Why Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Is Chirping Intermittently and How to Fix It

Gas furnaces and other fuel-burning equipment in your home produce carbon monoxide gas (CO). While carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, it is also poisonous. High levels of carbon monoxide can cause dizziness, headaches and in some cases, death.

Luckily, your furnace normally vents this deadly gas outside your house through a flue pipe.

Still, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in your home to warn of dangerous carbon monoxide levels around you. But it can be unnerving if your detector starts to beep or chirp. This can happen for several reasons including an actual emergency, low batteries or end of device life. Here’s how to troubleshoot:

Emergency Alarm Beeping

Check your carbon monoxide detector and other sounding devices to see if the beeping is caused by a legitimate risk. If you think the alarm is a true emergency evacuate your home immediately. If your alarm is monitored by a professional monitoring center, help should be automatically dispatched. If not, you will need to call 911.

Low Battery Beep

Check your batteries. Most carbon monoxide detectors automatically sound a high-decibel, repetitive chirping to alert you that they’re low on batteries. You may even want to use a battery tester. The Consumer Protection Safety Commission recommends changing your CO detector batteries at least every year. In addition to battery replacement, check your detectors each month by pressing the “test” button, and clean your detectors regularly to remove dirt, dust and other debris.

End of Life Beep

If you’ve changed the batteries and your carbon monoxide detector is still chirping, it may have reached the end of its life. Most carbon monoxide alarms last between 7-10 years and should be replaced after this time. This is because the sensor in the alarm loses performance over time.

If these steps don’t yield results, contact your security provider.