A carbon monoxide detector is a smart investment for the safety of you and your family. As a colorless and odorless gas, carbon monoxide can enter your home without you realizing it. This extremely dangerous gas can put your health, or life, at risk. For that reason, it’s important that you not only put a carbon monoxide detector in your home but that you ensure that it’s always working properly. Below are some tips to do so.
1. Install enough carbon monoxide detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors have limited detection ranges. If the detectors in your home are spaced too far apart, they may miss dangerous pockets of the gas. For the most safety, install one at every level of your home, outside every sleeping area, and in your primary living areas. This will ensure no gas goes undetected, and that everyone can hear the alarm sounds.
2. Place them correctly
You must also consider sources of carbon monoxide and factors that can impact detection. Gas or wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, and more can let carbon monoxide into your home. Placing a detector too close to these can result in a false alarm. Additionally, avoid placing them near windows, where the fresh air can mask the carbon monoxide gas.
3. Monitor their age
Like many things, carbon monoxide detectors go bad with age. The typical lifespan for a detector is around 5-7 years. When you put a new one in your home, make a record of when you did so and plan on replacing it before it’s anticipated lifespan is up. That way, you’ll never be stuck with a detector that’s no longer detecting.
4. Regularly test them
Test your carbon monoxide detectors at least once a month to ensure they’re working properly. Most detectors have a test button on the front or side of the unit. Pressing the test button should activate the alarm, indicating that the detector is working properly. If it doesn’t, replace the detector early and remember to record the estimated time the new one will need to be replaced.
5. Check for a digital display
Some carbon monoxide detectors come with a digital display. If yours has one, it will show the levels of carbon monoxide detected in the air. You can monitor this reading regularly to notice any patterns that may develop. If the level is constantly rising, you may be alerted to a problem before it’s enough to set the alarm off. If the display doesn’t work, or exhibits some other problem, the detector may be bad.
6. Replace the batteries
Like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors rely on batteries for power. Also like smoke detectors, the alarms will make a warning sound when the battery is getting low. Whenever you hear this sound, be sure to replace the batteries. This will also ensure that a detector that fails the test button process is bad and doesn’t simply have a dead battery.
7. Maintain heating and air systems
Your heating and air system can be a source of carbon monoxide in the home. A system that isn’t properly maintained can put dangerous levels of the gas into your living area. In addition to ensuring that your carbon monoxide detectors are working, make sure that you have someone regularly inspect and service your heating and air to add an extra layer of security to your home.If you have any reason to suspect your carbon monoxide detectors are no longer working, head on down to your local hardware store and pick up a new one. They are inexpensive and too important not to have. Clarks Hardware has been serving Ellicott City since 1845. To learn more about the products we have for all your home maintenance needs, visit our stores in Columbia and Ellicott City today.