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

As cooler weather approaches, now is an excellent time to begin thinking about your residence’s carbon monoxide detectors. When heating season is underway, the Centers for Disease Control says the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning builds.

Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that’s colorless, odorless and tasteless. It’s a byproduct of combustion your gas furnace depends on to add warmth to your house. When your furnace is working properly, the gas is correctly vented outside of your home. Cracks in your furnace’s heat exchanger or flue pipes can cause carbon monoxide to seep into your home, where prolonged exposure can be deadly.

Despite the fact carbon monoxide poisoning is escapable, the CDC says at least 430 people in the U.S. die from it every year. And another approximately 50,000 people are transported to the emergency room due to related symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness and vomiting.

The best ways you can protect your home is by organizing regular maintenance of all gas, oil, or wood burning appliances, such as your furnace and water heater, and using a carbon monoxide detector. From plug-in to smart carbon monoxide detectors, there’s a model out there to work for your house and budget.

Smart Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smart carbon monoxide detectors, like the Nest carbon monoxide detector, make it effortless to keep on top of keeping your family safe. They’re usually available as combined carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and can generally be linked with other smart home devices via Wi-Fi.

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

  • Signals that there’s a problem through voice notifications, in addition to alerts on your phone.
  • Reveals the problem area, such as the kitchen or basement.
  • Can be silenced from your phone.
  • Automatically tests its sensors and batteries and explains findings through a useful report on your phone.
  • Warns you of dying 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 downside of having Wi-Fi carbon monoxide detectors is the price tag. These detectors are often much higher-priced than their plug-in or battery-powered counterparts. But they also provide many beneficial and valuable features you won’t receive in a non-smart device.

When you’re installing a new device, it’s vital to understand where to place carbon monoxide detectors. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests installing a carbon monoxide detector approximately five feet above the floor or on the ceiling. This is because carbon monoxide can rise with warm air.

We recommend installing a detector on each floor of your house, including outside bedrooms. You’ll want to be sure 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 few of the most popular types 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 encourages testing hardwired carbon monoxide alarms each month. Battery-powered detectors that don’t plug in need to be tested once a week. If you’re unsure how to test for carbon monoxide, it’s fairly straightforward. Press the button to ensure your detector is running.

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

If you’re getting noise or your carbon monoxide detector is beeping more frequently, it often signals it has a low battery. Or, it’s reaching the end of its life. How long carbon monoxide detectors run depends on the brand you have. In general, it’s approximately 5–10 years, but make sure to read the instructions from your system’s manufacturer.

If you’re wondering why your carbon monoxide detector is beeping, it’s likely due to the fact it’s picking up high concentration of carbon monoxide. If your carbon monoxide detector is going off with constant, loud beeping, leave your home as quickly as possible and contact 911.

Now is a great time to check your carbon monoxide detector is working as it should before heating season arrives. If you need to schedule furnace maintenance or you’re interested in upgrading to smart carbon monoxide detectors, the Experts at Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning can help. Contact us at 614-334-3192 today and we’ll help you find the perfect carbon monoxide detector for your residence.

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