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How to Read a Carbon Monoxide Detector

emergency exit signsOver 20,000 Americans visit the ER each year due to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home is smart, their effectiveness depends on you being able to read them.

Fortunately, our fire protection contractors will be more than happy to help you understand how to read your CO detectors.

For fire protection services, call Fire Pros at (800) 968-2871!

Install CO Detectors Correctly

Just like smoke detectors, you’ll need carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. Typically, the manufacturer will recommend you install the CO detectors near the ceiling. If you don’t feel comfortable installing CO detectors, call our fire protection contractors. We’re always more than happy to help customers make their homes safer.

Carbon monoxide weighs the same as air. However, carbon monoxide is warmer than air when it leaks from fuel-burning appliances. Since heat rises, the carbon monoxide floats to the ceiling where it will be detected by your carbon monoxide alarms.

While most carbon monoxide leaks come from fuel-burning appliances, you shouldn’t install your CO detectors too close. It’s not uncommon for fuel-burning appliances to release a puff of concentrated carbon monoxide when they first switch on, which could give your CO alarm an inaccurately high reading.

Understand How CO Is Measured

Carbon monoxide is measured in parts per million (PPM). This simply means that for every million parts of air, one of those parts is carbon monoxide. PPM is often used to quantify how much liquid or gas contaminant is present.

How to Know When CO Levels Are Dangerous

If your CO levels creep above 35 PPM, evacuate your home and call 911. While this shouldn’t be taken as a strict guideline, it helps you understand when carbon monoxide becomes dangerous.

35 PPM                                 Maximum concentration allowed by federal law

200 PPM                              Headaches, dizziness, or nausea after  -3 hours

400 PPM                              Severe headaches after 1-2 hours, death after 3 hours

1,600 PPM                           Death in 1 hour

10,000 PPM                        Death in less than 10 minutes

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

When too much CO is present in the air you breathe, this can reduce the oxygen in your red blood cells. The following are signs of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Dull headache
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Blurry vision

If you recognize any of the above symptoms, visit your local ER as soon as possible. Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are likely to show up first in children, the elderly, and pets.

We highly encourage homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors so they can prevent illness or even death. The less carbon monoxide you breathe the better chance you’ll have of making a full recovery.

For carbon monoxide detector services, call Fire Pros at (800) 968-2871!

Stay Calm

Just because there’s a reading above 0 PPM doesn’t mean you need to evacuate your home and call 911. In general, federal law considers any reading under 35 PPM to be safe for people exposed more than 8 hours. However, this is only a guideline and not an absolute rule.

Fire Protection Services in Grand Rapids, MI

Our fire protection contractors can help you find the best carbon monoxide detector for your home or commercial building.

Fire Pros is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and offers services around Cadillac, Grayling, Holland, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Muskegon, Norton Shores, Portage, Roscommon, Saginaw, Traverse City, and Wyoming.

To learn more about our fire protection services, call Fire Pros at (800) 968-2871.

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Fire Pros Inc Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars based on 2282 customer reviews

Map of Grand Rapids, MI

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Map of Roscommon, MI

Great Service




Review of Fire Pros Inc

Service Tech. installed a combo exit sign and emergency light. Service was quick, Tech was friendly and efficient.


Map of Grand Rapids, MI

Great service




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Sean is professional and gets the job done. We appreciate his patience with us as it was a busy day when he visited. (this message applies to all the Satisfaction Surveys from Sean's visit)


Map of Saranac, MI

great service




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Map of Tekonsha, MI

Great Service/ Great Tech




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Technician was excellent and very knowledgeable. Talked me through everything he was doing and how the system worked.


Map of Hudsonville, MI

DATA/IT




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Map of Traverse City, MI

Poor planning / communication




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2 people were scheduled to show up at 1:15 PM. One showed up at 1:15, the second could'nt make it until about 4:00. Nobody called and told me this was going to happen. I had to basically miss an afternoon of work to accommodate both guys


Map of Bay City, MI

did a great job




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very good company!


Map of Greenville, MI

explained what he was doing thoroughly




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Map of Grand Rapids, MI

Friendly and Informative




Review of Fire Pros Inc

While Sean and I were waiting for the system to be set to 'test mode' he took the time to show me what I would need to do if the sprinkler system ever started going off and what I would need to do next ! I've been the manager here for the past four years and none of the other tech's have ever taken the time to show me these simple precautions in case of Emergency / accidental set off of the system by any individual.


