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

As fall gets closer, now is an excellent time to start thinking about your residence’s carbon monoxide detectors. When heating season is underway, the Centers for Disease Control says the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning goes up. 

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 residence. When your heater is operating as it should, the gas is correctly pushed outside of your house. Fractures in your furnace’s heat exchanger or flue pipes can cause carbon monoxide to appear into your home, where prolonged exposure can be deadly. 

Although carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable, the CDC says at least 430 people in the U.S. die because of it every year. And another approximately 50,000 people go to the ER because of related issues, including headaches, dizziness and vomiting. 

The best ways you can help your home is by scheduling regular maintenance of all gas, oil, or wood burning appliances, such as your furnace and water heater, and installing a carbon monoxide detector. From plug-in to smart carbon monoxide detectors, there’s a model on the market to work for your home and budget. 

Smart Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Smart carbon monoxide detectors, such as the Nest carbon monoxide detector, make it straightforward to stay on top of keeping your family safe. They’re often sold as combined carbon monoxide and smoke detectors and can generally be synced with other smart home devices via Wi-Fi. 

Here are a few other benefits of installing them in your home: 

  • Signals that there’s an issue through voice notifications, as well as alerts on your phone. 
  • Pinpoints the problem area, such as the kitchen or basement. 
  • Can be quieted from your phone. 
  • Automatically checks its sensors and batteries and shares findings through a comprehensive 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 problem with using Wi-Fi carbon monoxide detectors is the price tag. These detectors are typically much more expensive than their plug-in or battery-powered counterparts. But they also offer many helpful and valuable features you can’t get in a non-smart device. 

When you’re buying a new device, it’s crucial to know where to place carbon monoxide detectors. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends putting a carbon monoxide detector at least five feet above the floor or on the ceiling. This is since carbon monoxide can rise with warm air. 

We suggest installing a detector on each floor of your residence, including outside bedrooms. You’ll want to be sure 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 couple of the most popular models are Kidde carbon monoxide detectors and First Alert carbon monoxide detectors. 

But they also have limited 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 urges testing hardwired carbon monoxide alarms each month. Battery-powered detectors that don’t plug in need to be tested once a week. If you’re concerned about how to test for carbon monoxide, it’s more or less straightforward. Press the button to make sure your detector is working. 

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

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

If you’re confused about why your carbon monoxide detector is beeping, it’s often due to the fact it’s sensing high amounts of carbon monoxide. If your carbon monoxide detector is going off with continuous, loud beeping, leave your home immediately and dial 911. 

Now is an excellent time to make sure your carbon monoxide detector is running properly before heating season begins. 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 provide support. Get in touch with us at 866-397-3787 today and we’ll help you find the best carbon monoxide detector for your house. 

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