Why is my carbon monoxide detector beeping or chirping? You see, if you’re hearing chirps and beeps from your carbon monoxide detector, it can really make you worry. The immediate thought is: where’s the carbon monoxide leak and what should I do? If you do hear your carbon monoxide detector beeping or chirping, it’s important to stay calm. The fact is that it may not mean a carbon monoxide leak at all.
So why is my carbon monoxide detector beeping or chirping? Here are the most common reasons for your carbon monoxide detector making beeping or chirping sounds:
- Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeping Every 30 or 60 Seconds
The last thing we want to hear in the middle of the night is our carbon monoxide detector making a consistent chirping sound. It’s annoying, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. This sort of noise usually means one of the following: the battery is low and needs to be replaced or the alarm has malfunctioned.
The best way to deal with this is to press the reset button on the alarm and then replace the battery with a new one. You should always have a spare battery somewhere in the home and changing it is pretty simple in most cases. If you don’t have a battery handy, you’ll have to put up with the chirping sound until you can buy one and replace it.
If this doesn’t fix it and it still makes a sound, it’s likely that the alarm has malfunctioned and needs to be replaced. In this case, it’s best to call out a qualified technician to come and have a look. Some people even disconnect the alarm from the power completely to stop it from chirping and keeping them awake.
- Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeping Intermittently
Sometimes, a carbon monoxide detector makes little chirping sounds at seemingly random intervals. There seems to be no pattern to the sound. The good news is that this is not an indication of a carbon monoxide leak. So, what does it mean? Here are a few possible causes:
- The battery has been installed incorrectly and the battery contacts are not snapped into place
- The battery is not of the recommended type or voltage
- The sensor inside the alarm is dirty with dust or insects and needs to be cleaned
- The sensor may be reacting to extreme ambient temperature changes, high humidity, steam, or condensation
Given that there are a number of possible causes, it can be frustrating to discover exactly what’s causing it. In cases where addressing each one of the above causes makes no difference, the alarm itself may be faulty and need replacing.
- A Long Squeal
It sounds bad and may make some people panic, but in most cases it’s nothing to be worried about. It can mean that the alarm has malfunctioned and needs to be replaced, but it could also mean that the alarm has become unplugged from the home power.
- A Continuous Pattern of Four Beeps That Keeps on Sounding
This is the one to worry about and indicates that the sensor has picked up on a dangerous level of carbon monoxide gas in the immediate area. This sound pattern is unlike any of the other beeps and chirps and does require immediate action. Here’s what you need to do:
- Leave the immediate area where the carbon monoxide levels are high and open all of the doors and windows so that the gas can escape
- Go outside of the home and breathe the fresh air deeply, especially if you are already showing the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning
- Call an ambulance for treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning
- Arrange to have a qualified professional assess the home, look for any leaks, and then repair
The Problem with Carbon Monoxide
The problem is that carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly at high enough levels. Due to the difficulty of detecting it, it’s a good idea to have a carbon monoxide alarm system in place.
Carbon monoxide can be produced by machinery, vehicles, charcoal, burning wood, and burning gasoline. This means that all homes with a working traditional fireplace should have a carbon monoxide detection system installed. There have even been cases of people cooking food in enclosed spaces, such as garages and sheds, who have been seriously affected by carbon monoxide gas.
What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
In most cases, carbon monoxide dissipates in the air as long as there’s enough ventilation. The gas can be deadly in enclosed spaces that are not ventilated well, as it builds up in the bloodstream. If you’re in an area where carbon monoxide is present or if your detector is making noises and you or someone you know experiences any or all of the following symptoms, it’s time to take emergency action:
- A headache
- Dizziness and confusion
- Weakness and lethargy
- Difficulty when trying to breathe and shortness of breath
- Feeling faint or losing consciousness
- Having blurry vision
Though these can all be signs of another health condition, such as the flu, it’s important to recognize that experiencing these symptoms in an area where there is the possibility of high levels of carbon monoxide means that it’s time to take action. If the carbon monoxide detector is also sounding, there’s a high probability that dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are causing the symptoms.
The Silent Killer
Unfortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is one of those health issues that can be quite subtle at first. As levels build up to dangerously toxic levels in the system, the symptoms increase. This may be too late for people who are on their own with no one around to help them, or for those who might be sleeping. This is exactly why it’s so important to have a working carbon monoxide detection system in place!
Exposure to carbon monoxide is progressive and can result in the following: loss of consciousness, brain damage, heart damage, and death. Older people, those who are asleep, children, people with an existing health issue, and unborn children are at greater risk. In this context, carbon monoxide really can be the silent and stealthy killer, so it’s important to put measures in place and have a plan.
Make Sure You Have a Plan in Place
The truth is that most of us live with carbon monoxide every day, but exposure to it is limited. Living anywhere near traffic or in a big city means exposure to carbon monoxide because of vehicle exhaust. It’s not usually a problem because it dissipates harmlessly in the open air.
If you have a traditional fireplace or have other things in your home that produce carbon monoxide, it’s wise to have carbon monoxide detectors installed. It’s important to respect fireplaces and other producers of carbon monoxide gas. It’s also important to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Having a carbon monoxide detection system installed could save your life and the life of your family. It’s important to ensure that it’s working well and that the batteries are working. Familiarizing yourself with the manual for your make and model is essential for understanding how to change the batteries, what the warning alarms sound like, and when to have it serviced by a qualified technician.