How Often Should I Replace a Carbon Monoxide Monitor?

Carbon Monoxide Monitor

Any household that uses natural gas to fuel appliances like gas stoves, HVACs, or furnaces should have multiple carbon monoxide monitors installed in key places throughout the home. Due to natural gas being colorless and odorless, carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real threat and should not be taken lightly.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced by burning fuel and can be a serious threat to your health if leaks aren’t detected early on and remedied immediately. Homes with attached garages or appliances that use this source of energy are at higher risk for unhealthy levels of CO in the air. Fuel-burning appliances, like gas water heaters, clothes dryers, and boilers are not uncommon in older homes, especially those that were built in colder climates. If you live in a colder region of the United States, you’ll want to pay added attention to how often you replace your carbon monoxide monitor and where they are located in your home.  

In short, you need to replace your carbon monoxide monitor more often than you think. Depending on the model, much like smoke detectors, most carbon monoxide monitors will emit a beep or chirping sound when the battery needs to be replaced. Some newer models come equipped with a digital display that will tell you that it’s time to replace your carbon monoxide monitor or change the battery. 

Experts recommend that you replace your carbon monoxide detector once every 5-7 years. And even though they are largely self-monitoring, you should get in the habit of checking your carbon monoxide monitor battery twice a year. Most carbon monoxide detectors have a test/reset button that you can trigger to test the battery life and functionality. 

Since CO weighs about the same as air, it doesn’t rise to the ceiling or sink to the floor. Because of that, experts recommend installing a carbon monoxide monitor on each level of your home and placing them at least 15 inches below ceiling level so that they can successfully detect leaks when they occur. Make sure to install one CO detector in every hallway that is near each bedroom, but at least 15 feet from any fuel-burning appliances. 

What to Look For When Buying Carbon Monoxide Detector Replacement

  • When shopping for carbon monoxide monitor replacements, try to purchase a CO detector that is equipped with a fuel-cell electrochemical sensor. This technology makes the sensor more sensitive to carbon monoxide detection, and is less likely to send out false alarms. As for lifespan, metal oxide and gel cell sensors last longer, but are susceptible to accuracy issues when drastic changes in humidity or temperature take place in the household. So for the purpose of detecting carbon monoxide leaks, you should prioritize accuracy over the lifespan of a carbon monoxide detector. 
  • Professionals suggest buying a CO monitor that is equipped with a digital readout and memory retention capabilities. That becomes a useful feature when emergency personnel or authorities suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have children in the household, a carbon monoxide monitor that is capable of using a voice warning rather than a beep seems to be more effective to wake children in case there is an emergency. 

Contact a Professional Electrician for Carbon Monoxide Monitor Replacement

Properly installing carbon monoxide monitors throughout your home may require the help of a seasoned professional electrician. Keep your family and home safe by installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the right places. If you need help with detector installation or ensuring your electrical system is running smoothly, Express Electrical Services can help. Call 805-242-9564 for service in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Ventura County, or the Inland Empire.