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Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Expire?


Carbon Monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas that humans cannot often detect with their senses. As the gas is toxic, so it is important to use some mechanism for detecting it as early as possible.

As a solution to this problem, carbon monoxide detectors were introduced. These detectors are fitted just like smoke detectors but can detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the air.

Now the question is, do these carbon monoxide detectors expire? Let’s discuss its expiry and the indications you can pick up for installing the new carbon monoxide detector.

Expiry Of Carbon Monoxide Detector:

Like smoke detectors need maintenance and changing after years of use, carbon monoxide detectors also need to be changed.

Usually, the life expectancy of carbon monoxide detectors is seven years. After 7 years, replacing batteries will not make the alarm functional again; instead, you’ll need to replace it completely.

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Indicators Of Expiry Of The CO Alarm

In most cases, you won’t remember when exactly you installed your CO alarm and when it is time to replace it. But that isn’t something to worry about because the alarm has built-in functionality that helps you detect the changing time.

Your CO alarm will beep every 30 seconds to indicate your alarm has expired. The sound of the alarm is different from the emergency indication. So, it is highly likely you’ll know. In some cases, you might also see END or ERR on the alarm, highlighting the end of life.

Near to expiry, they start showing signs of aging and reduced effectiveness. Below are some indicators to consider when it is time to replace your carbon monoxide detector.

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  • End-of-Life Warning: Many modern carbon monoxide detectors have an end-of-life warning feature that alerts you when the sensor is reaching the end of its useful life. This warning is typically displayed or signaled in some way, either through a digital display or an audible alarm pattern.
  • False Alarms: Frequent false alarms or erratic readings, especially after routine maintenance and battery replacement, can be a sign that the sensor is deteriorating and needs replacement.
  • Old Age: If you’ve had your CO detector for more than 5 to 7 years (or as indicated by the manufacturer), it’s a good practice to replace it even if it hasn’t shown any warning signs. Aging sensors may not provide accurate readings.
  • Expired Warranty: If your CO detector’s warranty has expired, it’s a good time to consider replacing it, as it may be nearing the end of its lifespan.

When Should You Worry About An Emergency?

Although you cannot detect carbon monoxide without any tool, if you are confused that your CO alarm indicates a risky situation or a mere expiry of the system itself, you can pay closer attention to your physical condition when exposed to the same environment.

If nausea, headache, dizziness, and shortness of breath are being felt, it is more likely the alarm indicates the emergency. You must call for help immediately and leave the place.

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How To Keep Your CO Detector In The Best Condition?

Do CO detectors expire infographic

Here are a few tips to keep your CO detector in the best condition:

  1. You can find the expiry of your CO detector on the backside. If you are unsure about the exact time you bought it or the time till it will work properly, you might want to check it and confirm the expiry date.
  2. You must change the batteries of your CO detectors every 6 months for their proper functioning.
  3. Clean the CO detector occasionally, as it can hinder its ability to detect the carbon monoxide levels in the air.
  4. Conduct the test at least once a month to know that your CO detectors are working perfectly.

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Summing Up:

Your CO detectors can expire after 7 years. So, if you are in doubt about it, make sure to check them once. Besides, follow the tips mentioned above to keep your Carbon monoxide detectors in the best condition. If you need help with proper installations, Chicago Electricians is the company you can count on.