We’ve all heard the saying don’t fix it till its broken. Its a good rule of thumb, however, this doesn’t work for carbon monoxide detectors or smoke alarms. Just like car seats and helmets CO detectors have a lifespan. When it comes to protecting your family, it’s better to replace detectors than risk failure.
What is Carbon MonoxideAnything that burns fossil fuels — from cars, gas heaters and stoves, water heaters to propane heaters and lamps — can produce carbon monoxide when the fuel isn’t burned efficiently.It is odorless, tasteless and invisible. Carbon monoxide (CO) is even more dangerous because victims have little warning of its presence. Because of this CO detectors are even more important than smoke detectors. With most municipalities, it is not regulation to have CO detectors as it is with smoke detectors, so it is important for homeowners to stay on top of it.
How Long They LastSmoke detectors typically last 10 years and CO detectors seven years. They have a manufacturing date that is stamped on the device. If you are needing to replace the batteries and the date is close it might be a great idea to purchase a new one. Detectors also have a test button which you should be checking regularly. If there is no chirp sound change the batteries, if there is still no sound throw out the detector and by a new one. The alarms are inexpensive.Batteries in smoke alarms should be checked every 3 months. In CO detectors battery life is not as long so they should be checked monthly. You cannot smell or see carbon monoxide as you can with fire smoke so it's important to be on top of the batteries.
Choosing New DetectorsThere are many options when purchasing smoke and CO detectors. Look for ones with the UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) label. It is best to get CO detectors that plugin and have the backup battery. You can even get ones that tie into your home security system.There are many different types with different benefits so a little bit of research before purchasing can help you make the best choice for your home.Smoke and CO gasses both rise and the detectors should be placed higher on the walls, but CO detectors need to be positioned properly.The International Association of Fire Chiefs recommends placing at least one CO detector on each floor or level of your home. If using only one CO detector, place it close to your bedroom, so you can be awakened by the alarm. All appliances emit small amounts of carbon monoxide, so place your CO detector no closer than 15 feet from the source to prevent false alarms, steamy bathrooms can also produce false alarms.
In the end, your family safety is important. Little steps like ensuring your detectors work can add peace of mind and help you sleep better. If you have any other questions or concerns please feel free to call or ask.