How do I know if my CO alarm went off because of Carbon Monoxide?


38 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

On Christmas Eve my CO alarm went off, even though we did not have the heating on. Is there any way to test if the CO alarm is working correctly? In the end I had to take out the batteries to stop the noise. It did scare us, though!

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Posted · Report post

The electronics and batteries can be tested using the test button however there is no way of testing the CO detector and it has a life of only ten years. If you are having problems, then I would suggest you replace it its the safest option.

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Posted · Report post

Hi

There is also the possibility that fumes come from a neighbouring property into the building. We had a CO detector in one of our kids' bedrooms located on the second floor of a semi-detached house. There was no fuel burning appliance on either the first or second floor in our house. Nevertheless, the CO detector picked up a significant CO reading (it was a digital CO detector). We found out that the carbon monoxide was coming from our neighbour's leaking chimney stack which allowed CO into the loftspace and down the loft hatch into our child's bedroom!

Did you have any open fire? These also create carbon monoxide.

And yes, the CO alarm could be at the end of its life. They only last between 5 and 7 years. I am not aware of any manufacturers who can produce longer lasting CO sensors.

Harry

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Posted · Report post

Further to what has been said, active CO detection, because of the electronics can have faults that sound an alarm without the presence of CO and results in a situation like yours. A possible solution could be to have a passive CO detector, sometimes called a badge as well, which will show the presence of CO and hopefully give you peace of mind.

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Posted · Report post

Hi Tom

The badges were a while ago taken from the shelves of supermarkets etc after the UK's main CO alarm manufacturer reviewed the badges together with the supermarkets.

Harry

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Posted · Report post

Hi Harry

Why was the removal of the CO badges recommended? I fully understand the need for active CO detectors but why not use visual CO detectors as a backup? Also is there any independent reports on this subject using UK's main CO alarm manufacturer reviewed the badges which would be a competitor for his products leaves me a little suspicious.

Tom

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Posted · Report post

Hi Tom

Their main concern was that the CO patches did not have an audible alarm. So, if the patch detects any dangerous concentration of CO the people in the building would still be exposed to carbon monoxide, as they are very unlikely to check the colour of the patch turning from brown to black at that moment. Many deaths occur when people are sleeping or dozing, so there is no way these patches could help to prevent those deaths in these situations. The patches also only lasted 6 months, so that people seeing a discolourisation would be unsure if this was due to CO or age. What did not help either was the fact that in a test none of the patches detected concentrations of 50ppm and even at 350ppm not every model changed colour!

Harry

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Posted · Report post

Thanks Harry

Makes sense but as I have already said I would always use an active (electrochemical) detector and supplement it with a visual CO detector if it started playing up. During research I came up with a couple of websites one English and the other an American which discussed this subject in some depth which proved interesting. One suggested you should go for a digital version if you can afford it, because it will detect lower levels of CO well before it reaches danger levels as a result I will certainly consider this.

http://www.explainth...edetectors.html

http://communities.g...ing/pdf/1324663

Tom

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Posted · Report post

Hi

I have read this thread with interest. One thing that has not been covered is that if an alarm has gone off there may be carbon monoxide leaking. Many people whose co alarms go off tend to believe that it is a faulty alarm and take the alarm's batteries out or remove it from where it is going off. If you have an alarm and it goes off I would suggest that you presume it has detected co and not that it is faulty.

If your alarm goes off and you want to double check that it was not a false alarm take the alarm outside to clear the sensor. Once the alarm has stopped alarming take it back to where it had alarmed. If it goes off a second time contact the gas board. Open windows and check that everyone in the house is feeling OK. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be drowsiness or flue like symptoms and headache.

Remember the carbon monoxide may not be coming from an appliance of yours so even if you have not had your heating on or had an open fire it could be seeping through the walls of your house.

Hope you have got your problem resolved, might be worth checking if you are attached to another property that your neighbours have a carbon monoxide alarm too.

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Posted · Report post

Ours went off and I took it out the garden and it's still beeping - rang our gas fitter who asked me to check the colour of the flame on the fire - blue - and was there soot - no - were we feeling sick or have headaches - no - so chances are the detector is on its last legs. Until the fitter comes out we have turned the fire and heating off. It's a bit scary!

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Posted · Report post

Hi Karen

If you take the alarm outside and after a few minutes it still alarms, then I would suspect a defect on the alarm and would suggest to replace.

