Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Skip to the navigation

Topic Overview

A carbon monoxide alarm (sometimes called a carbon monoxide detector) is a small electronic alarm that sounds when potentially life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide are present. The model UL standard 2034 (1998 revision) is set so that certain levels of carbon monoxide must be reached before the alarm goes off. This model will decrease the chances of a false alarm for carbon monoxide detection. The IAS 6-96 standard is another alarm that meets specific requirements.

Carbon monoxide alarms should be placed in the hallway near every separate sleeping area and on each level of the home. Alarms are also available for boats, motor homes, and other recreational vehicles. And portable travel carbon monoxide alarms are available that you can use in a hotel room or cabin.

You can buy a carbon monoxide alarm from your local hardware or home improvement store. Most are easy to install. These alarms should be tested about every 6 months to make sure they are working properly.

If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, get out of the building and call your local fire department. You should stand outside of your home or business until firefighters arrive. The fire department usually can help you assess the location of the source of the carbon monoxide leak(s) so that the proper repairs can be made.

Whether or not you have carbon monoxide alarms in your home, make sure you take other steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Related Information


ByHealthwise Staff

Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine

Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine

E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine

Specialist Medical ReviewerR. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Medical Toxicology

Current as ofMarch 24, 2016