Your carbon monoxide alarm is beeping occasionally. You feel no symptoms and have determined it’s not an emergency. The battery is fresh and the alarm is installed in the correct location. What else could it be trying to tell you?
While alarm manufacturers always stress the importance of referring to the owner’s manual to investigate, many homeowners don’t. Fortunately, technology can help.
Some carbon monoxide alarm models feature an LED digital display to help you decipher the chirps. If “lb” shows in the display, the primary or backup battery needs to be changed. And if “end” appears, the alarm needs to be replaced.
The digital display is also important from a safety standpoint. A numeric reading of “0” is good ( it means the alarm is not detecting the presence of any deadly CO.
If the alarm detects carbon monoxide at a concentration lower than that which sets off the alarm (70 parts per million), it will display that so you may investigate the problem and remedy it, before it becomes more serious. If more than 70 ppm is registered, the alarm will sound and display. It will also save the peak CO level so that first responders can assess the gravity of the situation.
In addition to models with a continuous digital display, manufacturer Kidde Canada has new generation “worry-free” products that contain a 10-year sealed battery that never needs to be replaced for the 10-year life of the alarm itself.
“Alarms don’t last forever, so replacement is extremely important,” advises Carol Heller, a home safety specialist with Kidde.
Heller recommends that any CO alarm manufactured prior to 2009 should be replaced.