Carbon monoxide detectors are intended to alert you on the CO poisoning danger. Although you should never assume that you are safe from the dangerous gas just because you have a carbon monoxide detector, it is crucial to make sure that the unit will actually set off the alarm in case you have a CO leak.
Just like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors should be tested on a routine basis. Obviously, is impossible to test the unit for its reaction to CO like you can test a smoke detector for its sensitivity to smoke. So how can you tell if your carbon monoxide detector will work during a potential CO leak? Generally, there is no need to doubt your carbon monoxide detector's reliability if it complies with the British Standard EN50291. It is crucial, however, not rely on the detector alone and make sure that all your fuel-burning appliances are installed and operated correctly as well as to have them annually inspected by licensed professionals. As much as carbon monoxide detector is concerned, you can and should test it for circuity.
In order to test your unit:
1. Look for a "test" button on the front.
2. Push the "test" button and hold it until you hear a beep. The beep reveals that your unit is working.
You are recommended to repeat the above mentioned procedure on a regular basis. Meanwhile, make sure that your carbon monoxide detector is always turned on and look at the lights that indicate that the unit is turned on on a daily basis just in case if someone accidentally turned it off.
If your carbon monoxide detectors is powered by batteries, pay attention to the lights that indicate the status of the batteries. If you see changes such as flashing or colour change, you should replace the batteries. When you do, reinstall the alarm and test the unit. If you do not hear the beep or if the lights continue to flash/do not change to "normal", the unit should be replaced.
In addition to testing your carbon monoxide detector on a regular basis, you are also highly recommended to follow the manufacturer's recommendations concerning the replacement age. It is not a trick to sell more units, so be sure to replace your detector according to the manufacturer's instructions because there there is a risk that it will not react to potentially fatal concentrations of CO. If the manufacturer recommends replacement of the unit after 7 years for instance, discard it and buy a new one.
Lastly, make sure to maintain the unit properly. In most cases, proper maintenance means routine dusting but the amount and type of maintenance vary from one model to another, so be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions in the owner's manual. Also, be sure not to use any chemicals near the unit including air fresheners.
Please follow the manufacturer's instructions concerning proper installation, use, testing and maintenance of your carbon monoxide detector closely. If you have any doubts, do not hesitate to contact the manufacturer for an advice.