Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Expire?

Just like most of the other components out there, carbon monoxide detectors do expire. if you ever think they don’t expire, then you are in for a long thing.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless gas that displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain and vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of carbon monoxide can overcome you without warning and can kill you in minutes.

According to data from the centre for disease control and prevention ( on Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention, almost 430 people die and 50,000 others visit the emergency room every year in the US as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning has become the second most common cause of deaths from non-drug poisoning. This is why more states are enacting regulations regarding carbon monoxide detectors in homes, schools, hotels and motels.

This gas is produced by burning fossil fuels from vehicles, stoves, grills, ovens, gas stoves and small engines. When you inhale large amounts of combustion fumes, your body replaces oxygen in your red blood cells with this deadly gas.

What are the Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion
  • Blurry sight
  • Loss of consciousness

Due to the dangers and difficulty of detecting this gas, all homes must be equipped with carbon monoxide detectors. However, carbon monoxide detectors have an expiration date and require maintenance and replacement.

So, do carbon monoxide alarms expire?

Carbon monoxide detectors expire after 5 to 10 years of use. Most carbon monoxide alarms have the expiration date on the back of the alarm to let you know when it is time to replace it. The detector also starts beeping every 30 seconds if it has expired.

FAQ on Carbon monoxide Detectors and Sensors

Why do carbon monoxide detectors expire?

Carbon monoxide alarms don’t last forever and they expire.

Over time, the components in the detector deteriorate. The average life is between 5 to 10 years, and you should try to replace yours every five years.

Like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms should be in every enclosed sleeping area and on every level of your home. Proper maintenance and replacement of carbon monoxide alarms can save your life.

How do I know if my carbon monoxide alarm has expired?

Some carbon monoxide alarms have the expiration date stamped on the back of the alarm, but not all.

Make sure to write the dates on the front of the detector, the day you purchased it, and the date it expires.

Carbon monoxide alarms have an end-of-life warning in case you forget to include the expiration date. The end of life warning is a loud beep or a beeping sound every 30 seconds.

Most people don’t know what this noise is and take the batteries out of the detector to stop the beeping, and usually don’t replace the detector for very long.

How does a carbon monoxide detector work?

Carbon monoxide detectors sound an alarm when a certain amount of gas is detected over time. There are three different types of detectors:

  1. Biomimetic sensor: When carbon monoxide is absorbed by a gel, it changes color and an alarm is triggered.
  2. Metal Oxide Semiconductor: A silicon dioxide chip lowers electrical resistance when CO is present and gives an alarm.
  3. Electrochemical Sensor: An alarm sounds when electrodes in a chemical solution sense a change in electrical currents by coming into contact with carbon monoxide.

Detectors will notice both high and lower doses over time, which can be just as dangerous. In order for the detector to turn off the alarm, the room must be aired.

When you hear the alarm, get yourself and your family out into the fresh air. Open doors and windows on the way out to air out your home. Call emergency services and contact a professional to find out where the source of the gas is coming from.

Where should I install carbon monoxide alarms?

According to the National Fire Protection Association, it is recommended to install CO detectors in the following areas of your home:

  • Outside any room with a heating device such as an oil boiler or gas oven
  • One in every room that shares a wall with the heater
  • One in each bedroom
  • One in hallways outside of each bedroom
  • At least one on each level of the house

It is recommended to install them at breathing height 1 to 2 meters from the ground, but they can also be installed on the ceiling.

How much does it cost to install a carbon monoxide detector in the house?

With an average price tag of $50- $90, most people can install about one or two CO detectors in their home. Some battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms can cost an average of $80 each.

Overall, It could cost up to $ 700 to install about 9 carbon monoxide sensors in your home including labours and other additional costs.

However, you may repeat the same steps about 5 to 10 years later.

When should I replace the batteries in my carbon monoxide alarms?

When the batteries are low, your CO detectors will start beeping every few minutes, as the batteries get weaker they will beep more often.

Don’t make the mistake of removing the batteries to silence them or putting them in a drawer because they drive you crazy. Replace the batteries as soon as possible and put them back on.

Why does my carbon monoxide alarm beep or beep every 30 seconds?

Your carbon monoxide detector beeps every 30 seconds because the battery is low, at the end of its life, or is not working properly. If you are not sure when you bought the CO detector, you should replace it.

When the detector detects dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, the device will sound a loud alarm pattern. The alarm pattern is four short beeps followed by five seconds of silence followed by four short beeps.

How do I know if my carbon monoxide alarm is working?

If you are sure that your CO detectors have not expired yet, you can press the test button on the detector. It beeps for a few seconds and turns off.

Some of the newer detectors Talk to you when you press the test button and announce the battery level and detector status.

If you don’t know how old the detector is, the button will not indicate if the detector is expired or not, it just tests the battery, so if you don’t know how old the detector is then you need to replace it.

How does it sound when my Carbon monoxide (CO) detector goes off?

When the detector detects dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, the device will sound a loud alarm pattern.

The alarm pattern is four short beeps followed by five seconds of silence followed by four short beeps.

What do I do if my carbon monoxide alarm goes off?

Leave the house as soon as possible. You don’t know how long you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide, so you might pass out. Go outside and call the fire department. They will monitor the CO levels in your home and determine where the CO is coming from.

So, do carbon monoxide detectors expire? We hope we answered your question