Safety Tip: when do you replace a Carbon Monoxide Detector? How long does a Carbon Monoxide Alarm last?

CO AlarmCarbon monoxide detectors wear out. Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector alarms have a lifespan of 5-10 years before they lose a sense of smell and cannot detect the deadly gas accurately. Alarms actual life span can be shorter due to environmental conditions like temperatures and humidity. Worse, carbon monoxide alarms do not detect the presence of carbon monoxide when in end-of-life mode even with a battery change.

A Carbon Monoxide close call for a Twin Cities man is a reminder to check for expired carbon monoxide detectors

Where to install carbon monoxide alarms.

Illinois homeowners and landlords are required by law Public Act 094-0741 to install at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm, in operating condition, within 15 feet of every sleeping room. 

Building owners responsibility to supply and install all required alarms. 

Tenant responsibility is to test and to provide general maintenance for the alarms.

Carbon monoxide neither rises toward the ceiling nor sinks to the floor. CO is about the same weight as air. So detectors that don’t have a digital display to read can be mounted anywhere as long as they’re at least 15 in. below ceilings. Install one on each level of your home, including basement. Locate them in hallways near bedrooms but at least 15 ft. away from fuel-burning appliances.

Small children around? Consider buying a talking CO detector. A voice warning is more effective at directing children than a shocking horn.

What is carbon monoxide gas? 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. Exposure to a small amount of carbon monoxide CO colorless, odorless gas over an extended period of time or a large amount of CO in a shorter amount of time can cause symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, lightheadedness, or headaches. High levels can prove fatal, with approximately 450 people dying every year of CO poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What is a dangerous level of CO?

As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms may become more noticeable (headache, fatigue, nausea). As CO levels increase above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible

Check your CO detector

Check the back of your detector for either a build date or an expiration date. If there’s no date or your CO monitor it is more than seven years old, replace it now.

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