How to Maintain Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors

How to Maintain Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors can protect you and your family from potentially deadly CO poisoning. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 400 people die each year in the United States from CO poisoning. 

CO, of course, is a toxic gas that's harmful to humans when inhaled. It's typically produced as a byproduct of the incomplete burning of gas. If you have any gas-powered appliances in your home -- and they fail to completely burn all of the released natural gas -- they may release CO. CO detectors, however, will sound an alarm if there's CO present in your home. But if you're going to use CO detectors in your home, you'll need to maintain them.

Install on Each Level

Make sure each level of your home has at least one CO detector. If you have a two-story home, you should have at least two CO detectors: one on the ground level and another CO detector on the second level. If you have a three-story home, conversely, you should have at least three CO detectors.

Test Every Monthly

You should test all of your home's CO detectors on a monthly basis. Like smoke alarms, CO detectors typically feature a "test" button. Pressing this button will allow you to test the alarm. For most CO detectors, you'll need to press and hold the "test" button for about 10 to 20 seconds. Assuming the CO detector works as intended, the alarm will sound.

It's important to note that testing only verifies the alarm functionality of a CO detector. If the alarm is broken, it won't sound when you press and hold the "test" button. But the CO detector's ability to sense CO detector may still be broken.

Change the Batteries Annually

CO detectors are powered by batteries. Most of them use one or two 9-volt batteries. And like all batteries, they will eventually run out of power. Once the batteries in a CO detector have died, the Co detector will no longer work. Therefore, you should change the batteries annually. Don't wait until the batteries have died  Instead, take a proactive approach by changing them annually.

Replace CO Detectors Every 5 Year

A good rule of thumb is to replace all of your home's CO detectors every five years. Why is this necessary? CO detectors can fail. And as previously mentioned, you can't rely on the "test" button to determine whether a CO detector still works. Therefore, you should err on the side of caution by replacing them every five years.

Sep 29th 2022

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