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Home Safety: Is It Time to Replace That Old Carbon Monoxide Monitor?

The dangers of overexposure to carbon monoxide (CO), which is a colorless and odorless gas that can be harmful to your health and even result in death if the concentration levels are high enough, should be sufficient warning to ensure that your home is adequately protected.

Over 150 U.S citizens die every year as a result of accidental CO poisoning and many more experience health problems as a result of exposure, which is why it is so important to test and maybe replace your old monitor.

Frequent testing

In just the same way that you would get your residential heating and cooling systems checked out on a fairly regular basis, you should test your CO monitor with even greater frequency.

It would be a great idea to get into the habit of testing your monitor on a monthly basis. If you have a battery-powered unit, consider changing the battery every six months to keep it in top working order and if you have a hard-wired version, look to replace the backup battery every 12 months.

Follow the instruction manual on how to test the alarm, but if you don’t still have this, many units work in a similar way.

Press and hold down the test button on the unit for a few seconds and wait to hear the bleeping sound that confirms your unit is functioning correctly.

If the unit fails to respond, change the batteries to see if that is problem or whether the unit itself is faulty.

Replacing your unit

Some people will probably have had their unit for a good number of years, but you should be aware that they are not designed to last forever and need to be replaced when they are somewhere between 5 and 7 years old on average.

Some newer models actually come with a specific expiration date printed on them and some detectors even have a built-in end of life warning system.

If your unit starts to make a continuous chirping sound that simply won’t stop, this may well be an indication that the sensor inside the unit is no longer working effectively and this means that your family is no longer protected from the silent dangers of CO poisoning.

Take action immediately if this happens to your unit and get it replaced as a matter of priority.

Make the most of new technology

A lot of the latest carbon monoxide detectors available to buy these days tend to offer a lot more features besides monitoring the air and producing a warning sound when it detects danger.

In line with the general trend of creating smart-homes that employ technology to keep us safe, you should be able to find a unit that offers remote monitoring and some products are even able to alert you to where the gas leak is located.

Look to buy a model that offers a fuel-cell electrochemical sensor, as this tends to be more efficient than older units because it has better sensitivity levels and therefore produces less false alarms.

Safety in your home should be a priority and the odds of keeping your family safe from the dangers of CO poisoning can be greatly improved if you check and update the monitor in your house.

Anthony M. Belanger works as a home energy auditor. He enjoys writing about home living. His articles can be found on many DIY and homeowner websites.


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