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 level of peace of mind they’re looking for. 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 they have the highest chance of protecting themselves and their home from risks, while still understanding the risks that remain.

In short, there are always going to be some risks left over, and these are risks that security systems can’t just accommodate, warn for, or help homeowners avoid. One of those risks is a propane leak, as many homeowners mistakenly think that a carbon monoxide detector will find a propane problem. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Even if propane is leaking into a home and putting the health or even the life of the homeowner at risk, you can’t be rely on the carbon monoxide detector to give a warning.

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    What is Carbon Monoxide?

    Carbon monoxide 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. Gas leaks can also be an issue, and every year people die from this problem.

    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, detectors that are designed to handle both smoke and carbon monoxide are available, as well.

    Understanding what a carbon monoxide detector can and can’t do is a vital part of picking the right security system for any homeowner.

    But the problem with all of these detectors is that they can’t alert for propane. People who use propane for their heating or other 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. This means homeowners could still be at risk. Many homeowners look for a malodor, 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 sound of the propane escaping the gas line. However, if you believe a gas leak is taking place, consult with a professional technician right away.

    A closeup of a gas stove with a ring of flame around the burner.

    What is Propane?

    The right security system will have detectors for all of the things a homeowner needs to monitor, including carbon monoxide. However, if propane is something you want to monitor, then you will need a detector. That’s why it’s so important for a homeowner to be clear about what they want to accomplish with their security system, so they can get a company that will provide them with what they need. Propane is a type of gas that some homeowners use. The most common uses are:

    • heating a home or part of a home
    • operating a stove or fireplace
    • camping or travel heating or cooking options
    • taking the place of natural gas in a rural area

    With propane, homeowners have a tank near their home that gets filled on a regular basis. They then use the propane in the tank for their heating or cooking needs. Many rural homeowners require propane tanks if their houses aren’t entirely electric, because natural gas lines don’t reach their locations.

    An older man wearing a dark sweater is adjusting a white carbon monoxide detector that is installed inside his home.

    How Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work

    Carbon monoxide detectors work by noticing the gas that people can’t smell or see. These detectors are very sensitive, especially the Kidde carbon monoxide alarm, but they also have to be placed properly. 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. With the right security company, though, a homeowner can get the proper equipment to protect themselves — and that includes carbon monoxide detectors.

    Monitor Your Entire Home With Protect America

    Protect America’s extensive offering of home security equipment includes life saving technology. These products are ready to bring your family total awareness of what’s happening around your home. Stay aware of when harmful levels of CO are within your property with our carbon monoxide detectors. For complete home protection, customize your security package with a touchscreen alarm panel, indoor cameras, motion detectors, indoor cameras and more. Choosing to secure your home with Protect America gives you access to a 24/7 professionally monitored system. And because we’re a DIY security company, you have the freedom to control every aspect of your system with our guided self-installation. Contact Protect America for a free quote for a monitored home security plan that meets your needs.