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

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

Carbon monoxide is a harmful gas that’s colorless, odorless and tasteless. It’s a product of combustion your gas furnace depends on to warm your house. When your heating is running as it should, the gas is securely transported outside of your house. Breaks in your furnace’s heat exchanger or flue pipes can cause carbon monoxide to seep into your house, where ongoing exposure can be deadly. 

Although carbon monoxide poisoning is avoidable, the CDC says at least 430 people in the U.S. are killed by it every year. And another approximately 50,000 people go to the emergency room thanks to related issues, such as headaches, dizziness and vomiting. 

The best ways you can safeguard 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 solution available that fits for your house and budget. 

Smart Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smart carbon monoxide detectors, such as the Nest carbon monoxide detector, make it simple to keep on top of keeping your home safe. They’re frequently sold as combined carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and can usually be used with other smart home devices via Wi-Fi. 

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

  • Signals that there’s something wrong through voice notifications, plus alerts on your phone. 
  • Locates the problem spot, such as the kitchen or basement. 
  • Can be shut off from your phone. 
  • Automatically checks its sensors and batteries and reveals findings through a comprehensive report on your phone. 
  • Alerts 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 type. 

The only problem with using Wi-Fi carbon monoxide detectors is the cost. These detectors are sometimes much pricier than their plug-in or battery-powered counterparts. But they also offer many helpful and worthy features you won’t get in a non-smart device. 

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

We recommend using a detector on each floor of your house, especially 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 economical. A few 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 tend to 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 every month. Battery-powered detectors that don’t plug in need to be tested every week. If you’re unsure how to test for carbon monoxide, it’s pretty easy. Use the button to make sure your detector is working. 

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

If you’re noticing noise or your carbon monoxide detector is beeping regularly, it generally signals it has a low battery. Or, it’s approaching the end of its life. How long carbon monoxide detectors work depends on the brand you have. In general, it’s around 5–10 years, but make sure to review instructions from your device’s manufacturer. 

If you’re concerned about why your carbon monoxide detector is beeping, it’s often due to the fact it’s detected hazardous amounts of carbon monoxide. If your carbon monoxide detector is going off with constant, loud beeping, leave your house as quickly as possible and contact 911. 

Now is an excellent time to ensure your carbon monoxide detector is working as it should before heating season starts. If you need to request furnace maintenance or you’re interested in upgrading to smart carbon monoxide detectors, the Experts at Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can assist you. Get in touch with us at 866-397-3787 today and we’ll help you select the perfect carbon monoxide detector for your house. 

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