Today, most people know about the dangers of carbon monoxide and why it’s so important to have a CO alarm in your house. But many of us aren’t clear on what to do if that alarm does go off. So, if your CO alarm is beeping, here’s what to do.
What the Different CO Alarm Beeps Mean
It’s important to understand that a house fire and CO exposure are two distinctly different situations. With a CO alarm, it’s not instantly clear whether it’s a false alarm, low battery, or emergency situation. Carbon Monoxide is known as The Silent Killer – it’s invisible, odourless and tasteless. So don’t take chances. When your alarm goes off, take these steps to ensure everyone’s safety.
First of all, don’t panic. Stop and listen to how the alarm is beeping. There are three different beeps you need to be aware of:
1. One quick beep every 15 seconds. *
This indicates a low battery. If your alarm has a digital display, you will also see a “Lb” for “low battery” flashing in red.
2. One quick beep every 30 seconds. *
This indicates that your alarm needs replacing. If your alarm has a digital display, you will also see “End” for “end of life” flashing in red.
3. Four short beeps, followed by five seconds of silence.*
Your alarm has detected the presence of carbon monoxide. This must be treated as an emergency situation.
Four short beeps followed by silence? Act immediately!
- Evacuate the house, or move to fresh air by an open window or door.
- Do a head-count to make sure everyone in your home is accounted for.
- Call the fire department or 911 from a cell phone or neighbor’s house.
- Do not re-enter the house and move away from the open window or door until emergency first responders have investigated, giving you the all-clear, and your CO alarm is reset.
*Traits of Kidde CO alarms. Other alarms may have different warnings.
CO alarms manufactured by Kidde Canada and others may have different warning systems. Always check manufacturer manuals and specifications.
Keep These Products Away From Your CO Alarm
Some household products can cause a false alarm if they’re stored too close to your CO detector. These products may include:
- paints and paint thinners
- hair sprays and strong perfumes
- plug-in and spray-type aerosol air fresheners
- cleaning products with strong odours, such as pine
Be sure to store these products away from your carbon monoxide detector to minimize the risk of false alarms.
Inspect & Maintain Your Heating Systems, Gas, & Other Fuel-Burning Appliances Regularly
The first step to avoiding a carbon monoxide accident is to have your heating systems and all of your gas or other fuel-burning appliances inspected and maintained yearly by a properly trained, professional technician.
Install a CO Alarm on Every Floor
Every home should have a CSA – approved CO alarm installed on every story of the home, especially outside sleeping areas. Those alarms must be replaced every 7-10 years to ensure they are in good working order.
We Want You to Be Safe!
As your neighbours and personal HVAC experts, everyone at ClimateCare wants to keep you and your family safe. Follow these steps, and you’ll never have to worry about the dangers of carbon monoxide. You’ll sleep better. And so will we.