Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Expire?
You’ve probably heard the warnings about the dangers of carbon monoxide, or maybe you even know some of the statistics. About 430 people die yearly in the United States from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
But having a reliable electrician install carbon monoxide detectors in your Littleton, CO, home can help prevent health issues or even death. These tiny devices are a valuable part of home safety.
What Is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that, when inhaled, can be deadly. It is nicknamed the “invisible killer” because it replaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the critical organs of oxygen.
CO is produced when gasoline, propane, wood, charcoal, or other fuels don’t completely burn. A defective furnace or hot water heater can increase the levels of CO in any home. Improperly using gas-powered tools or appliances indoors can contribute to excess CO levels.
Common Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
There are many symptoms of CO poisoning, and some can resemble symptoms of other health issues. Common symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headache, and shortness of breath. Continuous exposure can result in unconsciousness or death.
Children and pets may show symptoms first in many cases because they typically take more breaths per minute than adults. If symptoms improve when you’re not at home or every resident has symptoms, vacate the house and get medical attention.
Preventing CO Poisoning
Call a reliable electrician to install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home, much like smoke detectors. For additional home safety, your detectors should be battery operated or have battery backups. Regularly checking or replacing the batteries will ensure it is always working.
A carbon monoxide detector should be placed where you will hear it if the alarm sounds, like outside your bedroom. You should also have one on every level of your house so that there is no mistaking when the alarm is going off.
Ask your electrician about detectors with a digital readout. This type can tell you the concentration of CO in your Littleton, CO, home in addition to sounding an alarm.
Keeping Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Good Working Order
Ensuring your carbon monoxide detector is appropriately working will reduce the risk of poisoning. Follow these tips to keep it in tip-top shape.
Check Expiration Dates
Yes, these home safety devices do expire. You should be able to find an expiration date on the back of the gadget. As it gets closer to the expiration date, replace it, or perform a test cycle to ensure it is still functioning correctly.
Some manufacturers state their detector is good for ten years. However, experts still recommend replacing your unit every five to seven years, regardless of the expiration date.
Install New Batteries Regularly
Create a schedule for changing the batteries, preferably every six months. Many people change the batteries of their carbon monoxide detectors when they set their clocks for daylight savings time. It doesn’t matter what schedule you use, but mark it down in a calendar so that you don’t forget.
Clean the Unit
Keep your detector clean by wiping the exterior a few times each year. Use a soft, dry cloth to remove any dust or other particles. You can use canned air or a vacuum along with a soft brush to remove dust from around the sensor.
Testing Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Having a carbon monoxide detector installed is only half the solution. You need to know that it is working, so you should occasionally test it. Most units will have a button on the front labeled “test.” To complete the test, hold the button down for about 20 seconds. Two loud beeps will be omitted from the unit, but this could vary between manufacturers.
If there is no noise, try again. If there is still no sound after the second attempt, it’s time to replace the unit.
Here are a few additional useful tips for testing your carbon monoxide detector:
- Test your unit at least once every month
- Alert your security system company if the systems are linked
- Have family members listen from their bedroom to ensure the volume is appropriate
You should never use a source of combustion fumes to test your carbon monoxide detector. This could cause permanent damage and will void your warranty.
Decoding the Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeps
Carbon monoxide detectors have a series of beeping patterns that alert homeowners of an emergency or that it is time for a replacement. Understanding the beeps will help keep you safe. Refer to your manufacturer manual for your specific device, but it is likely something like this:
- Four beeps followed by a pause indicate an emergency
- One beep every minute indicates the batteries need replacing
- Five beeps every minute means your device has expired, and you need a new detector
Take a proactive approach and replace your unit before it no longer works.
Find a Reliable Electrician for Carbon Monoxide Detector Installation
When you’re ready to update or install a carbon monoxide detector, you can rely on the experts at MZ Electric. We care about our customers’ health and safety and want your device to be installed appropriately. Let our team of experts take care of it for you. Schedule your carbon monoxide detector installation with MZ Electric today!