What Do the Beeps From Your Carbon Monoxide Alarm Mean?

Carbon monoxide alarms are a life saver...literally! Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that is created from fuel burning appliances, such as your furnace or generators. Having the proper amount of CO alarms helps you achieve peace of mind for the safety of your family. However, it is important to be educated to know how your alarm communicates with you.


Types of beeps:

  • 4 Beeps and a Pause: EMERGENCY. This means that carbon monoxide has been detected in the area, you should move to fresh air and call 911.
  • 1 Beep Every Minute: Low Battery. It is time to replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarm.
  • 5 Beeps Every Minute: End of Life. It is time to replace your carbon monoxide alarm.
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Low battery

Depending on the type of CO alarm you have, the battery life differs. It is important to monitor and test these alarms to make sure they are working and the battery is still good. There are plug in alarms with a battery back-up that could possibly last the life of the alarm. These alarms provide you with piece of mind in the case of a power outage. First Alert also offers alarms 10-year sealed batteries that will last the life of the alarm.

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End of Life

Most carbon monoxide alarms last between 5 and 7 years. Even if the battery is still good, all alarms should be replaced after 7 years. This is because the sensor in the alarm will not work as well, and when it comes to detecting CO, you want an alarm with a high functioning sensor. However, with today’s technology, the 10-year battery powered CO alarm can provide a decade of detection.

It is required by the law to have working CO alarms in your home. To learn more about CO legislation in your state click here.

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Emergency Alarm

This meaning is probably the most self-explanatory. When your alarm beeps 4 times in a row and pauses, this means it has detected unsafe levels of carbon monoxide. This means you should evacuate you home immediately and seek fresh air. Some symptoms of CO poisoning are headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. It is important that after evacuating your house, call 9-1-1 and don’t let anyone else in the home until the fire department get there to resolve the situation.

Carbon monoxide leaks can be very scary because they are so dangerous. However, with proper CO alarm coverage, your family will be alerted as soon as carbon monoxide is detected. Remember to regularly test your alarms and replace the batteries when specified.