Carbon monoxide detector lifespan

Ross Novotny

In recent years many municipalities have required carbon monoxide detectors in all newly constructed homes. The most commonly installed detectors are combination units, which act both as a smoke detector and as a carbon monoxide detector. These combination units are installed in each sleeping area of a new home to alert homeowners of dangerous indoor air conditions created by smoke or carbon monoxide.

Because carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas, it is very important to maintain your carbon monoxide detector in proper working order. Similar to smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors may begin to chirp, but alleviating the chirping may not be as simple as changing out the batteries as is the case with most smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to have a limited working lifespan to guarantee effectiveness. As of 2009 all carbon monoxide detectors were designed to last a period of five to seven years. When the carbon monoxide detector begins chirping during this five to seven year time period, this is most likely an indication that the entire carbon monoxide detector unit must be replaced rather than simply changing out of the batteries. The audible sound to signify the end of life for the product will vary per manufacturer. To confirm the meaning of the signal, you should log on to the manufacturer’s website and locate specific sound information relating to the installed model

If it is time to replace the carbon monoxide detector, a new unit can be purchased at most major building supply stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. A licensed electrician should be used to replace the carbon monoxide unit. To safeguard against potential indoor air health issues, the carbon monoxide detector should be replaced immediately when the product’s end-of-life warning is sounded.