If your carbon monoxide detector is going off, it’s important to act promptly: get fresh air, call emergency services, and go to the hospital if you’re experiencing any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
What to Do If Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off
1. Get some air.
If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure, the first thing you should do is move into a well-ventilated area. Get yourself, your family, and any pets outside into the fresh air.
2. Call emergency services.
Once you’re outside, use your cell phone or a neighbor’s phone to call for help. Both your local fire department and public utilities company can help find the source of the carbon monoxide leak in your home. They can also let you know when your home is safe to reenter.
3. Go to the hospital.
If you’re experiencing any flu-like symptoms, you could have carbon monoxide poisoning. Go to the hospital if you experience headache, mild nausea, or any other symptoms.
What to do if carbon monoxide detector goes off intermittently
If you think there’s a carbon monoxide leak in your home, it’s important to act fast. But sometimes carbon monoxide detectors seem to go off for no reason. It’s best to read your manual to know what different chirps mean, but here’s a general guide to understanding your carbon monoxide detector.
The proper carbon monoxide detector placement will ensure that your alarm can get an accurate reading. We recommend having a CO detector on every floor, about five feet up from the ground.
Carbon monoxide detector beeps three times
If you have a two-in-one smoke and carbon monoxide alarm that beeps three times followed by a short pause, your alarm has detected smoke. It’s a familiar sound on weekend mornings when you’ve stepped away from the bacon on the stove for one second too long.
When a carbon monoxide detector beeps four times followed by a short pause, it means the alarm has detected high levels of carbon monoxide. Since there’s no way for you to verify whether it’s a false alarm, we recommend getting outside immediately.
From there, you can get help from your first responders or your local fire department, who can confirm whether there’s a leak in your home or not. And if you or anyone else is feeling any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning—from nausea to unconsciousness—make your way to the hospital.
If emergency responders find no traces of carbon monoxide in your home, reset your alarm. If it keeps beeping, get in touch with your manufacturer about the issue. They’ll be able to tell you what next steps you need to take.
Carbon monoxide alarm beeping twice
If your carbon monoxide alarm beeps twice, it may be a reminder to replace the unit. Most carbon monoxide detectors last between five and seven years. After that, the alarm won’t work as well. If you’re not sure when you purchased your CO alarm, there should be an expiration date on the side or back of the device.
Depending on the model, a double beep may also indicate that there’s a malfunction. In that case try changing the battery. If that doesn’t work, consider replacing the unit. After all, a faulty carbon monoxide detector is worse than not having one at all.
Carbon monoxide detector beeps once in a while
If intermittent chirping is interrupting your beauty sleep, it likely means you’ll need to replace the batteries. How often it beeps depends on the make and model of your detector: Alarms from Kidde will chirp every 30 to 40 seconds for at least seven days when they need a new battery. Detectors from First Alert will beep every 60 seconds.
Other carbon monoxide detectors may find other ways to tell you when your battery is low or if the carbon monoxide levels in your home are rising. High-tech devices, like the Google Nest Protect, send you mobile notifications and verbal updates. Others, like Kidde Nighthawk, have a digital display with continuous readings of carbon monoxide levels.
What are the best carbon monoxide detectors?
Because carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, a good CO detector is imperative to keeping you and your household safe.
Many home security systems, including Vivint and Frontpoint, offer carbon monoxide alarms and sensors that can be added to your package. But if you don’t have a full-on security system, or if you prefer the DIY approach, there are plenty of reliable stand-alone carbon monoxide detectors to choose from.
Kidde Nighthawk carbon monoxide alarm
The Nighthawk carbon monoxide alarm from Kidde is a great overall CO detector: it’s affordable and reliable, and displays continuous carbon monoxide levels. That way, you can catch rising CO levels in your home and address them before they become dangerous.
Google Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector
If you’re looking for an alarm you can integrate into your smart home, consider the Google Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. It’s a bit pricey, but it offers smoke and CO monitoring, home automation connectivity, and mobile alerts.
First Alert 2-in-1 smoke detector and CO alarm
First Alert’s 2-in-1 smoke and carbon monoxide alarm is Z-Wave compatible, so if you have a Samsung SmartThings, you’ll get mobile alerts when it detects anything amiss at home. It also has a photoelectric smoke sensor, so you’ll get fewer false alarms.
First Alert carbon monoxide detector
The First Alert carbon monoxide detector is a simple and reliable way to monitor CO levels in your home. If you want a quality alarm without a hefty price tag, it’s a good get.
What are the sources of carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is produced in trace amounts by fuel-burning appliances, such as water heaters and gas ranges, or engines, like the one in your car or motorcycle. When those appliances or engines are used in an enclosed space, levels of carbon monoxide may become toxic.
Common sources of carbon monoxide include:
- Gas ranges, stoves, and space heaters
- Furnaces, chimneys, and flues
- Water heaters
- Wood-burning stoves
- Charcoal grills
- Exhaust from car and motorcycle engines
When using any of the above, make sure the area is properly ventilated: keep the garage door open when you’re warming up the car in the winter, and keep a window cracked when your fireplace is going.
If your carbon monoxide detector is going off, it’s important to understand what it’s trying to tell you. Sometimes, you’ll only need to change the batteries or replace the unit. Other times, you’ll have to leave your house for a more ventilated area. Either way, your device can help keep you safe.