Every year, over 150 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States. CO is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that can deplete oxygen levels in a victim’s blood rapidly. Even if death doesn’t occur, the damage can cause lasting nerve and brain damage.
To prevent disaster, it’s important to test CO detectors regularly to make sure they work properly.
How to Test a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Testing a detector is fairly simple. For most models, you simply locate the test button, and press and hold a few seconds. The alarm should start beeping. Release the button and the beeping should stop.
If you don’t hear the telltale beeping, change the batteries and try again. If it doesn’t work the second time, change out the entire detector immediately.
You should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on how often to test the carbon monoxide detector. Most recommend monthly testing.
It has long been recommended that you change your smoke detector batteries when the time changes in the spring and fall. That’s the ideal time to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors also.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Buildup in Your Home
Detectors are your first line of defense against carbon monoxide poisoning. However, they’re not 100 percent reliable in all cases. It’s important to prevent carbon monoxide from forming in the house to begin with.
- Have a professional verify that all your fuel-burning appliances are installed properly.
- Don’t perform maintenance on fuel-burning appliances yourself. You should have a professional do it.
- Keep fuel-burning equipment like generators outside the house.
- Don’t use fuel-burning appliances like ovens or dryers to heat your home.
- Pull your car out of the garage if you need to idle it. Carbon monoxide can easily get into the house through the garage entry door.