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, you are unfortunately wrong.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless 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 center for disease control and prevention (CDC.gov) on Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention, almost 430 people die, and 50,000 others visit the emergency room every year in the US due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is now the second leading cause of death from non-drug poisoning. For this reason, more and more states are enacting regulations for carbon monoxide detectors in homes, schools, hotels, and motels.

This gas is produced when fossil fuels are burned in vehicles, stoves, grills, ovens, gas furnaces, and small engines. When you breathe in large amounts of combustion fumes, your body replaces the 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 an expiration date on the back of the alarm to let you know when to replace them. 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 do not last forever, and they expire.

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

Like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors should be in every enclosed sleeping area and on every level of your home.

In addition, 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.

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

Carbon monoxide alarms have an end-of-life warning if you forget to put the expiration date. The end-of-life warning is a loud beep or a beep every 30 seconds.

Most people don’t know what this sound 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 a gel absorbs carbon monoxide, 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 contacting carbon monoxide.

Detectors will notice both high and lower doses over time, which can be just as dangerous. For the detector to sound the alarm, the room must be ventilated.

When you hear the alarm, take yourself and your family outside for fresh air. On your way out, open doors and windows to ventilate your home. Then, call emergency services and contact a professional to find out where the gas source 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 of $50 to $90, most people can install one or two CO detectors in their homes. However, some battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms can cost an average of $80 each.

In total, it could cost up to $700 to install about 9 carbon monoxide sensors in your home, including labor and other additional costs.

However, you can 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. The weaker the batteries get, the more frequently they beep.

Please don’t make the mistake of removing the batteries to silence them or putting them in a drawer because they drive you crazy. Instead, replace and reinsert the batteries as soon as possible.

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

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

When the detector detects a dangerous concentration of carbon monoxide, the unit will sound a loud alarm pattern. The alarm pattern consists of 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 your CO detectors have not expired, you can press the test button on the detector. It will beep for a few seconds and then turn off.

Some of the newer detectors will talk to you when you press the test button and tell you the battery level and detector status.

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

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

If the detector detects a dangerous concentration of carbon monoxide, the device emits a loud alarm sound.

The alarm pattern consists of 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 that you could pass out. Instead, 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 have an expiration date? We hope we have answered your question.