CO Detectors

Do Smoke Detectors Go Off For Carbon Monoxide?

A common question I get as a self-proclaimed “smoke detector expert” is whether or not smoke detectors can also identify carbon monoxide. Let’s explore the world of smoke alarms and CO detectors to find out if they’re interchangeable in order to answer this query.

Alarming Facts About Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

The function of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors must be understood before answering this query. Let’s begin with a discussion of the physics behind how smoke and CO detectors work. To function, smoke alarms must pick up on smoke particles floating through the air. These particles cause an alarm by interfering with the detector’s electric current movement.

However, carbon monoxide alarms are effective because they can identify the presence of this gas. The presence of carbon monoxide triggers the alert because it reacts with the sensors.

Do Smoke Detectors Go Off For Carbon Monoxide?

So, do smoke detectors go off for carbon monoxide? No, to put it briefly. Since carbon monoxide is not something typically detected by smoke alarms, they will not go off if it is present in the room. However, as an extra safety measure, carbon monoxide can be detected by some smoke alarms.

Carbon monoxide alarms vs smoke detectors

Consequently, does carbon monoxide trigger smoke alarms? No, to put it briefly. No, carbon monoxide gas cannot be detected by a smoke alarm because it is too small. A carbon monoxide detector is necessary for CO detection.

But there’s positive news, so don’t worry! You can get protection from both smoke and carbon monoxide with the help of a single device thanks to the fact that many newer smoke monitors include CO alarms. You can rest easy knowing you’re safe from both smoke and carbon monoxide with the help of these devices.

The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Alarms

It’s important to remember that carbon monoxide is a quiet killer. There is no way to know if this gas is present without an alert, as it has no discernible odor, color, or taste. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even mortality can result from carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is particularly important to have a carbon monoxide alarm if you have gas appliances, a wood stove, or an attached garage. Carbon monoxide can accumulate rapidly in these places, posing a threat even if no one is present at the time.

Do Smoke Detectors Go Off for Carbon Monoxide?

As a self-proclaimed “smoke detector expert,” I am often asked if smoke detectors also detect carbon monoxide. To answer this question, let’s dive into the world of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms and figure out if they are one and the same.

The Science of Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

First things first, let’s talk about the science behind smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Smoke detectors work by detecting particles in the air that are emitted by smoke. These particles disrupt the flow of electric current in the detector, which sets off an alarm.

On the other hand, carbon monoxide alarms work by detecting carbon monoxide gas. When carbon monoxide is present in the air, it reacts with the alarm’s sensors and sets off an alarm.

Smoke Detectors vs Carbon Monoxide Alarms

So, do smoke detectors go off for carbon monoxide? The short answer is no. Smoke detectors are designed to detect smoke particles, not carbon monoxide gas. If you want to detect carbon monoxide, you need a carbon monoxide alarm.

But don’t worry, there’s good news! Many modern smoke detectors come equipped with carbon monoxide alarms built-in, so you can have both types of protection in one device. These dual-function detectors are a great way to ensure you’re protected from both smoke and carbon monoxide.

The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It’s a gas that is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, making it virtually undetectable without an alarm. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and even death.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a carbon monoxide alarm in your home, especially if you have gas-powered appliances, a wood-burning fireplace, or an attached garage. Carbon monoxide can build up quickly in these areas and cause harm before you even realize it.

What to Look for in a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

It’s important to remember a few details when searching for a carbon monoxide detector.

  • Make sure it has passed the necessary safety tests and is mentioned by UL first.
  • Second, to monitor the concentration of carbon monoxide in your house, you should purchase a device with a digital display.
  • Finally, to avoid constantly buying new batteries, think about investing in a detector that can be plugged into an electrical outlet.

The Bottom Line

Finally, carbon monoxide is not detected by smoke alarms. A carbon monoxide alarm is essential for detecting the presence of this gas in your house. Have both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed to ensure the safety of your house.

Carbon dioxide is extremely dangerous, so keep that in mind. Despite the lighthearted tone of this piece, carbon monoxide poisoning is no laughing matter. Arrange for a carbon monoxide detector to be installed in your home immediately to safeguard your loved ones.


What should I do if my carbon monoxide alarm goes off?

A carbon monoxide alarm should prompt an immediate exit from the house and a call to emergency services. You should wait for emergency personnel to give the all-clear before returning home.

How often should I replace my carbon monoxide alarm?

A carbon monoxide detector should be replaced every 7-10 years. Replacement suggestions should be found in the product’s documentation.

Can carbon monoxide alarms detect smoke?

No, smoke detectors are made to detect smoke particles, but carbon monoxide sensors are made to detect carbon monoxide gas. An electronic smoke monitor is required for smoke detection.

Where should I install carbon monoxide alarms in my home?

Carbon monoxide alarms should be placed on every level of your house, especially near bedrooms. And don’t do as my neighbor did and put the CO detector directly above the stove in the kitchen. It would be like trying to put a smoke alarm up a staircase.

Can I use my smoke detector as a carbon monoxide alarm?

The short answer is no. You could try, but all that would happen is that your smoke alarm would go out and give you a false sense of security. And your ability to identify carbon monoxide will reset to zero.

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