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Test for Carbon Monoxide in the Home


Without question the most common safety issue in homes is the presence of a silent killer called Carbon Monoxide (CO).

CO is an odorless poisonous gas produced as a by product of burning fossil fuels. Fortunately, you can easily test for the presence of this gas in your home for less than $5. Here's how.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 30 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. Purchase a passive CO test kit (detector badge) at your local hardware or building supply store. An example can be found here.
  2. Write the date of the test on the front of the test badge.
  3. Following the manufacturer's instructions, place the test badge in a location where you are concerned about CO gas. This may be the furnace room, near a gas fireplace, the garage, and so on. Make sure you locate the badge away from direct exposure to sunlight, ammonia, solvents or cleaners.
  4. Check for CO. Within 15 minutes or so the badge will darken if it detects any carbon monoxide. Even if the badge changes color slightly this is a problem.
  5. If the badge changes color at all and detects any carbon monoxide, immediately find the cause and correct the problem.
  6. If no CO is detected, you can leave the badge in place for 60 - 90 days as recommended by the manufacturer.


  1. Locate the badge away from ammonia, solvents and cleaners. These may prevent an accurate reading.

What You Need

  • Passive Carbon Monoxide detector badge

Promotional Feature: View this video series to learn how to take good care of your house.

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