Carbon monoxide (CO) is one of the most prevalent causes of accidental death in the home. Statistics from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention show that approximately 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning each year. For this reason, carbon monoxide is often called the silent killer. It is an odorless, colorless gas formed when fuels do not burn completely. Carbon monoxide comes from gas space heaters, chimneys, furnaces, gas water heaters, generators, automobile exhaust in the garage and tobacco smoke. Whether your home is old or brand-new, carbon monoxide is a risk. It is therefore important to take action to monitor for carbon monoxide levels in your home so you will know if there is a threat.

One of the best safeguards against this threat is to have a carbon monoxide monitoring service in your home or, if you want to take a simpler, cheaper route, invest in a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide services are offered as part of a bigger home security system. Some of the best home security systems companies are Frontpoint, Protect America and LiveWatch. You can start your research by reading reviews of home security systems.

Most of these services offer a free quote from their websites. This will allow you to select a plan that works best for you without paying upfront costs before you have even settled on a company. The company you select will provide a package that, in addition to carbon monoxide, monitors for smoke and heat, water and flooding, and other emergencies. You can also select plans that include intrusion, fire and environmental protection. Once you've selected a plan, a professional can install the equipment or, in some instances, you can opt for DIY installation. Each service charges a monthly fee, which depends on the plan you go with, but some services provide free installation.

Services & Options

When looking for a carbon monoxide monitoring service, examine your options carefully. No matter which options you choose, the level of home monitoring that you receive and how the service reacts in an emergency are important to keep in mind. Look for a system that has a range of alerts, monitoring services, security equipment and customer support options.

When an alarm goes off, a service alerts the household and dispatches emergency services to your home if you need additional assistance or if you do not answer a follow-up phone call. Look for a service provider that responds to various threats such as natural gas leaks, elevated levels of CO, smoke and fire, flooding, power failure, intrusion, and temperature changes. These services also have personal safety alerts to help you monitor your children or family members with medical conditions. Each alert usually requires a corresponding piece of equipment, which may cost extra.

Monitoring Services
Look for a service that can monitor your home 24 hours a day, follows up when an alarm goes off, and connects to your security system via a cellular or internet connection. Many services also offer interactive monitoring, home automation and online account access, which let you control your security system with a smartphone while you are away, but these features typically do not come with basic service plans. Systems with two-way intercoms allow you to speak with a trained representative using the system control panel.

Security Devices
Most wireless carbon monoxide monitors connect directly to your home security system. In addition to carbon monoxide detectors, look for companies that sell a wide range of wireless security devices with which you can customize your home monitoring system. These include sirens, personal security devices, panic buttons, motion sensors, door and window sensors, garage door sensors, glass-break sensors, recessed door sensors, and pet-immune sensors. Many companies also offer security cameras, but only as part of an advanced service plan.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors
If you decide you want to monitor carbon monoxide levels in your home independent of a home security service, there are other options. You can invest in a carbon monoxide detector, which you can buy at a home improvement store or online. The Kidde KN-COPP-3 Nighthawk and Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM are two of the best and most popular carbon monoxide detectors, and they are effective and easy to install. They plug easily into an A/C outlet and have digital displays that let you know the CO level in your home at all times. The device will, of course, alert you with an alarm if it detects a problem with the CO levels.

Another popular, well-reviewed detector is the First Alert CO400. This detector uses an electrochemical sensor, which is the most accurate and advanced technology in measuring CO levels. The First Alert detector works like a smoke detector by setting off an alarm when it detects unsafe carbon monoxide levels. However, it doesn't have the advantage of a digital display like the Kidde detectors do.

These three detectors each come with generous warranties, but it's not uncommon for them to last only a few years beyond the warranty period. Therefore, it's important to check the manufacture date on the back of the device to make sure it's recent. If you buy one on Amazon or another site and see it was manufactured several years ago, you'll probably want to return it for a refund, because that could significantly impair its longevity. Several Amazon customers have complained about receiving dated Kidde detectors in the mail, only to have them conch out after a year or so of use or, sometimes, right out of the box.

Help & Support
The best carbon monoxide monitoring services offer customer support via phone, email and live chat as well as online tutorials, alarm history reports and FAQs. A home security system that monitors carbon monoxide threat will be a long-term fixture in your home, so make sure it has a long warranty. While some companies require professional installation, others send the equipment to you for DIY installation. Relocation options let you take the system with you when you move, but they may require you to renew your contract.

A carbon monoxide monitoring service can help you keep your home a safe place for you and your family. However, it is up to you to decide which route to take for a carbon monoxide monitoring service. By choosing an effective home monitoring service, you can keep your home and family safe from a variety of dangers.

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