Why is My Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeping?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that is produced by fuel-burning appliances, such as your furnace or generators. Having the proper amount of CO alarms installed in your house helps you achieve whole home protection for the safety of your family. However, it is important to be educated and know how your alarm communicates with you. There are several reasons why your carbon monoxide detector could be beeping or chirping. Learn what each type of chirp from your detector indicates so that you are prepared in the event of an emergency.

Different Types of Beeps and Chirps:

  • 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 9-1-1.
  • 1 Beep Every Minute: Low Battery. It is time to replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector.
  • 5 Beeps Every Minute: End of Life. This type of chirp indicates it is time to replace your carbon monoxide alarm.
  • * Refer to your alarm manual for your specific model

What Does a Low Battery Beep From My Detector Mean?

Depending on the type of CO alarm you have, the battery life of the detector differs but generally you should replace your alarm batteries every 6 months. It is important to check and test carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they are working, and ensure the battery is still good. There are also plug-in carbon monoxide detectors with a battery backup which should also be replaced. These detectors provide you with continuous protection in the case of an emergency during a power outage. First Alert also offers alarms with 10-year sealed batteries that will last the life of the alarm.

What Does an End-of-Life Beep From My Detector Mean?

Most carbon monoxide alarms last between 5 and 7 years. Even if the battery is still good, all detectors should be replaced after 7 years. This is because the sensor in the alarm is reaching its end of life, 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.

What Does an Emergency Alarm Chirp Mean?

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

Carbon monoxide leaks can be scary because this gas can be deadly. If you or your family show any symptoms of CO poisoning, get to fresh air immediately and call 9-1-1. Installing proper CO alarm coverage on every level and in every bedroom will help your family be alerted to an emergency as soon as carbon monoxide is detected. Remember to regularly check and test your carbon monoxide alarms and replace the batteries when specified.

It is required by the law to have working CO detectors in your home. Learn more about CO legislation in your state