How to Make Sure Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are WorkingThe prevalence of gas heating in Grand Traverse County means reliably working carbon monoxide detectors are a must in our area. Like all electrical devices, these detectors can develop faults and should be tested regularly.

Why Detectors are Important

All fuel-burning appliances, such as gas furnaces and wood-burning fireplaces, produce a certain amount of carbon monoxide (CO) gas. Although the risk is slight, if the appliance malfunctions this gas can be released into your home. Because it has no color or odor, you won’t notice it until affects you.

Symptoms of low-level exposure include headache and fatigue, which are easily mistaken for flu or general malaise. If the gas escapes while you’re asleep, you could fall unconscious and die before ever noticing symptoms. A CO detector will sense even small amounts of CO gas and set off an alarm to alert you, so you can evacuate the building.

Testing Your Detector

Look on the front or side of your CO detector for a button marked “test” or “test/reset.” When you press this button, the alarm should sound. If it doesn’t sound within five seconds, something is wrong with the detector. For a detector that runs on batteries only, try replacing the batteries. The detector emitting a chirp every 30 seconds is another sign it needs fresh batteries. In general, it’s a good idea to put in new batteries once a year.

If fresh batteries don’t help, replace the detector. Carbon monoxide detectors only last five to seven years, and should be replaced after this time.

Because the test button only tests the device’s wiring, not its ability to detect CO gas, you can buy a bottle of CO detector spray to more accurately test the device.

For optimal safety, install a CO detector on every floor, and within 15 feet of every sleeping area. Detectors should be kept at least 15 feet away from humid areas, such as the bathroom, and fuel-burning appliances.

For help keeping your CO detectors and fuel-burning appliances in top condition, contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing anywhere around Grand Traverse County.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about CO detectors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Guide or call us at 231-714-6196.

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