Smart vs. Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Detectors: How to Select the Best Carbon Monoxide Detector for Your Home

As cooler weather arrives, now is a great time to begin thinking about your house’s carbon monoxide detectors. When heating season begins, the Centers for Disease Control says the potential of carbon monoxide poisoning goes up. 

Carbon monoxide is a hazardous gas that’s colorless, odorless and tasteless. It’s a product of combustion your gas furnace depends on to add warmth to your house. When your heater is working like it’s supposed to, the gas is securely pushed outside of your house. Breaks in your furnace’s heat exchanger or flue pipes can cause carbon monoxide to leak into your house, where long-term exposure can be fatal. 

Regardless of the fact carbon monoxide poisoning is escapable, the CDC says at least 430 people in the U.S. die from it annually. And another approximately 50,000 people visit the emergency room due to related issues, like headaches, dizziness and vomiting. 

The best ways you can safeguard your loved ones is by organizing regular maintenance of all gas, oil, or wood burning appliances, such as your furnace and water heater, and getting a carbon monoxide detector. From plug-in to smart carbon monoxide detectors, there’s a solution out there that matches for your house and budget. 

Smart Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smart carbon monoxide detectors, including the Nest carbon monoxide detector, make it easy to stay on top of keeping your loved ones safe. They’re often sold as combined carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and can generally be synced with other smart home devices via Wi-Fi. 

Here are a few other advantages of using them in your home: 

  • Alerts you that there’s something wrong through voice notifications, in addition to alerts on your phone. 
  • Locates the problem room, such as the kitchen or basement. 
  • Can be shut off from your phone. 
  • Automatically tests its sensors and batteries and explains findings through a full report on your phone. 
  • Informs you of low batteries with an alert on your phone, not a screeching noise in the middle of the night. 
  • Lasts up to 10 years, depending on the brand. 

The only issue with having Wi-Fi carbon monoxide detectors is the price. These detectors are sometimes much higher-priced than their plug-in or battery-powered counterparts. But they also offer many useful and valuable features you can’t receive in a non-smart device. 

When you’re installing a new device, it’s important to understand where to put carbon monoxide detectors. The Environmental Protection Agency encourages putting a carbon monoxide detector at least five feet above the floor or on the ceiling. This is since carbon monoxide can rise with heated air. 

We suggest using a detector on each floor of your home, including outside bedrooms. You’ll want to be certain the noise will wake you up. 

Battery-Powered and Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Plug-in and battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors are the most affordable. A couple of the most popular styles are Kidde carbon monoxide detectors and First Alert carbon monoxide detectors. 

But they also have fewer features that don’t work with your phone or smart home devices. They generally have a digital display and test button, which you’ll have to remember to use. 

The National Fire Protection Association advises testing hardwired carbon monoxide alarms once a month. Battery-powered detectors that don’t plug in need to be tested once a week. If you’re wondering how to test for carbon monoxide, it’s pretty straightforward. Use the button to make sure your detector is functioning. 

If your detector is hardwired, make sure to replace the backup battery at least annually. If it’s battery-powered, you’ll want to replace it once a month to avoid the annoying chirp in the middle of the night. 

If you’re getting that sound or your carbon monoxide detector is beeping intermittently, it often indicates it has a low battery. Or, it’s getting to the end of its life. How long carbon monoxide detectors work depends on the brand you own. Typically, it’s approximately 5–10 years, but make sure to review instructions from your specific manufacturer. 

If you’re concerned about why your carbon monoxide detector is beeping, it’s frequently due to the fact it’s picking up dangerous concentration of carbon monoxide. If your carbon monoxide detector is going off with continuous, loud beeping, leave your house immediately and dial 911. 

Now is a great time to ensure your carbon monoxide detector is working as it should before heating season begins. If you need to set up furnace maintenance or you’re interested in upgrading to smart carbon monoxide detectors, the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Reach us at 866-397-3787 today and we’ll help you select the perfect carbon monoxide detector for your home. 

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