Can Carbon Monoxide Detectors Detect Propane?

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While there may still be some remaining dangers to contend with, these are often things that security systems can’t accommodate, warn for, or help homeowners avoid. For example, it can be challenging to determine if your home is experiencing a propane leak, or an issue with carbon monoxide. Many homeowners mistakenly think that a carbon monoxide detector will find a propane problem. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Even if propane leaks into a home, a carbon monoxide detector isn’t the proper tool to warn you of this danger. 

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless and odorless gas and can come from things like a car running in the garage or a gasoline-powered generator venting onto a porch or patio near an open door. There are carbon monoxide detectors available, including those that are battery-powered and those that are hard-wired into a home’s electrical system. Additionally, combination detectors designed to handle smoke and carbon monoxide are available.

Understanding what a carbon monoxide detector can and can’t do is a vital part of picking the right security system. But the problem with all of these detectors is that they can’t alert for propane. As a result, people who use propane for their heating or cooking needs may mistakenly feel that they are protected when in fact, they are not. A CO detector can’t detect a leak in a propane tank, so homeowners could still be at risk. Many homeowners look for a distinct odor, similar to the scent of rotten eggs, to determine when a propane leak is taking place. Other homeowners may be able to hear the subtle sound of propane escaping the gas line. However, if you believe a gas leak is taking place, leave home and immediately call your gas company and emergency services.

What is Propane?

Propane is a type of gas that some homeowners use for various reasons, such as operating a stove or fireplace, camping, or as an alternative to natural gas. Typical propane use mandates homeowners to have a tank near their home that gets filled regularly. They then use that propane for their heating or cooking needs. In addition, many rural homeowners require propane tanks if their houses aren’t entirely electric, often because natural gas lines don’t reach their locations.

While most security systems have detectors that monitor worrisome events, including carbon monoxide flare-ups, many of these systems aren’t equipped to notify you if your propane levels are too high.  If you want to keep an eye on these propane levels, you’ll need a specialized detector. 

How Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work

Carbon monoxide detectors work by recognizing gases that people can’t smell or see. These detectors are very sensitive, but to work optimally they must be properly placed. Since they are designed to alert the homeowner before the carbon monoxide reaches deadly levels, they need to be at head level or lower. For example, putting the detector near the ceiling like a smoke alarm, won’t do enough to keep a homeowner safe.

Monitor Your Entire Home with Brinks Home™

Brinks Home’s smart home security equipment includes life-saving technology, including monitored smoke alarms and CO detectors. For complete home protection, customize your security package with a touchscreen alarm panel, indoor cameras, motion detectors, and more. 

Contact Brinks Home to find out more about monitored home security plans that meet your needs.

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