Fight Fumes And Fire

Smoke And CO Detectors Safety And Upkeep

Carbon monoxide doesn’t clutter your closet or dirty up the dishes. But when it comes to keeping a clean and safe home, air quality counts. Carbon monoxide (CO) is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control. Installing a CO detector in your homes could save your and your loved ones’ lives, so whether you own or rent your home it is critical to also keep up with regular testing and maintenance.  

Unlike smoke from a house fire, you can’t see  or smell carbon monoxide. Sources of indoor carbon monoxide include unvented kerosene and gas space heaters, leaking chimneys and furnaces, back-drafting from furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces, gas stoves, generators and other gasoline powered equipment, automobile exhaust from attached garage and also tobacco smoke. Regular home maintenance of these CO hot spots can help with prevention in addition to paying attention to your home’s CO and smoke detectors. 

Kidde, a top manufacturer of CO and smoke detectors, recommends replacing the batteries in all of your alarms at least once a year and of course  any time the unit indicates the battery is low. Best practice is to follow a twice per year rule using the daylight savings/daylight standard time change as your biannual battery change dates. If a battery goes low prior to your set change date, it will sound with a short beep or chirp. 

Most carbon monoxide alarms have a lifespan of seven to ten years, depending on the model. It is important to note that carbon monoxide alarms do not necessarily detect the presence of carbon monoxide when in end-of-life mode, another reason to both regularly replace the batteries and replace the entire unit at least every 10 years. 

Some Additional Fire Safety Tips On CO And Smoke Detector Maintenance From FEMA

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • Test smoke/CO detectors monthly
  • Keep detectors clean by vacuuming over and around them regularly and also check the detector’s specific cleaning/maintenance directions.
  • Completely replace the detector unit after 10 years or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Make sure you know the location of your fire department, police station and hospital and post a list of emergency numbers near all the telephones.
  • Organize and practice a family fire drill.
  • Remember to also inspect your fire extinguisher for any visible signs of corrosion or missing pull pins. 

References: (National Fire Protection Agency) (Federal Emergency Management Agency) (Environmental Protection Agency)