Fire dept connection repair




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Excellent service, team arrived told me what was planned, implemented, had a short closing discussion (I had not questions) and the job was complete.


good service




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Always a pleasure to work with them.


SEAN WAS VERY INFORMATIONAL AND HAD A GREAT PERSONALITY!




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pleasant experience




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The tech was very patient as we tried to get food orders out so he could do his inspection. Very informative.


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Very thorough & knowledgeable




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I am new to this site. It was nice that he new his procedures so I just had to fine keys & areas. I have not seen the costs yet.


Professional good service




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Tyler Hyland provides good quality service in his inspection and repairs for our alarms.


very knowledgeable, great personality




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Alex R.

Alex R.

System was in Alarm Upon arrival, Clipper St FACP was froze up and required cold start Reset. Restarted FACP and Reset System to all Systems Normal. While On-Site was informed that during remodel a horn/Strobe that was moved failed to function. After trouble shooting found that the wiring to the strobe was incorrect and corrected. And Tested System to ensure Horn/Strobe functioned. Reset System ***All Systems Normal and Reset *** Also Per. Dan would like a quote for his 6” Water Flow Switch so it can be Replaced

Near Clipper St, Plymouth, MI 48170
Brandon  F.

Brandon F.

Near Central Pkwy, Hudsonville, MI 49426
Art L.

Art L.

Emergency / Exit Lights and Portable Extinguishers Inspection

Near Gaynor Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544
David H.

David H.

Near Humboldt Dr, Novi, MI 48377
Austin C.

Austin C.

Near Apple Orchard Ln, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Mike R.

Mike R.

Inoperable Deficiency: The MS4 and power supply for the door holder is bad. Need a new MS4 panel and 10a power supply, with a aux relay that can power the 12 door holder in building 4328

Near Forest Creek Ct SE, Kentwood, MI 49512
Alex R.

Alex R.

7-18/7-19-2019 ALR UNITS REPLACED AND TESTED ***All Systems Normal and Reset ***

Near W Park Dr, Novi, MI 48377
Alex R.

Alex R.

7-19-19 ALR UNIT REPLACED AND TESTED ***All Systems Normal and Reset ***

Near W Park Dr, Novi, MI 48377
Alex R.

Alex R.

Replaced a total of 84 Smoke Alarms that were Deficient from Recent Inspection and all were tested. ***All Systems Normal and Reset ***

Near W Park Dr, Novi, MI 48377
Brandon  F.

Brandon F.

Near Ivanrest Ave SW, Wyoming, MI 49418
Art L.

Art L.

Portable Extinguishers Inspection

Near Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
Ron  R.

Ron R.

Near Division Ave S, Wayland, MI 49348
Art L.

Art L.

Emergency / Exit Lights, Portable Extinguishers, and Kitchen Suppression Inspection

Near Salerno Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
David H.

David H.

Portable Extinguishers Inspection

Near Crossing Cir, Traverse City, MI 49684
David H.

David H.

Near Burg Rd, Warren, MI 48089
Art L.

Art L.

Return (2) extinguishers pulled for service at inspection 7-16-2019

Near Plymouth Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Austin C.

Austin C.

Near Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Art L.

Art L.

Annual Fire Extinguisher Inspection (23 FE) Semi-Annual Kitchen Suppression System Inspection

Near E Sherman Blvd, Muskegon, MI 49444
Sean W.

Sean W.

Near Maywood St, Chelsea, MI 48118
Gerald R.

Gerald R.

Near Leonard St NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Sean W.

Sean W.

Near Ann Arbor-Saline Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Tyler H.

Tyler H.

Annual Fire Alarm Inspection Potter panel- 43 SD, 1 HD, 6 DD, 11 MP's, 1 flow, 2 TS, 39 HS's, 14 Strobes, 72 low Freq. HS's Need to access every room. Bailey center will provide chaperone to assist in entering rooms.

Near Bailey St, East Lansing, MI 48823
Art L.

Art L.

Semi-Annual Kitchen Suppression System Inspection Annual Fire Extinguisher Inspection (27 FE)

Near Sanford St, Muskegon Heights, MI 49444
David H.

David H.

Near S Leja Dr, Vicksburg, MI 49097
Austin C.

Austin C.

Near Celadon Dr NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525