WHAT CAN TRIGGER A CARBON MONOXIDE ALARM? \\ What causes co detector to go off? (2023)


What can trigger a carbon monoxide alarm? Anything that burns fuel. The cause for what is setting off your co detector may be a gas stove, fireplace, furnace, hot water heater, etc. A very common reason why your home's carbon monoxide detector is going off is because of your car. If you start your car in or even near you open garage door, copious amounts of carbon monoxide can get into your living areas.

When your carbon monoxide detector goes off we urge you to quickly open windows and doors to ventilate and leave your home. You could call the gas company, fire department, or an emergency service in your area to figure out what is causing your co detector to sound the alarm.

We encourage you to invest in a low level CO Detector that can detect all levels of carbon monoxide in your home. Having a carbon monoxide detector that can detect even less than 10 PPM is preferable. A low level carbon monoxide detector is an essential home safety tool.
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And they're sitting there that's stamped right on them.

The alarm range is from 30 to 999 parts per million.

Guess what we're talking about? I want the alarm going off at very low level in the single digits.

It is important because low level exposure is much more probable for one and is just as dangerous over a long period of time than a high level is for a short period of time.

People have a little false security when they look at this.

Oh I've got a co detector.

Look I I got two of them, I put two of them and they don't go off till at 30.

Well, at 30 parts per million, you're, probably going to be throwing up you're going to be you're, going to be nauseated you're, going to have a splitting headache and nausea.

This is like having a smoke detector that doesn't go off until the flame is really nearby.

I want a low level smoke detector! That's the way! You want your co detector.

What are the common culprits that can set off a house's carbon monoxide detector? Typically, anything that burns a fuel could be natural.

Gas could be gasoline in the tank of your car.

It's really anything.

That's burning a fuel for most people, the the knee jerk, would be the gas burning appliances in the home furnace, your water, heater and stove of those three.

Just from my experience, what is most likely is the stove, the kitchen stove, because if you think about it, those appliances typically do not have a flue associated to them.

You know they're, just an open flame and it's venting right into the kitchen.

The big thing is the oven in an oven.

So it's on for long periods of time.

It's venting into the kitchen, the problem with those the older gas appliances.

They get enough.

Gravy spilled on the burners, crumbs and debris that finds itself at the bottom of an oven ends up on the burner which causes them to burn in properly and really produce much more carbon monoxide than what they're supposed to.

However, the most common reason.

A person's alarm goes off that I have found just me personally, as a service technician is what's going on in the garage and if you've got an older home most older homes.

In our area have a supply air duct in the garage you, so you can put a little heat out there in the winter time, or you know that sort of thing.

Now: that's not code any longer, that's no longer taking place in with new construction, but for years decades people would run a supply deck out in the garage.

Well, you now have an opening from the garage to your living space.

Granted, it's a it's in the form of a supply, air duct and yes, the register might be open or closed or whatever, but still it's a way for carbon monoxide to get into the home.

By far the biggest producer of carbon monoxide in a typical home is that car in the garage.

When I take a low level, a good low-level co detector and just put it in the garage and go through the normal routine of what most people go through.

They open up the garage door.

They start their car, okay, there's a cold start on the car.

This is when it is burning.

The least efficient is when you first start it up that car literally belches carbon monoxide into the garage, and then what do you do? What's the normal routine, you put it in reverse you back out and what about halfway down the driveway, you hit the garage door button and close the garage it hasn't.

It's not ventilated at all.

So here you started the car up at the worst possible efficiency time.

As far as how how the car is operating.

You start it up and count to like, say, 10 and now you're closing the garage door, and that is closed up and oh now, we've got now that pipes seemed a little more important.

We've got that open duct from the indoor comfort system to the garage, and we have copious amounts of carbon monoxide in the garage.

When is it most likely that a gas burning furnace is going to set off a carbon monoxide detector, it should never set off a carbon monoxide detector.

It really should, however, just like we described with the car.

We can identify a path for carbon monoxide to get into the airstream of the house if the integrity of the heat exchanger is flawed and there's a crack.

That's why, when we have a crack in the heat exchanger that heat exchanger is what's separating the byproducts of combustion, which is where there is carbon monoxide and the air inside the home that we're circulating and breathing inside the home that heat exchanger is what separates those two and so that's why we can't tolerate any flaw at all in that heat exchanger.

