Home Safety

How Long Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Last? When To Replace

First, how long do Carbon Monoxide detectors last?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors  5-7 years, and some even up to 10 years, after which they lose their ability to smell and become ineffective at detecting this lethal gas.

If a Carbon Monoxide detector is nearing the end of its useful life, changing the battery will not silence it. Some Carbon Monoxide detectors have a feature that will silence the signal for 30 days, but this won’t fix the problem because the Carbon Monoxide detector will keep beeping after the 30-day window has passed.

For more information, continue reading.

How Long Does A Carbon Monoxide detector Last?

The lifespan of a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm is 5-7 years, with some models lasting up to 10 years, after which time they lose their ability to smell and become inaccurate CO detectors.

Due to environmental factors like temperature and humidity, Carbon Monoxide detectors’ actual life span may be shortened. Worse, Carbon Monoxide detectors do not detect the presence of carbon monoxide when in end-of-life mode even with a battery change.

A man in the Twin Cities had a carbon monoxide close call, which serves as a reminder to check for expired carbon monoxide detectors.

Exactly When Do These Detectors Expire?

Carbon monoxide detectors lose their effectiveness when the sensor’s components lose their sensitivity as a result of prolonged exposure to the gas, just like any electrically powered device.

Although newly manufactured models can last up to 10 years, the estimated time frame is typically five to seven years.

Additionally, all detectors created prior to 2013 should have reached their expiration date by now.

It would be simple to check the expiration date left behind if you were a homeowner who intended to install one.

However, you won’t be aware of it if you rent a space with an existing device. To prevent a potential safety hazard, it is best to ask the business owner.

How Long Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Last?

Carbon monoxide detectors don’t last forever and they do expire.

The detector’s internal parts deteriorate over time. You should attempt to replace yours every five years because its lifespan is seven years on average.

Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed in every enclosed sleeping area and on every floor of your home, just like smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors can save your life if they are maintained properly and replaced.

Types Of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Depending on how they work, CO detectors can be categorized.

The three types are as follows:

  • Biomimetic sensors work when high-concentrations of the gas block the laser inside before triggering the alarm,
  • Metal Oxide Semiconductors (MOS) rely on the change of temperature between carbon monoxide gas interaction to a preheated semiconductor. The temperature change is proportional to the change of resistance, which triggers the alarm, and
  • Electromechanical detectors operate when the interaction of air and carbon monoxide generates an electric current. The alarm is activated when the current exceeds the threshold.

As for the area of installation, there are also 3 classifications to choose from:

  • For areas that get heat from natural gas space heaters, a CO detector and combustible gas detector combination is typically used.
  • Digital display detectors are wall-mounted appliances for residential use. Due to the display, they are positioned at eye level.
  • To detect carbon monoxide at high levels, non-digital wall-mounted detectors are installed 15 inches below the ceiling.

Check For An Expired Carbon Monoxide Detector

Check The Expiration Date And Make A Note Of It

Due to high carbon monoxide concentrations that reduce their sensitivity over time, CO detectors eventually fail.

For five to ten years, your CO detector should be functional.

Manufacturers affix expiration dates to the device’s back to confirm these.

Federal legislation requiring the installation of CO detectors by state residents and business owners was passed from 2009 to 2013.

Inspection is necessary immediately because some of those devices should have expired or be close to doing so this year.

To have your device replaced with a new one if you notice that it is about to expire, make an appointment with a fire prevention specialist.

For Both Digital And Analog Alarms, Keep An Eye On The End-of-life Signal

Along with the expiration date, manufacturers also included warning signals to alert owners of the device’s impending demise.

For detectors with digital alarms, the screen will show an “ERR” or “END” message, which means the device is up for disposal.

You will also hear a “beeping” or “chirping” sound every 30 seconds, a signal that you should have it replaced.

When it rings, pay attention to the pattern of the sound. Most detectors use a different tone to indicate when they find high carbon monoxide concentrations.

A carbon monoxide leak is indicated by intermittent beeping every 4 to 5 seconds, which means you need to call the fire department.

On the other hand, when the battery is low, only analog carbon monoxide detectors beep at intervals of 30 seconds while flashing a red light.

By changing the batteries with fresh ones, the device should stop emitting signals and be ready to function once more.

Your device has reached the end of its useful life if the signals continue even after changing the battery.

To avoid CO poisoning, it’s critical to keep these signs in mind and promptly replace your Carbon Monoxide detector.

Perform Manual Device Testing

Additionally, it’s a good idea to manually test your device’s functionality.

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors have an integrated “test” button on the back or front of the device.

