monitored Security System?

Although new building codes require CO detectors within 10 feet of a bedroom, someone sleeping inside a bedroom may not hear or awaken if a CO detector siren sounds. Closed doors, loud noise from televisions or radios, or other loud sounds may block the sounds of a CO detector going off. As part of a monitored security system, if a CO detector goes off, a signal is immediately sent to the response center, who will notify you and emergency personnel.

What to Do if Your CO Detector Goes Off

If your CO detector siren sounds, move to fresh air immediately.

Know the symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, shortness of breath, and confusion. When suffering from CO poisoning, victims can become so disoriented that they cannot save themselves by leaving the building or calling for help.

False Alarms

To reduce the likelihood of false alarms, use proper ventilation when using cleaning supplies.

When to Replace Your Detector

If the detector no longer functions correctly, it is time to replace the unit. You should also consult your instruction manual about how often to replace your CO detector - most models recommend every 5 or 10 years.


It's important to note that CO detectors search for increasing CO levels and cannot protect against CO poisoning. As part of a monitored security system, CO detectors are part of a life safety system designed to protect your home and family.

Fire departments can break down doors trying to enter a residence if a CO call has come in. Because of this, we recommend that when you set up your security system with a CO detector, you check with your local fire department about their procedures. You can set up a lockbox outside your home and give key instructions to the monitoring station, who will notify the fire department in the case of an emergency.

For more information about CO detectors as part of a monitored security system, contact us.

Topics: sensors & detectors

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