Sometimes, chemicals can damage a sensor (car batteries being charged in the house, hair spray etc).

Harry

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Posted · Report post

To add to what Harry said.

If it "beeps" every 90 seconds or so, it is indicating its batteries need replacing, it is NOT in alarm condition.

You should change the batteries, or if it is a sealed unit replace it.

If it is in "alarm condition" take it outside, wait for it to stop. Take it back inside, if it goes into alarm again, repeat, if it goes into alarm again it has detected carbon monoxide.

Safelincs can supply one which is a combined smoke and Carbon monoxide alarm, not only does it beep, it SPEAKS (So you know if its smoke or carbon monoxide) CLICK HERE For more information.

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Posted · Report post

Andy pandy is right. Do not assume it is a malfunction!!!! All to many folks have turned off an annoying co2 alarm only to wake up dead.

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Posted · Report post

Hi Gator

What an awakening!

Just to emphasise that carbon monoxide (the poison gas) has the chemical description CO rather than CO2 which is the chemical shorthand for carbon dioxide (used in fizzy drinks etc)

Harry

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Posted · Report post

Hi my CO alarm sounded tonight, its defo not flat batteries and they was replaced within the last six months I didn't know how to stop it so I removed the batteries and replaced them straight away and as not gone off since this was 1/2 hour ago, what I believe it could be is we have a integral garage underneath the house and I had started my Jeep up to put it on some ramps for repairs but this was 3.5 hours ago.

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Posted · Report post

Hi Andy

It could of course be CO, as cars are producing plenty of it. Did you maybe charge your car battery in the living accommodation. Car batteries when being charged produce hydrogen and oxygen and the hydrogen can set off your CO alarms.

Harry

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Posted · Report post

My carbon monoxide detector went off I unplugged it and plugged it back and no alarm or anyone feeling sick what should I do that was an hour ago I did have all four burners on

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Posted · Report post

Hi Tiffany

I assume that this post refers to a full-blown alarm rather than just a low battery warning.

Always assume that the alarm is real. That means open up all windows, switch off all gas appliances and, if possible, other forms of burners/fires, send your family outside. Take the CO alarm outside with yourself (if possible).

Check that the lifespan of the detector is not exceeded. Most CO alarms up to now had a 5, 6 or 7 year lifespan. However, some of the newer models are 10 year long-life carbon monoxide detectors.

See if the alarm stops after about 10 to 15 minutes outside. If it continues after that time, the unit is probably faulty.

If the alarm stops within 10 to 15 minutes outside, you might have CO gas in your premises. Call out the relevant service. Please find the telephone number in this article.

Please note that certain chemicals can trigger a false CO alarm. If you are charging a car or boat batteries inside your home, the hydrogen produced by the battery can trigger a false alarm.

Harry

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Posted · Report post

Why is my CO monitor making a crackling noise

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Posted · Report post

I have no idea why your detector is making a crackling noise, I suggest you take it down and have a look, there may be water in it. I say this because I have seen it a few times where there has been a leak via the floor above and water has come through a ceiling mounted detector. If it is mains operated, turn the mains off first.

What ever the case, it is not repairable and I suggest you change it.

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Posted · Report post

Hi. I have a Combi boiler in the loft. Would you recommend a CO or CO/ Smoke Detector in the loft or elsewhere? Thanks in advance.

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Posted · Report post

Get a CO detector and install it near the boiler.

I would suggest you do not get an interlinked CO detector as if CO is detected any other interlinked smoke alarms will NOT sound, how ever if smoke is detected by a smoke alarm the interlinked CO alarm will sound. This is so that you can distinguish between smoke and CO

You can get one from Safelincs Click here

I would suggest you also consider an Emergency light, as there is a boiler in the loft and you are looking at it and the lights fail, how will you see to get out to investigate why the lights went out?

You can get one for less than £20 from Here

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Posted · Report post

My alarm was going off couldn't get the battery out it was fused in and smelt why would this happen faulty battery?

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Posted · Report post

It sounds as if your battery leaked, lost its charge and caused low battery warning. If it was an actual alarm rather than low battery warning maybe the battery created gases and triggered the alarm. Hydrogen from lead acid batteries (boats etc) can trigger CO alarms.

Harry

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Posted · Report post

Is it possible for it to go off because it got hot? I left it on the mantelpiece above the wood burner and the alarm went off, it felt quite warm in my hand when I picked it up. I reset it and let it cool and it hasn't gone off again since.

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