6 Things To Know About CO Alarms

Let’s start at the source. What is carbon monoxide? Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is poisonous to humans. It is known as the “silent killer” because humans cannot tell when they are around it, but it can be very dangerous. The carbon monoxide detector is a safety device that can alert homeowners of a CO leak and help them escape a potentially life-threatening situation, like carbon monoxide poisoning.

When considering purchasing and installing CO alarms there are a few things you should know beforehand:

1. What does a carbon monoxide detector do?

Carbon monoxide alarms detect the poisonous gas and provide early warning. In the event of a carbon monoxide leak, it is critical that you get to fresh air as soon as possible. Every second counts, and First Alert CO alarms can help provide you and your family with the advanced warning necessary to escape your home during an emergency.

2. What are the main sources of carbon monoxide leaks?

Carbon monoxide can be produced by any fuel-burning device. Three main sources are your home’s furnace, dryer vent in a drying machine, and fireplace or chimney. It is important to have these sources regularly serviced and cleaned by a professional to help prevent a CO leak that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Where do you install carbon monoxide detectors?

Carbon monoxide alarms should be installed on every level of your house so all family members can hear the detectors and be alerted to the emergency. You should also have carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom, sleeping area, and common room for extra safety while you and your family are sleeping.

4. Where should you place carbon monoxide detectors?

Carbon monoxide detectors can be placed anywhere in the room. Contrary to popular belief that CO is heavier than air, CO alarms can be placed on the wall or the ceiling and will be just as effective. 

5. What does it mean if my carbon monoxide alarm is beeping?

The alarm has different beep patterns to communicate whether there is an emergency or simply a need to replace the detector. It is important to know the difference between the beeps. Refer to your product manual for specific beep patterns for your alarms.

  • 4 beeps and a pause: There is carbon monoxide in the air and you should seek fresh air immediately and call 9-1-1.
  • 1 beep every minute: That alarm has low batteries and they should be replaced.
  • 5 beeps every minute: Your alarm has reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced with a new carbon monoxide alarm.

6. How often should you test and replace your carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working?

Carbon monoxide detectors should be tested at least once monthly. If your carbon monoxide alarm has replaceable batteries, they should be changed at least every 6 months. Although you replace your batteries, carbon monoxide alarms don’t last forever. They have a lifetime of anywhere between 5 to 7 years, but it is important to check the specific product for lifetime.