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Your carbon monoxide detector is one of the most important things in your home, right up there with smoke detectors. Carbon monoxide is a very real danger that is extremely difficult to detect without a working carbon monoxide detector, seeing as it is invisible and odourless. But what if you are not fully aware of what your carbon monoxide detector is doing? Hearing different beeps and noises coming from it can be a little bit confusing, so it’s important to make sure you know exactly what is happening when your carbon monoxide detector is going off in any way. Here’s a quick guide to help you out!

What should I Do When I Hear it Beeping?

The first thing to remember when you hear your carbon monoxide detector going off is to remain calm and avoid panicking. Before you do anything rash, simply stop whatever it is you’re doing and listen. There are different kinds of beeping patterns in carbon monoxide detectors, each telling you something different. Here’s a look at the different beeping patterns you may hear and what they mean:

One fast beep every 15 seconds- if you hear this beeping pattern, it means your detector is simply low on battery power. If your alarm has a digital display, you’ll see an indicator of this as well. No reason to panic; simply get new batteries for your detector as soon as you can.

One fast beep every 30 seconds- this is also no cause for immediate concern because it only means that your alarm is no longer functioning properly and needs to be replaced. Get yourself a new alarm as soon as possible to keep your home safe from carbon monoxide.

Four short beeps, followed by five seconds of silence- this is what you will hear when your alarm has detected carbon monoxide in the air. If this is what you are hearing, you need to treat it as an emergency situation.

My Alarm has Detected Carbon Monoxide, What Do I Do?

If you are hearing the beeping pattern that indicates there is indeed carbon monoxide in the air, follow these steps:

  1. Don’t waste time panicking, get everybody out of the house quickly and safely. If you are unable to leave the house for whatever reason, move to a source of fresh air instead, such as an open window.
  2. Do a quick headcount to ensure that everyone in your home is with you once you are safe.
  3. Call 911 or the fire department using your cell phone or a neighbour’s phone; DO NOT re-enter your home to make this call.
  4. Do not re-enter the house or move away from the open window until emergency personnel have investigated and given you the all clear to re-enter your home.

Now that you know more about your carbon monoxide detector, you can be surer of the situation next time you hear any beeping.