Can a Car Exhaust Set Off Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Carbon monoxide is mainly a by-product of appliances and devices that emit heat, such as stoves and furnaces. But did you know that your car can produce it as well?

A car’s exhaust can set off a carbon monoxide detector but only in specific instances, such as when there’s a high concentration of CO emitted (which varies for exhaust gas). However, when testing a carbon monoxide alarm engine exhaust is not recommended.

Is Placing a Carbon Monoxide Detector in the Garage a Good Idea?

CO device

A garage can serve as an alternative entry point into the house. It’s commonly used to park vehicles so that it can be protected and safe from natural elements and theft.

You might be aware of the dangers of CO poisoning, and there are news of people dying inside their cars or garages because they left the car running. To prevent this from happening, a carbon monoxide detector can serve as an early warning device.

It’s generally a good idea to place a CO detector near the garage to stop this from happening. However, there are several factors that come into play, mainly the inconsistency of carbon monoxide levels in a car exhaust, false alarms and a shorter detector lifespan.

Where Should I Place Carbon Monoxide Detector to Check Car Exhaust?

You may think that the best location for a carbon monoxide detector is right inside the garage, but this isn’t the case. Aside from dealing with false alarms, your device will be short-lived, and you’ll be spending more than what’s needed.

The best place to put a carbon monoxide alarm is in an adjacent room, preferably 10 feet away from the garage door. Bedrooms that are located right above a garage should have a CO alarm as well (Recommended). This way, the device won’t suffer from unnecessary wear and tear and it can sound off or give a notification that carbon monoxide levels are dangerously high.

It’s good to test your detectors and similar equipment once in a while, but for a proper testing of carbon monoxide alarms you’re better off with a CO test can or via the matchstick method instead of exhaust from your vehicle.

Can I Test My Carbon Monoxide Detector with Car Exhaust?

A car’s exhaust system is known to produce carbon monoxide. However, it also produces exhaust gas and several other components that can damage your device and make for an inconsistent reading.

It’s not recommended that you use a car exhaust to test the CO detector, mainly because exhaust gas will have varying CO content, and it has a very high humidity content and components like nitrous oxide that can interfere with the sensor in the detector.

There are better ways to see if your carbon monoxide detector is working. One example includes a test can or CO bottle, which you can spray onto the device directly. If the detector sounds an alarm and shows elevated levels of CO then that means it’s still functional.