How Often Do You Need To Replace Your Carbon Monoxide Detector?

family spending time at home

According to the CDC, over 400 people in the US die each year due to unintentional carbon monoxide exposure. Luckily, carbon monoxide detectors are a readily-available tool that can keep you and your family safe. 

But, after a certain period, carbon monoxide detectors reach the end of their lives. When this happens, the alarm will no longer be able to detect the presence of carbon monoxide. 

To prevent a dangerous situation, you should know how often you need to replace your carbon monoxide detectors.

How Long Should a Carbon Monoxide Detector Last?

Most carbon monoxide alarms manufactured since 2013 have a 10-year lifespan. However, ones issued before this year have 7-year lifespans. Some modern detectors do have lifespans of only five to seven years. If you are unsure when your alarm was manufactured, you can check the manufactured date on the back of the alarm.

It is important to note that while your detector may last seven to ten years, the battery does not. You should change your batteries every six months.

Related: Fire Alarm Vs Smoke Detector: Everything You Need To Know

How Long Do Hard-Wired Carbon Monoxide Detectors Last?

Hard-wired and lithium-battery-operated detectors last about as long as other CO detectors. This means these alarms generally have a life span of seven to ten years. 

The difference is that you do not need to replace the batteries of these alarms every six months. Instead, at the end of their lifespan, you will need to replace the entire alarm, just like when any other detector reaches the end of its life. 

How Do I Know if My Carbon Monoxide Detector Is Still Good?

You can test your carbon monoxide detector to ensure it is functioning correctly. In fact, you should do this once a month.

You’ll need to press and hold the alarm’s test button. Depending on the model, it will produce a series of beeps or alarms. If the test fails, replace the batteries and make sure the detector is clean. You can then retry the test.

If the detector still fails the test, you need to replace the detector immediately.

How Do You Know When You Need a New Carbon Monoxide Detector?

batteries for carbon monoxide alarm

Since 2009, manufacturers have been required to indicate when carbon monoxide alarms are reaching the end of their useful life. As a result, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) required end-of-life warnings on all alarms.

If your alarm has not begun its end-of-life mode or is not too old, your CO alarm should still be functional.

If your alarm produces an end-of-life signal, you need a new carbon monoxide detector as soon as possible.

Even if your alarm has not signaled its end of life, there is a certain point when you need to consider replacing the alarm. All carbon monoxide and combination alarms should be replaced every seven to ten years or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). However, always consult your alarm’s manual to determine exactly when you should replace it. For instance, most Kidde detectors last seven to ten years, while some First Alert alarms need to be replaced every five to seven years.

Related: Home Security: Everything You Need To Know

End of Life Signals

If your CO alarm is beeping, it may be an end-of-life signal. If this is the case, Kidde alarms will beep every 30 seconds. If you replace the battery, the beeping still will not stop. The beeping will only stop if the alarm is out of power. If you have a digital alarm, it will display an “ERR” or “END” error code.

On the other hand, First Alert alarms will produce five beeps every minute. If this is occurring, you need a new carbon monoxide detector. Always make sure to read your owner’s manual for the correct information for your model.

What Does the Red Light on My Carbon Monoxide Detector Mean?

For most models, the red light on your carbon monoxide detector is actually a good thing. It tells you that the detector is on and receiving power properly. Some models will indicate this with a flashing red light, while others will be a steady red light. Make sure to check your manual to see which applies to your detector.

Where Is the Best Place to Put a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

According to the EPA, at minimum, you should place a CO detector on every floor of your home. This will allow the detector access to detect any problems. It will also help ensure it is close enough that you will hear it if the alarm sounds.

A few additional areas should get their own detectors to provide extra safety. Each bedroom and space outside the sleeping areas should have its own CO detectors to protect you while you are sleeping. In addition, if you can, try to place a detector in every common room. 

Want to learn more ways to secure your home and keep your family safe? See how TriStar Security Services can help?

Does Carbon Monoxide Rise or Fall in a House?

It’s a common myth that carbon monoxide falls because it is heavier than air. Because of this, some people think they need to put their CO detectors on the lower parts of the wall or even only in the lower parts of their homes. However, this is dangerous thinking.

Carbon monoxide is actually about the same density as air. This allows it to mix in easily with the air you breathe. Therefore, it’s critical that you place CO detectors throughout your home. However, you can put it anywhere in your room.

Why Do Carbon Monoxide Alarms Go Off at Night?

child sleeping at night

If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off at night, it could mean a few things. It could indicate that it detects CO in the air. If this is the case, you should turn off all appliances and get out of the house. Call a technician so they can check for the presence of CO. Do not reenter the house until it has been checked.

If your technician does not find the presence of CO, the beeping may indicate that the alarm needs new batteries. Replace your batteries and make sure the device is not faulty.

Finally, your alarm may be giving you false alarms. Other chemicals, such as hydrogen gas, may falsely trigger some cheaper alarms. 

If you cannot determine why the alarm is going off, always assume the worst – that there is CO in your home.

Related: Apartment Security Cameras: What You Should Know

Keep Your Family Safe from Carbon Monoxide

A carbon monoxide detector is just as crucial for you to have in your home as a smoke alarm. But, you must be sure to replace the alarm at the end of its life. If your carbon monoxide alarm is seven to ten years old or has begun its end-of-life signal, make sure to replace it with a new detector.

Want to keep your family safe with a fire alarm system? Get in touch with TriStar Security Services today!

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