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

As fall gets closer, now is a good time to begin thinking about your residence’s carbon monoxide detectors. When heating season starts, the Centers for Disease Control says the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases.

Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that’s colorless, odorless and tasteless. It’s a byproduct of combustion your gas furnace relies on to heat your home. When your heater is operating as it should, the gas is securely pushed outside of your home. Breaks in your furnace’s heat exchanger or flue pipes can cause carbon monoxide to appear into your house, where prolonged exposure can be lethal.

Although carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable, the CDC says at least 430 people in the U.S. die because of it each year. And another approximately 50,000 people visit the ER due to related ailments, such as headaches, dizziness and vomiting.

The best ways you can help your home is by scheduling yearly maintenance of all gas, oil, or wood burning appliances, like your furnace and water heater, and getting a carbon monoxide detector. From plug-in to smart carbon monoxide detectors, there’s an option available that fits for your residence and budget.

Smart Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smart carbon monoxide detectors, like the Nest carbon monoxide detector, make it straightforward to stay on top of keeping your family safe. They’re often offered as combination carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and can typically be used with other smart home devices via Wi-Fi.

Here are a few other benefits of using them in your residence:

  • Alerts you that there’s a problem through voice notifications, plus 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 reveals findings through a full report on your phone.
  • Warns you of dying batteries with an alert on your phone, not an annoying noise in the middle of the night.
  • Lasts up to 10 years, depending on the type.

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

When you’re getting a new device, it’s crucial to learn where to attach carbon monoxide detectors. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends placing a carbon monoxide detector at least five feet above the floor or on the ceiling. This is due to the fact carbon monoxide can rise with hot air.

We recommend installing a detector on each floor of your residence, including outside bedrooms. You’ll want to be sure the beeping will wake you up.

Battery-Powered and Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Plug-in and battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors are the most economical. Some of the most popular types are Kidde carbon monoxide detectors and First Alert carbon monoxide detectors.

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

The National Fire Protection Association urges testing hardwired carbon monoxide alarms once a month. Battery-powered detectors that don’t plug in should be tested once a week. If you’re concerned about how to test for carbon monoxide, it’s pretty easy. 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 change it once a month to avoid the annoying chirp in the middle of the night.

If you’re noticing a chirp or your carbon monoxide detector is beeping more frequently, it often means it has a low battery. Or, it’s getting to the end of its life. How long carbon monoxide detectors last depends on the brand you own. Most often, it’s between 5–10 years, but make sure to read the instructions from your device’s manufacturer.

If you’re wondering why your carbon monoxide detector is beeping, it’s frequently due to the fact it’s sensing dangerous concentration of carbon monoxide. If your carbon monoxide detector is going off with continuous, loud beeping, leave your residence immediately and call 911.

Now is a great time to make sure your carbon monoxide detector is running normally before heating season starts. 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 provide support. Reach us at 330-269-7235 today and we’ll help you find the perfect carbon monoxide detector for your house.

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