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What Should I Do If My Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off?

Posted: August 14, 2019

Carbon monoxide detector

A build-up of carbon monoxide in your Massachusetts home can be dangerous – or potentially deadly – for your family, which is why the State of Massachusetts requires carbon monoxide detectors in most homes.

But even a functioning, properly placed carbon monoxide detector won’t do you much good if you don’t know what to do when it goes off.

To keep your family safe, here are three things you should when you hear your CO Detector sound:

  1. Leave immediately and call the fire department. If your carbon monoxide alarm is sounding, calmly gather your family (don’t forget your pets!) and leave the building. Phone the local fire department and let them inspect your home; if no CO build-up is present, retest your alarm, replacing batteries or the whole unit as needed (CO detectors are typically guaranteed for 5 or 10 years, depending on the model).
  2. Look for signs of CO Poisoning. If someone in the home is displaying signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, see a doctor immediately. The symptoms commonly associated with CO poisoning include:
    • Weakness
    • Dull headache
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Shortness of breath
    • Weakness
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Confusion
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Blurred vision

    Please note: Symptoms worsen with greater exposure to CO, so act quickly.

  3. Have all propane, heating oil, and natural gas appliances checked. If you have determined that your CO detector incident was not a false alarm, have all your fuel burning appliances checked, serviced, and repaired by a home comfort professional before you use them again.
  4. Why is my carbon monoxide detector “chirping”?

    Distinct from the obvious sound of a carbon monoxide alarm is the “chirp” your CO detector sometimes makes. The following conditions could cause your carbon monoxide alarm to chirp consistently:

    • A low-battery condition – A typical CO detector will chirp once every 15 seconds or so to indicate the batteries need replacement.
    • End of Life Warning – Many models chirp every 30 seconds or so when the unit needs to be replaced; a 30-second chirp interval can also indicate unit malfunction. See your CO detector’s owner’s manual for details.

    It’s important to know that your CO detector will not respond to carbon monoxide in this condition, so please address any issues right away!

    Have any questions about carbon monoxide safety in your Massachusetts home, or need to have your equipment inspected to avoid a CO problem altogether? We can help. Give the pros at Pioneer Oil and Propane a call today.