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Is My Carbon Monoxide Detector Working? Here’s What You Need to Know

On November 11th, 2021

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Carbon monoxide detectors in your home could save your life, the lives of your family members, and pets. But installing a carbon dioxide detector is not enough. It is vital that the alarm be tested to make sure it works.

Why Carbon Monoxide Can Be Dangerous

Homeowners are particularly at risk from carbon monoxide because it cannot be smelled, tasted, or touched. Carbon monoxide can poison your home's atmosphere as it is not easy to detect. This gas is known as a "silent murderer" and can only be detected using a functional carbon monoxide alarm.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), carbon monoxide poisoning results in around 15,000 people being admitted to hospitals' emergency rooms each year. Many people poisoned with carbon monoxide don’t realize they have symptoms until it is too late.

Many symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of other illnesses such as:

  • Vomiting  
  •  Unconsciousness
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Headaches  
  •  Dizziness  
  •  Shortness of breath  
  •  Nausea

How do you know if your carbon monoxide detector is functioning? Get in touch with us today to set up an appointment for one of our indoor air quality professionals!

Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Not all carbon monoxide detectors work the same. There are four main types you can use in your home to detect carbon monoxide:

Electrochemical- Track CO levels using electrical currents. This detector offers the highest accuracy and longest-lasting performance.

Optochemical Sensor - Detects CO2 with a color-changing pad, but does not measure the amount of gas present in the home.

Metal Oxide - The detector uses a wired circuit to monitor CO levels.

Biometric – These systems use color-changing liquids and gels in order to detect CO.

Knowing the type of carbon monoxide detector that you have is essential if you want to ask "Does it still work?" Each unit has a short and unique lifespan. Metal oxide units can last for three years while biometric units can last 10 years.

 Why is a Carbon Monoxide Detector  Important?

Installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home is crucial. Specifically, it is important to have a carbon monoxide detector installed near the living area of your home. Every floor of your home should have a carbon monoxide detector.

Additionally, each bedroom should have a detector. Make sure that detectors are at least 15 feet away from any possible sources of carbon monoxide, then you will have a lower chance of false alarms. Common sources of carbon dioxide include boilers, gas ovens, furnaces, and fireplaces.

 How to tell if your Carbon Monoxide Detector works  

It is vital that your carbon monoxide detector be tested on a monthly schedule. Low batteries can cause the detector to stop chirping. It is a good idea to replace the batteries at least once every six months. If possible, make it a part of your spring and fall routines to replace the batteries of your carbon monoxide detector when you adjust the time in your home's clocks.

Make sure to clean your detectors of carbon dust and other debris. Make sure you push your detector as far as possible out of an outlet before returning it to its original outlet. Volume is another aspect of the detector's functionality. You can test the detector's volume to make sure it is audible from every room in the house. The detector should produce a sound loud enough to wake all family members from a deep sleep.

How To Test Your CO Detector  

If you are searching for the answer on how to determine if my carbon monoxide detector works, the answer is simple. Testing.

Your family's safety is at stake so you should proactively test your CO detector every month. Because it will indicate if the alarm sounds, the test button is the best method to test it. But, it does not verify that the CO detector is working correctly.

You can buy a CO test kit to verify accuracy. This allows you safely to expose the alarm to high levels of CO, which will trigger an alarm. Remember that CO detectors may take up to 30 seconds to trigger an alarm once the gas has been exposed.

 Indoor Air Quality in Your Shreveport Home  

AccuTemp Cooling and Heating is your local specialist in heating, HVAC installation, & repair in Shreveport, serving Shreveport, Bossier City, Haughton, and surrounding areas. The best thing about our team is that you will always be treated with the honesty, respect, and dignity you deserve. For any of your HVAC needs, call us today at 318-861-2255.

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