Security & Fire Protection Systems/picking a carbon monoxide detector


It was either you or another expert who advised me on my picking a smoke detector. I also need to choose a carbon monoxide detector. Would I want that to be able to be plugged in? I guess they would all have "UL" listing - would all possible units be worthwhile? Thanks. Lee

Hello Lee and thanks for your question.

Yes, every CO detector sold in the US is tested by UL.

There are battery only units, and units that plug into wall outlets with battery backup, in case the AC power goes out.

The advantage of battery-only units is that you can place them anywhere, whereas with the plug-in units, you're limited to where wall outlets are available.

This distinction to me is not that important. A CO detector in an enclosed spaced will work fine either way.

I think the key is to identify what the CO risk is in your home. If you have an all-electric home with no fireplace, and don't park a car in a garage, then you have little risk because you don't have a source of CO production.

If you have gas or oil heat, then you do have a potential source of CO production.

Both of my grown children have homes with gas heat and cooking. I gave them both CO detectors when they moved in. I chose plug-in detectors with battery backup. It's obvious then that that's my recommendation.

I'm not pitching a product here, but if you're interested, here's what I bought:

I got them online at Lowes a few years ago.

I hope this helps, and if you have more questions, please write again.

Best Regards,


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Dave Neuweiler


The design and application of burglary and fire systems for homes and businesses. Helping alarm owners understand how their system works. Helping to troubleshoot false alarm problems. Questions about monitoring issues.


Over a quarter century in the industry. Experience in installation, service, and monitoring centers. Training manager for a national protective services company; director of education and training for a national trade organization for for alarm dealers.


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