Carbon Monoxide Detectors: What To Look For

By Julie Stewart

Laws may not require you to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, but safety organizations say they're just as important as smoke detectors. The problem is about 80% of the homes in the United States don't have carbon monoxide detectors. Consumer Reporter Julie Stewart helps you choose one for your home.

There's really no excuse to not have one. Carbon Monoxide detectors are widely available in stores. And they cost less than $100, a small price to pay for your family's safety.

One of the best types of carbon monoxide detectors plugs right into a wall outlet. They feature a digital display screen so you can see how high the CO level is inside your home.

Orville Tapp of St. Matthews Hardware believes CO detectors are must-have devices that work.

"I don't care if it's the middle of the day or middle of the night or what time of day you're looking at it," Tapp said. "If you have no carbon monoxide, it says zero. If you have any it will read anywhere from "1" up to whatever level it is. So you know to do something about it."

Most detectors also have an alarm to alert you when CO levels reach a certain level. And keep in mind most homes needs more than one detector.

Don't let buying a CO detector lull you into a false sense of security. Preventing carbon monoxide from becoming a problem in your home is better than relying on an alarm. Use detectors as a backup, get your fuel-burning appliances checked regularly.

For more information on carbon monoxide, carbon monoxide poisoning and suggestions for ways to protect your family visit,

Online Reporter: Julie Stewart

Online Producer: Michael Dever