Can A Dehumidifier Cause Carbon Monoxide?

  • Author: Irene Batres
  • Date: September 26, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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When you set up a small appliance in your home, it’s important to make sure it’s safe.

Carbon monoxide is a risk in most homes because there are many sources that release it.

This is why it’s very important to know which appliances could cause carbon monoxide.

If you’re wondering whether or not a dehumidifier can cause carbon monoxide, you’ve come to the right page.

Today, we’re going to discuss if a dehumidifier releases CO and what you should know about placing one near a carbon monoxide detector.

Keep reading to learn more…

Can A Dehumidifier Cause Carbon Monoxide? 

Using a dehumidifier doesn’t cause carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is caused by appliances that burn fuel, such as furnaces, gas stoves, or water heaters. A dehumidifier is electric, so it won’t emit carbon monoxide.

However, there is a chance that a dehumidifier could set off a carbon monoxide detector. 

If the dehumidifier has a freon leak, the carbon monoxide detector can pick it up which could lead the homeowner to think that there is carbon monoxide in the air.

A freon leak in a dehumidifier can be caused by wear and tear on the device.

Some of the things that could lead to a freon leak in a dehumidifier are:

  • Corrosion
  • Faulty seal
  • Damaged pipe
  • Damaged coils

A freon leak is dangerous because it releases toxins into the air.

If this has happened to your dehumidifier, you should stop using it.

Always contact a professional to take care of the maintenance of the dehumidifier or replace it with a new unit.

What Other Gases Can Set Off A Carbon Monoxide Detector?

If a freon leak could trigger a carbon monoxide detector, you may be wondering which other gases can set one-off.

One of the reasons it’s important to invest in a quality carbon monoxide detector is that cheap ones can easily be set off by other household items.  

Before we get into the other gases that could set off a carbon monoxide detector, we should note a common reason why carbon monoxide detectors get set off.

When the batteries are dying, the carbon monoxide detector will start going off to let you know.

In this case, a quick battery change will get it to stop beeping.

Now, if you have bought a cheap carbon monoxide detector, it’s important to review the instruction manual to take note of what could be a false alarm vs an alarm for actually carbon monoxide in the air.

Carbon monoxide detectors can detect gas leaks in your home, but they don’t detect natural gases.

Some other things that may set off a carbon monoxide detector are:

  • Excessive steam or humidity (don’t install a carbon monoxide detector near your washroom)
  • Hydrogen gas (often produce from lead-acid battery chargers)
  • Floors that have been freshly screeded
  • Tobacco smoke (more common in households with heavy smokers)
  • Houses located on busy roads (fumes from high traffic could create a problem if windows are left open frequently)

How Much Carbon Monoxide Does It Take To Set Off An Alarm?

Every carbon monoxide detector is made slightly different than others.

We highly recommend reading the instruction manual thoroughly when you purchase a new detector.

This will let you know more information on how much carbon monoxide will set off a specific alarm.

A standard carbon monoxide detector typically gets set off when the carbon monoxide is at 70 ppm. Low-level detectors will typically set off around 25 ppm.

A high level of carbon monoxide indoors is around 100 ppm, and all carbon monoxide should alarm before it reaches this level. 

On average, this is how long it will take for a carbon monoxide detector’s alarm to go off:

  • 40 ppm- 10 hours
  • 50 ppm- 8 hours
  • 70 ppm- 1 to 4 hours
  • 150 ppm- 10 to 50 minutes
  • 400 ppm- 4 to 15 minutes
Do Dehumidifiers Release Carbon Monoxide?

Can Humidity Set Off A Carbon Monoxide Detector?

It’s recommended not to place a carbon monoxide detector in an area with a lot of humidity.

If it’s placed in a washroom where people shower with hot water or near a stove where people boil water, it can go off.

They should always be placed at least 15 feet away from areas with a lot of moisture or humidity.

Can A Shower Set Off A Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Anything that generates steam can set off a false alarm with your carbon monoxide detector.

If you take hot and steamy showers, you likely have to wipe a cloud of steam from the mirror when you are finished.

This is a big clue that that shower is a big source of steam. 

Showers are very humid spaces, which means a carbon monoxide detector will set off a lot of false alarms if one is placed nearby.

If you live in a smaller unit and can’t keep your carbon monoxide detector more than 15 feet away from the bathroom, you should keep a fan on while showering to reduce the amount of steam in the room.

It’s not just carbon monoxide detectors that steam from showers can set off.

A lot of steam from a hot shower can also set off a fire alarm. 

Can Smoke Set Off A Carbon Monoxide Detector?

It is very rare, but smoke from a cigarette could cause a carbon monoxide detector to go off.

There is a small amount of carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke.

However, in order to set off a detector, there would have to be multiple heavy smokers in the same room. 

If you burn incense or candles, there is also a small amount of carbon monoxide in the smoke that they let off.

These usually aren’t the culprit for setting off a carbon monoxide detector because there isn’t enough to raise the ppm. 

What Can Falsely Set Off A Carbon Monoxide Detector?

While a carbon monoxide detector is an important device to have in your home, it won’t last forever.

Carbon monoxide detectors do expire, and when they expire they easily set off false alarms.

A false alarm could also be triggered if you are using the wrong type of detector.

Carbon monoxide detectors for campers are different than the ones for a home.

A very humid house could pick up fumes that set off a false alarm.

Something as simple as the fumes from kitty litter could be picked up and set the alarm off. 

Older carbon monoxide detectors don’t have as advanced of technology as modern detectors.

This makes the older models more susceptible to false alarms.

Fire departments all over the country have been called to carbon monoxide detectors giving off false alarms and most of them are from older devices.

Final Thoughts- Do Dehumidifiers Release Carbon Monoxide?

Dehumidifiers don’t cause carbon monoxide. However, they may set off a carbon monoxide detector if the dehumidifier has a freon leak. Carbon monoxide detectors can detect other harmful gases in the air, which is why they can detect a freon leak as well. 

Some carbon monoxide detectors can also give false alarms, such as beeping when they expire or heavy moisture in the air.

While they can give off false alarms, you should never ignore a carbon monoxide alarm for your own safety.  

Looking For Dehumidifer Guides?

If you’re looking for more dehumidifier resources, consider checking out our other posts on dehumidifiers.

irene mills author of freshairdevices


Irene Batres is eager to help others create an indoor allergen-free home. She has years of experience testing out air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to help with indoor air quality. Learn more about me.