We now have a path for that carbon monoxide to get in.

I want to also tell you, though, that when that appliance, that furnace is burning if it's burning properly, if it's been serviced, it puts out very little.

Carbon monoxide know that when you hear the headline of tragic headlines, you know and you'll hear them.

Every winter a home of people got were overcome.

Let's just pray, it didn't lead to death, but you know people got sick, know that multiple things fail every time I hear that I go, you know multiple things fail.

You know a properly operating furnace, even though it can generate low levels of carbon monoxide.

It's really not producing high enough levels for it to be a problem, and it certainly shouldn't be in the home for a furnace or a water heater a there has to be something wrong with that appliance as far as how it's burning the amount of carbon monoxide that it's generating and how did it get into the air stream in the home? That's you typically a completely separate problem, so it's burning improperly and something happens.

Something is happening.

There's a barrier, there's all kinds of ways.

You could have a very dirty furnace with a lot of rust and dust and debris on the burner causing impingement and and now we've got high levels of co in the exhaust and the flu plugged up the flu rusted off and it's venting into the basement or attic or whatever.

We have a problem with a heat exchanger and the list goes on, but it's got to be more than one thing.

Typically, one thing isn't going to be a problem, an immediate problem.

You always want your furnace burning properly.

Typically, multiple things have failed.

Multiple safety systems have failed.

You so important to get your gas appliances maintained so that absolutely it burns properly and to make sure that those safety things are in check.

We take it seriously.

We've got to check it every time.

You know we don't prejudge anything.

We don't know you've got to go into situations like that.

With an open, mind, check things thoroughly and completely.

You can never discount it, though.

If somebody's got a co detector off, you assume nothing you're going to assume wrong and you've got to have an open mind and really check things out completely.

If a co detector is going off, what should people do like vacate the property? Absolutely fire department, ventilate get the windows open and I know that's going to be hard when it's cold outside, but you need fresh air.

You need to dilute that my advice has always been yo.

Yes, we do have co detectors on our trucks and our technicians wear a co detector, so we're in and out of people's homes, so believe it or not.

We're checking for ceo when we walk in your home.

We're we're checking for ceo all the time calling the gas company.

Quite frankly, their their means of measuring are much more sophisticated than what we have that gas company.

They want to know they're they're the ones providing the fuel, and they want to know that everything they can determine exactly where it's coming from, but you want to ventilate.

You definitely want to ventilate, okay cool all right thanks, dad.


WHAT CAN TRIGGER A CARBON MONOXIDE ALARM? \\ What causes co detector to go off? ›

In domestic properties, your CO alarm can be triggered by any fuel burning appliance such as gas cookers, boilers and ovens. All of these appliances give off small traces of CO, but the levels can rise slightly when adequate ventilation isn't provided, or the venting is blocked or clogged by dust.

What triggers carbon monoxide alarms? ›

CO alarms are designed to warn you of any unusual build-up of CO in your home. These higher levels of CO may occur from improperly maintained, installed or used fuel-burning appliances, backdrafting appliances or fireplaces, or idling cars in garages.

Why would carbon monoxide alarm go off for no reason? ›

Can My Carbon Monoxide Detector Go Off for No Reason? It is possible to have a carbon monoxide detector going off without any danger present. If you suspect that this is the case, it's important not to ignore it. This could be due to a faulty device, old batteries, or just dust buildup in the unit itself.

Which may cause false alarms with CO detectors? ›

false alarm may be caused by a few things including its proximity to fuel-burning appliances, exposure to humidity, or the low quality of the device itself. As the detector works to keep you and your home safe, the slightest environmental changes may cause more worry than peace of mind.

What sends off carbon monoxide? ›

Carbon Monoxide Sources in the Home

Clothes dryers. Water heaters. Furnaces or boilers. Fireplaces, both gas and wood burning.

Can smoke cause carbon monoxide alarm to go off? ›

On rare occasions if here is a heavy smoker in a room that is poorly ventilated the CO from smoking may trigger an alarm. Homes that are adjacent to very busy roads may experience higher levels of CO in the home when windows are open as traffic fumes may enter the room and set your alarm off.

Does gas trigger carbon monoxide alarm? ›

Carbon monoxide is very different from methane and cannot be detected with the same sensor. Carbon monoxide might appear during a gas leak, but a carbon monoxide detector is not normally capable of detecting natural gas.

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