What To Do When The Carbon Monoxide Alarm Goes Off

Jonell Samara
Jonell Samara Lifestyle
10 Min Read
fire, alarm, smoke
What To Do When The Carbon Monoxide Alarm Goes Off 3

1. What exactly is Carbon Monoxide?

This usually happens in human occupied areas and are caused by electrical fires, gas ranges, or wood burners. To prevent this, it is extremely important to properly maintain electrical and gas appliances because Carbon Monoxide is a gas that is produced when fossil fuels burn without enough oxygen.

2. Why Is It Dangerous?

Carbon Monoxide gas is a gas that cannot be detected by normal human senses and more often than not, it require detectors so that it can be detected. Once this gas gets into your blood, it takes the place of oxygen and this decreases the oxygen level in your body, slowly making it lose function.

3. Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to flu-like symptoms such as:

  1. Fatigue
  2. Confusion
  3. Headache/ Severe headaches
  4. Dizziness
  5. Loss of consciousness
  6. Vomiting
  7. Brain damage

4. Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors go off when they sense a higher-than-normal level of carbon monoxide to warn the people in a closed space of danger so that they can take the necessary steps to reduce exposure to carbon monoxide.

They’ve become mandatory by law in almost all states of the USA. States are slowly legislating their installation in all homes. You can refer to the official website NFPA for a guide on how to install the detectors.

5. How Does a Carbon Monoxide Detector Work?

A microchip encased by hard plastic comes with every carbon monoxide detector made. These detectors are connected directly to the electrical system in your house. When it detects carbon monoxide, the microchip sends a signal that sounds off an alarm to warn the occupants.

A detector sends out a signal if there are elevated levels of deadly gas or carbon monoxide. This usually happens around 40 minutes after the first detection is made because false alarms usually tend to make the users disable them, leaving the users vulnerable to poisoning.

6. The Different Detector Alarm Sounds

6.1. 30-second beeps

When the detector makes chirping sounds around every 30 seconds, it is not the same as a continuous siren, it usually indicates the alarm is nearing the end of its life and needs to be replaced.These detectors usually have a seven-year lifespan. Replacing the battery will not stop this beeping and it could have extremely dangerous consequences.
Detectors that are plugged into a wall socket may have a loose battery when these types of beeps sound.

6.2. Random beeps

LED lights are often used by smart detectors to indicate a low battery level, so the battery might require replacing if the detector chirps. Low batteries send signals to chirp or beep once every minute.

6.3. Regular, periodic beeps

If your detector is making consecutive beeps every five minutes, this means that the detector is malfunctioning.
Newer models of detectors will alert you by playing out a recorded message or by lighting up the LED. If this happens, it means that you need to replace your detector.

6.4. Continuous, high-pitched sound

If you hear continuous, prolonged, and high-frequency beeping sounds, it is possible that there exists a carbon monoxide leakage within a confined space.

7. What to do if there is a carbon monoxide leak?

The moment you hear the CO alarm, you need to take the following steps.

  1. Gather everyone in the house and quickly leave the house while opening the doors and windows on the way out to let some fresh air in.
  2. Check for symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and keep your family safe. If you notice any symptoms, immediately dial the emergency responders.
  3. Do not re-enter the house until the emergency responders confirm that it is safe to do so even if the alarm stops.
  4. After you enter the house again, open all the doors and windows to make sure there is proper ventilation.
  5. Check with a qualified technician to figure out where the leak was from to prevent it from happening again.

There are three types of carbon monoxide sensors:

  1. Metal oxide detectors: have a special chip that senses carbon monoxide and sets off an alarm. 
  2. Biomimetic detectors: A biomimetic sensor has a gel that changes color when it touches carbon monoxide, making an alarm go off
  3. Electrochemical detectors: electrochemical sensors have electrodes immersed in a chemical solution that senses changes in electrical current when carbon monoxide is present, which triggers the alarm.

8. Where To Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors?

Where to Put Your Carbon Monoxide Alarm | HouseSmarts Radio
  1. Check the laws of your area and the safety requirements and install them wherever the law requires you to.
  2. If you want to be extra cautious, install them in every sleeping area so that they can wake you up if there is a leak
  3. You could also install them near the smoke alarm. Some of the detectors can detect both smoke and carbon monoxide.
  4. Near the door of your garage.
  5. Near there are rooms where you have your gas ranges and near your grills if you have them

9. What kind of carbon monoxide detector should you get?

One of the things you would want to consider is the connectivity between each detector. If your detectors are interconnected, they will all produce alarm sounds even if one detects threshold levels of CO. This benefits you by simultaneously alerting everyone in the house. Interconnected alarms used to require wiring them together but thankfully today, Bluetooth and WiFi replace the need for wires.

The second thing that you might want to keep in mind is the power source for the detectors. For example, battery-only models are the least reliable since most homeowners neglect or forget to replace their batteries. plug-in and hard-wired models don’t rely on batteries but won’t work during a power outage, but because it is easy to find an alternate source of electricity, it provides pretty reliable protection.

You can also consider a CO detector with smart features. Many CO detectors on the market can be controlled using Alexa, a smartphone, or other smart home systems. This makes testing, monitoring and syncing your CO detectors so much simpler. Plus, some also double as smoke detectors, which make protecting your home much simpler. A complete official guide to carbon monoxide detectors.

10. How can I prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

You can stop the harmful effects of carbon monoxide poisoning or prevent carbon monoxide leaks in a few simple ways.

  1. Make sure to have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances serviced by a technician every year.
  2. Install Carbon Monoxide detectors in your home. If they are battery-operated, make sure to check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
  3. Immediately seek medical help if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.
  4. Do not use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside a closed space or near a window.
  5. Do not run a vehicle inside a garage that is attached to your house, even if you leave the door open.
  6. Do not burn anything in a stove or fireplace if it is not vented.
  7. Do not heat your house with a gas oven.
  8. Try not to place any generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. 
Tips for avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning

11. Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do carbon monoxide detectors give false alarms?

Yes, sometimes they give a false alarm if not maintained properly, but you must follow the preventive steps even if you suspect that it is a false alarm.

2. Why would a carbon monoxide alarm go off for no reason?

A sensor could be triggered at any time. This can cause some confusion, but don’t ignore it. It can be caused because of a malfunction, damaged batteries or simply dust accumulation inside, but you should still follow protocol to ensure safety.

3. What causes the carbon monoxide alarm to go on?

Vents and chimneys are blocked in dust and snow. Fireplaces are not adequately ventilated. Firewood stoves and charcoal grills. The vehicle runs on the garage floor while carbon dioxide enters the home.

Last Updated on by rahuldey7417

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