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Why is my Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeping?

By Jacob Queen
Updated May 16, 2024
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If you hear your carbon monoxide detector beeping, most experts would recommend that you immediately call emergency services and get out of your home. Carbon monoxide can't be seen and has no recognizable smell, so it can sneak up on people and catch them unaware. The detector has a sensor in it that can alert you to the possible presence of carbon monoxide, and you should generally trust it. The one exception is if it you only hear your carbon monoxide detector beeping every minute or two, which could be a low-battery warning signal. In those cases, you should immediately replace the battery, and if there is no battery present, you should call emergency services just to be safe and exit your residence.

One other possible cause of a carbon monoxide detector beeping is a faulty or defective detector. Carbon monoxide detectors don’t last forever, and after a while, the detector inside will start to fail. When this happens, there is the potential for false alarms. Any time a carbon monoxide detector is beeping, it is generally a good idea to take emergency precautions, but if authorities find that there is no carbon monoxide in your home, you should replace your detector.

When people get exposed to carbon monoxide, they usually aren’t able to recognize any problems. Carbon monoxide can actually make you confused and relaxed, so many people who are exposed become drowsy and go to sleep without realizing anything is wrong with them. This is why a carbon monoxide detector beeping may be the only thing that can save you, and it’s why it’s generally very important to heed the warning. Other common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include nausea, vomiting, and headache.

The most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home are generally related to using gas fuel sources for things like stoves and water heaters. Another way people commonly get exposed is when they have a garage that is attached to their house, and they leave a car running for a long period of time. The carbon monoxide can gradually seep into their home without them realizing, and this can happen even if there is a door between the garage and the house. Wood stoves can also potentially lead to carbon monoxide exposure. Most experts suggest changing the batteries on your carbon monoxide detector twice a year as a precaution to keep them constantly functional.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By lukman143 — On Jun 02, 2015

Never ignore when you find this event. Treat it as carbon monoxide detection. And follow the instructions on carbon monoxide beeping.

By jflaherty21 — On Apr 20, 2015

I had the previous post about the low-grade whine from my CO Detector. Problem solved. One of the batteries had sprung a leak and the corrosion caused the issue. I scraped the contacts clean and replaced the batteries. It's all good now. Hope that helps the next guy.

By jflaherty21 — On Apr 20, 2015

I heard a low-grade continuous whine coming from somewhere in our basement. I followed the sound to our battery-operated carbon monoxide detector. No beeping, so I'm thinking that the detector is old and needs replacement. Am I correct here?

By wannabemg — On May 27, 2014

How do I change the batteries for this thing? It keeps beeping no matter what and I can't find where the batteries are located at, (etc. on the back, side, front). Please help!

By anon947106 — On Apr 24, 2014

A sign that there is a carbon monoxide problem is being overly tired. A friend had a leak in a dryer vent. She had no idea anything was wrong, but was very tired anytime she was home.

By anon355196 — On Nov 14, 2013

I have a really foul smell in my house. My husband said it is coming from our heating unit. He said that when we had the unit serviced for the winter he was told because it's such an old unit (20 years old) it would need to eventually be replaced and we would know when the time comes for the replacement.

Well now, the order is so much worse and my detector has been beeping all morning. I have turned off my central unit and using space heaters and even open the doors for a few minutes and detector is still beeping. Is this something that I need to be worried about?

By anon343990 — On Aug 04, 2013

My alarm won't stop beeping no matter what. I had to bury it under my laundry. It's been doing it for the last 10 hours, and I'm still alive. What's up?

By anon342222 — On Jul 18, 2013

Ours is beeping one time. It shows a 0 on left side but flashes a 97. What is this?

By anon313972 — On Jan 15, 2013

My carbon monoxide alert has gone off. I phoned the gas company and they have now turned off my gas and said I have to get all the gas lines checked. I think I have a faulty carbon monoxide alarm and I'm feezing, waiting for a gas man to come.

By anon312726 — On Jan 08, 2013

Just had carpets cleaned and we left the house for an couple of hours. When we got home, the carbon monoxide detector was beeping. I opened the doors, took the alarm outside and it eventually stopped. Took it back in the house and -- so far so good -- no beeping. It is located right next to the gas furnace, so my guess is that the cleaning solutions, which have a strong odor, triggered the alarm.

By Domido — On Jul 30, 2011

I don’t think it’s quite as dangerous, but we also keep a carbon monoxide detector in our camper. And I’m glad that we do, because it wasn’t very long ago that that is how we discovered a malfunction in our gas line.

The thing started going crazy, we opened the door and it stopped. This happened several times and I figured that opening the door was letting out the harmful substance because it was such a small space.

However, I pushed my husband (who was quite content continually opening the door – goober) to check into the gas. Indeed, there was a leak.

I stand by my decision to push on getting that fixed immediately. What, with all of the campfires and such that you’ve got going on a camping trip!

My husband, fruit loop that he is, would have let it go. Then when the whole shebang blew up he would have toasted marshmallows and weenies over the flames, I’m sure.

That is, if he wasn't taking a carbon monoxide induced nap.

By rugbygirl — On Jul 29, 2011

Quick tip: Disconnect/remove batteries from/generally disable your carbon monoxide alarm if you're having your carpets cleaned. I once shut my cat in a bathroom (with her food and water and a pillow and whatnot; she was quite comfy) and left the house while my carpets were being cleaned.

When I got back, the carbon monoxide detector was going off and the poor cat was howling! The noise was really getting to her. I'm not sure if the carpet cleaning actually created an unsafe level of carbon monoxide--probably not, I guess--or if something about the carpet cleaning caused it to malfunction.

By Mae82 — On Jul 29, 2011

Has anyone ever known someone how has suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning?

We recently moved into a home with a gas powered furnace and are concerned about using it during the wintertime. We have always had homes where all of our appliances and whatnot run off of electricity. So we never really worried about having a carbon monoxide detector before.

The funny thing was, after we installed the carbon monoxide detector it started beeping almost immediately, prompting my friend to think we were all going to die. We had to unhook the thing because it won't stop beeping. We're not sick, and just in case we're keeping our windows open. Do you think we should just take the carbon monoxide detector back to the store?

By letshearit — On Jul 28, 2011

Carbon monoxide detectors are a really good thing to have in your home as you can never tell if the deadly gas is building up in the air. In my home I actually have a few carbon monoxide detectors scattered throughout the various rooms so that I can make sure that if one starts beeping I will know if it is a false alarm or not.

A few months ago one of my carbon monoxide detectors started beeping and it scared me half to death. I quickly checked to see if the other detectors were going off but nothing. I opened all the windows in my house and checked my carbon monoxide detector. It turned out to be faulty because after I touched it the beeping stopped. I have since replaced it and am very happy I have more than one around.

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