Carbon monoxide detectors across California likely need to be replaced

Posted at 6:32 PM, Jun 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-26 21:32:24-04

The California legislature ruled in 2011 that all homes should have carbon monoxide detectors. Experts are now warning that the carbon monoxide detectors purchased in 2011 are likely at the end of their lifespan.

About 12,000 people die every year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

"It’s odorless, you can’t tell that it’s in the air, it comes off of anything that burns," said Steve Szabo, Director of Cardiopulmonary & Respiratory at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.

Szabo says carbon monoxide poisoning can cause dizziness, lightheadedness, and can lead to neurological problems or death.

"The terrible thing is, once it attaches to your blood, it doesn’t let go. It’s very difficult to unbind that so it leaves that blood useless to your body. As you continue to inhale it, it builds and builds to the point where you have a lot of carbon monoxide and almost no oxygen, so it’s the same thing as suffocation really," Szabo added.

A carbon monoxide detector typically has a lifespan of about seven to 10 years.

"So in that five to six-year range, you’ll want to start to look at replacing them," said Matt Farris, manager at Ace Hardware in Grover Beach. "It’s important to have them in sleeping areas and at least one per level."

Residents should test their alarms once a month using the ‘test’ button. Replace the alarm if they fail to respond correctly.

If the carbon monoxide detector beeps, it could either be asking you to change the battery or replace it altogether.