Having a properly working carbon monoxide detector is the best way to keep you and your family safe from being exposed to the poisonous gas. Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, and invisible gas that is caused by incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Your carbon monoxide detector, if properly installed five feet from the floor, will detect any form of gas, which will cause it to sound. If the alarm does go off, be sure to get everyone in the home to fresh air and call 911 immediately.
There are many reasons, however, why your CO detector will trigger, and not all of them are potentially lethal.
1. Dead Batteries
If you suspect a false alarm, the first thing you should do is check the batteries. If they need to be changed, this will trigger the alarm on most models, and a new battery will fix the problem immediately.
Safety Note: If your batteries are fine and the alarm is still going off, it is at this time that you and your family should leave the home. Do not stay in the house to investigate the source of the alarm. There are several things that could be causing it, but it is too dangerous for you to check these situations yourself, without proper protection.
2. Pilot Light
The pilot light on your stove may be the source. If the pilot light is off, it can create carbon monoxide, which in turn, will set off the alarms.
3. Running Vehicle
If you have an attached garage, never leave your car running inside. Doing this can also increase the carbon monoxide in your home.
4. Indoor Barbecue
Never barbecue inside your home. Although, this may seem obvious, many people barbecue inside during the winter. Even with the window open, the smoke could still cause carbon monoxide gases to be trapped, thus presenting a health hazard and triggering the alarm.
5. Running Stove
If you have a gas range, always be sure that you’ve properly turned off the gas whenever you’re finished cooking. Although the dials may look as though they’re in the off position, don’t hesitate to double check. Also, the smell of natural gas leaking from your stove will be very apparent if the range is still running.
Never use the stove as a heater even in the winter months. When it's cold outside, your home is less ventilated than usual, to keep heat trapped inside as much as possible. As a result, there is nothing to circulate out the harmful gases that will build up in your home if you run the stove as an alternate heat source.