To assess the device’s performance and maintain its efficacy, make sure to test it every month.

To test your detector, follow these steps:

  1. Press the “test” button and wait for two beeps.
  2. Replace the batteries if the alarm is inaudible or you hear no sound.
  3. Replace your detector if all of the batteries are brand new but there is still no sound.

For monitored detector installations, notify your provider in advance to prevent setting off the emergency alarm.

Participating family members in the device test is another good idea. Assign them to specific locations around the house to check if the alarm is audible.

Hire a fire protection company to examine your device to ensure that the testing is handled professionally.

How Long Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Last When To Replace
How Long Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Last? When To Replace

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. It is a colorless gas that has no odor and has the potential to be fatal. This gas is created when fossil fuels are burned in appliances like gas ranges, stoves, grills, and small engines.

Your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with this deadly gas when you breathe in a lot of combustion fumes. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurring vision
  • Loss of consciousness

All homes should have carbon monoxide detectors due to the risks and the challenge in detecting this gas.

Carbon Monoxide Detection

Without a detector, carbon monoxide cannot be detected.

When an alarm is triggered by a certain amount of gas over time, carbon monoxide detectors emit a warning signal. There are three different kinds of detectors:

  • Biomimetic sensor: A gel changes color when carbon monoxide is absorbed by it, setting off an alarm.
  • Metal oxide semiconductor: When CO is present, a silica chip reduces electrical resistance and emits an alarm.
  • Electrochemical sensor: When electrodes in a chemical solution detect a shift in electrical currents as a result of coming into contact with carbon monoxide, an alarm goes off.

Over time, detectors will catch both high and lower doses, which can be equally hazardous. The space needs to be ventilated for the detector to turn off the alarm.

As soon as you hear the alarm, take your family outside into the fresh air. As you leave the house, open the windows and doors to let fresh air in. To find out where the gas is coming from, dial emergency services and speak with a specialist.

How To Buy A Carbon Monoxide Detector

When choosing the best replacements, pay attention to these two essential characteristics. First, pick a detector with a “fuel-cell electrochemical” sensor. Compared to models made just ten years ago, this type is significantly more carbon monoxide sensitive and less likely to set off false alarms. Longer-lasting sensors are available on the market, including metal oxide and gel cell types. However, changes in humidity and temperature can make them less precise. We advise accuracy over detector life span when it comes to CO detection. Second, experts recommend choosing a model with a digital readout and a “peak level” memory retention feature. When responding to a carbon monoxide poisoning call, that is useful information for emergency personnel. Consider purchasing a talking carbon monoxide detector if you have young children. When trying to wake up kids, a voice warning works better than a horn.

Carbon monoxide doesn’t rise toward the ceiling or fall to the floor because its weight is roughly equal to that of air. Since they must be at least 15 inches in length, detectors without digital displays can be mounted anywhere. below ceilings.

Just be certain to install one on each floor of your house. Place them in hallways close to bedrooms, but at least 15 feet away. away from fuel-burning appliances.

Carbon Monoxide detector FAQs

Where Can I Find The Expiration Date Of A Co Detector?

In order to notify homeowners when their Carbon Monoxide detector has run its course, Underwriters Laboratories (UL) started requiring an end-of-life warning in 2009. When in end-of-life mode, Carbon Monoxide detectors cannot detect the gas’ presence.

  1. Look for a build date or an expiration date on the back of your detector.
  2. Replace your CO monitor right away if it lacks a date or is more than seven years old.

Where Do Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarms Go?

According to Public Act 094-0741 in Illinois, each sleeping room must have at least one certified Carbon Monoxide detector that is operational and installed within 15 feet of it.

  1. Carbon monoxide neither rises to the ceiling nor descends to the floor.
  2. Air and CO have a similar weight. Therefore, as long as the detector is at least 15 inches long and has no digital display to read, it can be mounted anywhere. below ceilings.
  3. Install one on every floor of your house, including the basement.
  4. Place CO detectors in hallways 15 feet or more away from bedrooms. away from fuel-burning appliances.
  5. there are young children nearby? Think about investing in a talking CO detector. Children are better guided by a voice warning than by a shocking horn.
  6. It is the duty of the building owner to provide and install all necessary alarms.
  7. Testing and general maintenance of the alarms are the responsibility of the tenant.

The Definition Of Carbon Monoxide Gas

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Exposure to a small amount of carbon monoxide CO which is a colorless, odorless gas over time can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, or headaches. High levels can prove fatal, with approximately 450 people dying every year of CO poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

How Much Co Is Considered To Be Dangerous?

As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms may become more noticeable (headache, fatigue, nausea). As CO levels increase above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.


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