Beat the Beep: Replace Aging CO Alarms – They Don’t Last Forever

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Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms have been required in nearly every residence since March of 2006. The life expectancy of carbon monoxide alarms is 5-7 years, depending on the alarm manufacturer. Many CO alarms installed after the state’s CO law was passed are now reaching the end of their useful life and need to be replaced. No home appliance lasts forever.

The life of a CO alarm begins once it is first powered up. Most CO alarms have a date of manufacture stamped on them, which can be used as a guide if the activation date was not recorded.

To learn more about your CO alarm, contact your manufacturer for more information. Here are links to two of the major manufacturers.

BRK/First Alert

Signs the CO Alarm Needs Replacing
One of the signs that a carbon monoxide alarm has reached the “end of life” stage will be a “chirping” that does not stop until the unit is powered off. For models with a digital read out, it will have an “ERR” or “EO9” or “END” message. Another sign could be if it makes the low battery signal even after brand new batteries are installed. That’s the main reason behind the Beat the Beep campaign.

Beat the Beep - Don’t Go Without Protection from the Invisible, Odorless Killer
The purpose of the Beat the Beep campaign is to alert families that their CO alarms may be reaching the end of their lifecycles and should be replaced BEFORE the beeps indicating end of life. This also provides better protection against possible CO poisoning and reduces the number of false alarms to local fire departments and emergency service providers.

Many Lives Saved by “Nicole’s Law”
Since Nicole’s Law took effect in 2006, we know of many people who have been saved from CO poisoning. The CO alarms notified them that something was wrong at the earliest possible stages with low levels of CO detected. There have still been deaths from CO poisoning, but in most cases those homes had no CO alarm installed yet.