This past Saturday the Carbon Monoxie detector we have in our basement sounded an alarm. At first, I was not too concerned, as we recently had a hardwired smoke detector go bad and start sounding off for no apparent reason. However, when I reset it and then it went off a second time, we decided that it was time to call the folks at Affton Fire Depatment to come out and take a look. I know from experience as a contractor that gas appliances can malfunction and begin to emit Carbon Monoxide gas, and that this risk is not to be taken lightly due to the fact that our senses cannot detect this gas. So we were relieved when they arrived and took an air test which confirmed that no gas was present. The firefighters who responded were all very gracious and happy to help put our concerns to rest. They also made sure our kids got red plastic fire helmets and an up close look at the firetruck before they left... thanks!
As it turns out, our detector malfunctioned, but was essentially at the end of it's life anyway. Most Carbon Monoxide detectors are good for 5-7 years and should be replaced after that time frame. Typically, the units have a tag or date stamp on the back to indicate it's age or expiration date. Expired smoke and CO detectors should be recycled, as some contain radioactive material, and all have electronic circuits. Some fire departments will allow dropoff for recycling, and in addition WITS, Inc. will take them as well. WITS has monthly pickup loaction for South County/ Affton per their their drop off location calendar.
Take a quick moment today to look at your own Carbon Monoxide detectors to ensure your's are up to date and protecting your family as designed. While at it, this would be a good time to quickly test all the smoke dectors in your home and change the batteries if you have been putting it off too long.