Choosing a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

How to Choose a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Because a safe home is the only option, we offer plenty of choices.

Now that you know a little more about the dangers of carbon monoxide, the next logical question is “what can I do to protect my home?” At Kidde, we have more answers to that question than almost anyone. We’re talking about our extensive catalog of carbon monoxide detectors, which you can View here. 
Of course, before you go choosing your alarms, it helps to familiarize yourself with technology, features and other factors.

Things to look for in an alarm


We recommend choosing CO alarms that have the most accurate sensing technology available. CO alarms are designed to alert you when carbon monoxide levels have begun to accumulate over a period of time, and will sound before most people would experience any CO poisoning symptoms. The more accurate the alarm, the greater chance you and your family have of responding appropriately to the problem.


Below are key factors to look for when purchasing a CO alarm: 
  • Electrochemical sensor: Alarms with electrochemical sensors are more stable during humidity and temperature changes and resist reacting to common household chemicals that may cause false readings. Kidde's CO alarms include Nighthawk technology, which has been proven to be the world's most accurate CO sensing technology based on claims by major manufacturers.

  • End-of-life warning: This feature alerts consumers when it's time to replace the alarm. Kidde is the only major manufacturer who tests its CO alarms for long-term reliability, and whose alarms have a built-in end-of-life feature.

  • UL or CSA Listed: CO alarms should meet the strict third-party standards set by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA). A UL Listed or CSA Listed label should be printed on the product's packaging. Kidde is the only major manufacturer whose CO alarms currently meet the strict standards set forth by both UL and CSA.

Also, be sure to consider these major features: 
  • Accuracy: Look for a statement on the package about the alarm's accuracy level. If the CO alarm is UL Listed, then the accuracy statement will have been certified by UL, too.

  • Battery-Operated: Consumers who live in areas prone to power outages or who own a gas-powered generator should consider a battery-powered CO alarm with a backlit digital display. Battery-powered units offer 24-hour-a-day CO monitoring when power is interrupted. The backlit digital display allows the user to view the CO level in the dark. The alarm can also be placed on a shelf or wall or moved from room to room.

  • Digital Display: A digital display screen clearly shows the level of CO detected in the home, and updates the reading every 15 seconds.

  • Peak-Level Memory: This feature records the highest level of CO present. Knowing the CO level in the home can help emergency personnel determine treatment.

  • Plug-in with Battery Backup: Easy to plug into any electrical socket, these alarms include a 9V battery for protection during short-term power outages.

  • Voice Warning: This feature clearly announces the threat present in the home, in addition to emitting the traditional alarm beep. It is often a feature of combination smoke/CO alarms.


Placement and maintenance


So you’ve selected the right solutions for your home. Now comes the important part: knowing where to place them and how to properly maintain them. Kidde can help.


  • Install at least one CO alarm on every floor and in sleeping areas.

  • Make sure CO alarms are at least 15 feet away from cooking or heating appliances to prevent false alarms.

  • Don't cover or obstruct the unit. Test the CO alarm weekly.

  • Replace CO alarms every 7 to 10 years (depending on your model) to benefit from the latest technology upgrades.