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What Should I Do After a Carbon Monoxide False Alarm?

Defective carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced following a false alarm.
All gas burning appliances should be checked to ensure they were not the cause of the carbon monoxide alarm.
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  • Written By: Daphne Mallory
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 17 November 2014
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When you're sure that no one in your home is suffering from symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, and that you have just experienced a carbon monoxide false alarm, there are few ways that you should respond in most cases. Buy at least two other carbon monoxide alarms, from different trusted brands, and install them in different rooms. Replace a defective carbon monoxide alarm or upgrade to a higher quality alarm. These changes often require you to spend money, but it is worthwhile given the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, and you are likely to reduce the chances of a carbon monoxide false alarm. You may experience false alarms after implementing these changes, but the occurrence is often reduced significantly.

Your first reaction to a carbon monoxide false alarm should not be to assume that it must be a false one. Press the test and reset button found on most detectors. The detector often displays the level of carbon monoxide in parts per million; when it does, evacuate the premises for a couple of hours. Check the alarm again to see whether the issue remains, or if the air has returned to its normal conditions. If it hasn't, you probably need to call a service professional to detect the source and fix the problem.

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The best way to test whether there is excess carbon monoxide in a home is to compare it to other alarms that work well. If only one carbon monoxide detector is beeping, but the others aren't, then it could be an indication that the detector is not functioning properly. If you have a portable carbon monoxide detector, you can place it in the same room to see what happens. Buying at least one additional carbon monoxide alarm is often a way to quickly assess future false alarms. Owning a combination of at least one battery carbon monoxide detector and a digital carbon monoxide alarm also gives you diversity, and each can act as a backup to the other.

A carbon monoxide false alarm is usually the result of a faulty alarm which needs to be replaced. It is often recommended that you change a carbon monoxide detector at least once every five years. There are different types of carbon monoxide detectors, and each performs differently. For example, an electro-chemical carbon monoxide detector includes a feature that records past carbon monoxide readings, and it is often the most accurate among the types of detectors available. To find the best alarm, read reviews from consumers and testing agencies that have actually tested the alarms and reported the results before you buy one.

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