Checking that your carbon monoxide detector is working properly is crucial for your safety. You don’t want to find that the detector was faulty when it’s too late.
So how to test carbon monoxide detector?
You can test a carbon monoxide detector in two ways: by using the test button on the detector or by simulating a carbon monoxide leak.
Test Button (Easiest Method)
Most CO detectors from models like Honeywell XC series, FireAngel, Kidde 4MCO series, BRK DICON CO850Mi and FIRST ALERT CO400 have a test button.
Test buttons on different models work differently. For some, pressing the test button produces a couple of beeps and a quiet diagnostic test for electrical power or battery.
You have to press the button for longer or until you hear a certain number of beeps to activate the full alarm test. Have your family members stay in different rooms to make sure they can clearly hear the alarm.
The alarm should be loud enough that it can wake you from deep sleep.
With other carbon monoxide detectors, you just need to press the test button once to run the full alarm test.
This includes exposing the detector to low levels of carbon monoxide to see if it will sound the alarm. You can use a lit candle, incense stick or another burning material.
Hold the test button to set the detector in test mode. Hold the burning material 15 cm below the detector. Readings of 50ppm will set off the single alarm cycle affirming that the sensor is working.
Have family members go to different rooms to test for alarm loudness. If you have interlinked remote sensors, check that they also activate.
Another way to crisis test a carbon monoxide detector is using a CO detector tester aerosol. You can find it in stores or online. It’s a safer option compared to using an open flame.
Hold the aerosol at the specified distance from the detector and spray the recommended amount of gas.
If your carbon monoxide detector is working properly, it should sound an alarm.
How Often Should You Test a Carbon Monoxide Detector?
Test your carbon monoxide detectors once every month. To make sure you don’t forget, have a specific date when you always carry out the test.
If your carbon monoxide detector uses replaceable batteries, replace the batteries every six months. Do not rely on the warning chirp to know when to get new batteries. The detector may malfunction and fail to chirp when batteries get low.
If you have a sealed battery detector, no need to replace the batteries. The battery is designed to last as long as the carbon monoxide detector.
Read also our article on where to place a CO detector.