It’s always important to ensure that your carbon monoxide alarm is properly maintained, especially during the winter season.

In the colder months, we switch on our carbon monoxide-producing heating appliances to warm our homes. While household heaters are generally safe, a minor malfunction could cause carbon monoxide to proliferate.

Dubbed the “silent killer”, carbon monoxide is an odourless and colourless deadly gas. Victims can fall asleep (and die) from carbon monoxide exposure before they even realise something is wrong. Issues such as a blocked flue pipe or a cracked heat exchanger can cause the deadly gas to permeate through your property.

Therefore, installing and maintaining a carbon monoxide alarm detector is of utmost importance—it could save your life one day. Follow these five simple maintenance steps to ensure your carbon monoxide alarm is working correctly this winter.

Change the Batteries

A carbon monoxide detector will only work if it’s got a functioning power source. The most common cause of carbon monoxide detector (and smoke alarm) failure is a flat battery. Therefore, you must check the batteries in your unit to ensure they’ve still got plenty of juice.

A high-quality carbon monoxide detector from a reputable brand like Lifesaver will have an LCD that informs the user about the battery status. If you’re not 100% sure your battery will last for another year, it’s best to play it safe by swapping it out for a new one. And remember, even mains-powered carbon monoxide detectors require a backup battery, which also needs replacing.

Test the Alarm

While a carbon monoxide detector from a reputable, well-known brand is exceptionally reliable, no piece of technology is 100% foolproof. Various factors, including the aforementioned flat battery, could prevent the device from working correctly, which leaves you exposed in the event of a carbon monoxide leak.

The best way to gauge whether your unit works properly is to press the test button, which you’ll find on the top. Now the high-risk winter season is here, it’s high time you tested your carbon monoxide detector.

Clean The Unit

Like a smoke alarm, a carbon monoxide detector can malfunction if too much dust gets inside. The device can confuse the presence of dust particles for carbon monoxide and trigger a false alarm. These painfully loud, high-pitched alarms frequently cause householders to remove the battery, leaving them vulnerable in the event of a carbon monoxide leak.

A carbon monoxide detector doesn’t need to be spotless. Pop the brush extension onto your vacuum cleaner and hoover up any excess dust around the entry point to the chamber. Alternatively, a soft brush or a damp cloth will do in a pinch.

Check the Expiry Date

Much like home smoke alarms, the carbon monoxide detector has a limited lifespan. After the unit has expired, there’s no guarantee it’ll work correctly, so you should swap it out for a new one. Generally speaking, a carbon monoxide detector will have a manufacturer-listed lifespan of 10 years.

Have a look at the fine print on the back of the unit to determine when its safe functioning lifespan is set to expire. If it’s going to lapse within the next 12 months, throw it away and replace it with a new one. It’s crucial to do this check every year to ensure you’re not relying on an old and potentially non-functioning alarm.

Assess Your Setup

As we know, a carbon monoxide detector will save your life in the event of a carbon monoxide leak. However, one isn’t always enough. To fully protect you and your family from harm, it’s wise to install one carbon monoxide alarm on every storey of your home, including the basement (if you have one).

Ideally, place the unit outside the bedrooms on each floor to ensure the alarm will wake the householders up from their sleep. If you have a gas heater or other carbon monoxide-emitting appliance inside a bedroom, it’s best to place the alarm there, too.

Shop the Home Safety Store Catalogue

Need to replace an expired carbon monoxide alarm or upgrade an existing setup?

Then browse our catalogue of high-quality carbon monoxide alarms from the Lifesaver brand. Don’t risk your life (or your loved ones) with a cheap no-name device. A Lifesaver carbon monoxide detector is safe, effective, and reliable—it’s a name you can trust.