Carbon monoxide detectors need to be installed and functional year-round. The silent accumulation of odorless and colorless carbon monoxide (CO) gas inside a home can happen in any season. However, it’s a fact that this deadly hazard is greater in winter. A malfunctioning gas furnace or space heater poses an increased threat of carbon monoxide poisoning
. A fireplace that is improperly vented can also fill the house with toxic CO.
Generally, you should have a minimum of one carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home, plus one located in or directly outside every sleeping area. Most municipal building codes specify the exact number required by local law. You should also check the function of CO detectors
twice a year. Here’s the general procedure:
Carbon monoxide detectors
- On any detector, there should be a Test/Reset button somewhere on the face of the unit.
- Press and hold the Test/Reset button until the detector sounds, then release the button.
- This pushbutton test verifies proper function of the detector circuits and alarm. To test accuracy of the unit’s CO detection, test kits are available which include a housing to temporarily cover the unit and a small amount of carbon monoxide in a spray can to verify actual detection function. Never test a carbon monoxide detector by holding it up to a vehicle exhaust pipe.
- If your CO detector is battery powered, replace the battery every 6 months. Many detectors that plug into AC outlets also incorporate a backup battery in the event of power failure. Replace the backup battery per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
don't last forever. Most have an expected service life of 5 to 7 years. When a detector is nearing the end of its service life, a repetitive beep will sound approximately every two minutes. Installing a fresh battery will not silence this alarm. Replace the old detector with a new unit.
For more about the importance of testing and replacing carbon monoxide detectors in your home, contact the professionals at Russell's Heating & Cooling
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Chesapeake, Virginia and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about carbon monoxide detectors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 757-750-1831.
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “leena-robinson/Shutterstock”