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How to Read a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Over 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.

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.

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 dioxide becomes dangerous.

35 PPM                                 Maximum concentration allowed by federal law

200 PPM                              Headaches, dizziness, or nausea after 2 -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:

  • 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 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.

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.

Our fire protection contractors can help you find the best carbon monoxide detector for your home or commercial building. To learn more about our fire protection services, call Fire Pros at 800-968-2871.

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Local Reviews

Rated 4.9 out of 5 stars based on 2087 customer reviews

Map of Midland, MI

Did good job




Came out and did good job


Map of Holly, MI

Executive Director





Map of St. Clair Shores, MI

Great, professional service. A++





Map of Kentwood, MI

Sean presented great customer service....with a smile and great personality!!




I can't rate pricing as I haven't received an invoice....


Map of Grand Rapids, MI

Great service




prompt, excellent service


Map of Petoskey, MI

Great service




David is the utmost professional I would hire him.


Map of Grand Rapids, MI

Fantastic Service!!!!




Gary showed up 15 minutes early. Was very informative and polite. As a restaurant group we are switching all of our services to fire pros because of Gary. Thank you.


Map of Byron Center, MI

Great Service




The service person was very pleasant and didn't disrupt business. He offered other services such as exit lights.


Map of Wyoming, MI

Great service, prompt





Map of Alanson, MI

Amazing




This is my first year Managing out at Camp Petosega and I am so appreciative of the time and service John provided during his visit. He took the time to explain rules, regulations, and how things work with all our fire suppression systems throughout the park. He's very knowledgeable, personable, and communicates clearly. Will gladly have him out again for our inspections.


Professional service




Knowledgeable tech. freindly service.


One question




The old system had a way to drain off moisture in the compressor tank. Is there a way to set up the new system with a drain valve?


Awful




A couple years ago, Art serviced the county, needing very little assistance. Now we get 3-men in 3 vans, 2 of the 3 have never been on site before. All 3 needing to go to do different aspects of the inspections. It is an inconvenience to maintenance and staff at all facilities. And then I get to sort through the 22 emails...


Maintenance




AUSTIN CRANE AND HIS PARTNER DID AN EXCELLENT JOB, THEY VERY PERSONABLE , AND PROFESSIONAL . THANK YOU GREG


John does great work!





Great service, Ridiculous pricing!!




Service technician did a great job. Friendly, professional. Service required buying 2 new backup batteries that were ridiculously over priced, especially considering it was for a church.


Great service




Alex came in got the job done!


Very personable technicians, excellent communication with the main office




Fire suppression is an unfamiliar world that was thrust upon me when I secured my current position, co-op president. Not being truly knowledgeable the pricing sends a shiver down my spine; however, I've learned that is to be expected. It is an expensive consideration! The opposite end of the spectrum, Fire Pros' people, represents a far more recognizable asset. My experiences with Esmeralda, T.J., Amie, Gerald, Troy and Fire Pros' technicians has been positive, and I am very impresses by Esmeralda, T.J. and Amie's commitment to expedite relevant communication.


Good Service




Sean Always does a fine job


Maintenance Supervisor/Co-Director




Camp was professional, took time to explain what he was doing. Nice job Only one thing we thought that your company was going to call first so that we knew that you were coming. But, very pleased with Camp and having the camera fixed.


Alex R.

Alex R.

Completed annual inspections for 2019

Near E Baldwin Rd, Holly, MI 48442
Sean W.

Sean W.

Near Orchard Vista Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
David H.

David H.

Near Delta Commerce Dr, Lansing, MI 48917
David H.

David H.

Near E Baldwin Rd, Holly, MI 48442
Art L.

Art L.

Portable Extinguishers and Emergency / Exit Lights Inspection

Near E Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
David H.

David H.

Portable Extinguishers Inspection

Near Marion Center Rd, Charlevoix, MI 49720
Art L.

Art L.

Emergency / Exit Lights and Portable Extinguishers Inspection

Near Lincolnshire Ln SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Alex R.

Alex R.

Returned 3- 10 Lb CLEAN GUARD Extinguishers (2- Onclave) (1-Imagery Server Rm) After Being Serviced and Removed 3 5lb CO2 Loaners

Near Plattsburg St, Harrison charter Township, MI 48045
Alex R.

Alex R.

Replaced FACP BATTERIES THAT FAILED LOAD TEST FROM RECENT INSPECTION 2-12 volt 75 ah batteries *** All Systems Normal and Reset ***

Near Plattsburg St, Harrison charter Township, MI 48045
David H.

David H.

Near E Baldwin Rd, Holly, MI 48442
David H.

David H.

Alarm Systems Repair

Near Petoskey Ave, Charlevoix, MI 49720
Mike R.

Mike R.

Near W Savidge St, Spring Lake, MI 49456
Sean W.

Sean W.

Near 28th St SE, Kentwood, MI 49512
Russ F.

Russ F.

Sprinkler Emergency Service Call

Near Waldo Ave, Midland, MI 48642
Mike R.

Mike R.

Check runaway and assist fire marshal with test.

Near W Savidge St, Spring Lake, MI 49456
Camp M.

Camp M.

broken addressable handpull - repair

Near E Sternberg Rd, Muskegon, MI 49444
Tyler H.

Tyler H.

Annual Fire Extinguisher Inspection (2 FE) annual emergency / exit light inspection

Near E Dowling Rd, Dowling, MI 49050
Alex R.

Alex R.

Arrived on-site Found D-Court Fire Exit Door vondupren was armed but solenoid was not engaging to lock the door. Made manufacturer Recommended Adjustments and Re-Tested. Door currently functions at this time. But is Highly Recommended for Replacement ***All Systems Normal and Reset ***

Near W Eisenhower Pkwy, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Gary B.

Gary B.

Semi Annual Kitchen Inspection. Pyro chem system Annual inspection of Exit Emergency Lights (7) Kitchen Suppression and Emergency / Exit Lights Inspection

Near Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Alex R.

Alex R.

Completed biennial Smoke Sensitivity Inspection for 2019

Near Ann Arbor-Saline Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Mike R.

Mike R.

Annual Fire Extinguisher Inspection (6 FE)

Near Echo Rd, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Camp M.

Camp M.

Fan test.

Near 42nd Ave, Georgetown Township, MI 49401
Russ F.

Russ F.

Sprinkler Emergency Service Call

Near Hilltop Rd, St. Joseph, MI 49085
David H.

David H.

Near Conner St, Detroit, MI 48215
Sean W.

Sean W.

Near E Paris Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49512