Can Carbon Monoxide Detectors Detect Propane?

A quick guide addressing common carbon monoxide questions. 

BY LAUREN SLADE

September 3, 2020

2 56 Can-Carbon-Monoxide-Detectors-Detect-Propane Desktop

2020 Update 

While over a year old, all of the information in this article is still relevant. 

With  the best security systems, homeowners can truly have the highest level of protection. But there are a few things that even some of the best systems can’t account for — and it’s important to help homeowners figure that out before they buy or rent any kind of system. That way, you know exactly what level of protection you and your home have when faced with common security risks.  

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, a propane leak, as many homeowners mistakenly think that a carbon monoxide detector will find and announce a propane problem. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Even if propane is leaking 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. It 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 both smoke and carbon monoxide are also 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. People who use propane for their heating or cooking needs may mistakenly feel that they are protected, when in fact they really are not. A CO detector can’t detect a leak in a propane tank, which means 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 the home and call your gas company and emergency services, immediately.  

What is Propane? 

Propane is a type of gas that some homeowners use for a variety of reasons, such as operating a stove or fireplace, camping, or as an alternative to natural gas. Typical propane use mandates homeowners have a tank near their home that gets filled on a regular basis. They then  use that propane  for their heating or cooking needs. 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 gas that people can’t smell or see. These detectors are very sensitive, but to work optimally they have to 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. Putting them near the ceiling like a smoke alarm, for example, won’t do enough to keep a homeowner safe.  

Monitor Your Entire Home with Brinks Home Security ™  

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. Choosing to secure your home with Brinks Home gives you the peace of mind that comes from having professional monitoring, 24/7/365.  Contact Brinks Home to find out more about monitored home security plans that meet your needs. 

Lauren Slade is a Dallas-based writer and editor. 

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Can Carbon Monoxide Detectors Detect Propane?

A quick guide addressing common carbon monoxide questions. 

BY LAUREN SLADE

September 3, 2020

2020 Update 

While over a year old, all of the information in this article is still relevant. 

With  the best security systems, homeowners can truly have the highest level of protection. But there are a few things that even some of the best systems can’t account for — and it’s important to help homeowners figure that out before they buy or rent any kind of system. That way, you know exactly what level of protection you and your home have when faced with common security risks.  

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, a propane leak, as many homeowners mistakenly think that a carbon monoxide detector will find and announce a propane problem. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Even if propane is leaking 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. It 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 both smoke and carbon monoxide are also 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. People who use propane for their heating or cooking needs may mistakenly feel that they are protected, when in fact they really are not. A CO detector can’t detect a leak in a propane tank, which means 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 the home and call your gas company and emergency services, immediately.  

What is Propane? 

Propane is a type of gas that some homeowners use for a variety of reasons, such as operating a stove or fireplace, camping, or as an alternative to natural gas. Typical propane use mandates homeowners have a tank near their home that gets filled on a regular basis. They then  use that propane  for their heating or cooking needs. 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 gas that people can’t smell or see. These detectors are very sensitive, but to work optimally they have to 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. Putting them near the ceiling like a smoke alarm, for example, won’t do enough to keep a homeowner safe.  

Monitor Your Entire Home with Brinks Home Security ™  

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. Choosing to secure your home with Brinks Home gives you the peace of mind that comes from having professional monitoring, 24/7/365.  Contact Brinks Home to find out more about monitored home security plans that meet your needs. 

Lauren Slade is a Dallas-based writer and editor. 

Share via:

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