What would happen if my CO alarm went off while I was out of town?

Would it just keep going? It’s hard wired, so the batteries won’t wear out. It’s loud but I don’t know if anyone outside can hear it. And if, say, a neighbor heard it and called 911, would they break into the house to see what’s wrong?

The CO alarm is, of course, incorporated into the smoke alarm.

I ask because the alarm went off last night and I couldn’t find any reason for it - no visible or smellable smoke, so I assumed it was CO. I opened some windows and it stopped, and I left the windows open overnight.

I’m truly unsure what to do about this. This is the first time the alarm has gone off except for being set off by cooking smoke, which is always obvious. I hadn’t been cooking for over 3 hours when it went off. The kitchen was remodeled about 7 years ago, and the wiring all passed inspection. Tips, advice from experience, suggestions?

Might be worth calling the non-emergency police dept. number and asking them what they’d do under these circumstances.

How old is your CO alarm? They don’t last forever; might be time to replace it. I went through this a few years ago when our sounded while showing 0 PPM on the digital display.

I had a really hard time pulling the trigger on the Nest Smoke/CO detectors, but bought them for the question you mention in the OP. They’re connected to my Nest t-stat. If they detect smoke, they’ll shut off the furnace so it doesn’t blow smoke all over the house. It’ll also alert me on my phone and give me the chance to shut off my the alarm with my phone before it goes full tilt if it’s a small amount of smoke (ie burnt pizza).

As for CO, it does the same thing, it’ll shut down the furnace if it detects CO since there’s a good chance the CO is coming from the furnace. Again, it’ll send a notification to my phone as well. That’s what I really liked about it. Think about a situation where you come home from work and the CO detector is blaring. You don’t know if it just started going off 10 minutes ago or if it’s been beeping for 6 hours. The Nest system will shut down the furnace and let you know that something is going on so you can take some type of action.

Get a professional in immediately. Carbon monoxide is a silent and odourless killer.

Excellent advice from Machine Elf.

False alarms are so common that I would be extremely surprised if authorities would break in to checks things out due to a reported alarm sounding, especially since they would have no way of knowing if it is a burglar or smoke alarm.

In more than ten years working at a 9-1-1 center I have had authorities forcibly enter a residence precisely one time for an alarm. And that was when an alarm company called in one of those medical alert “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” type alarms. Forcing entry was a last resort after all of our efforts to locate or contact the resident had failed. Of course as soon as they did make entry a neighbor came around to ask what was happening and was immediately able to put the authorities in touch with the resident by phone and they confirmed everything was ok. :smack:

For a report of an unknown alarm sounding we send the police to make checks. They will walk around the premise looking for signs of forced entry or other obviously visible problem. It they see flames or smell smoke they will call for fire services. But unless they can see someone who appears incapacitated through the window they aren’t breaking in. It’s not like they have some master key to silence alarms. If all seems ok but the alarm is still sounding the police just leave.

This is one area where the Internet of Things would be really useful!! Why did you stop using the Next products?

To the OP: Honestly, I wouldn’t sleep another night in the place without buying a new CO detector. A cheapie battery-powered one from Home Depot or whatever. Then if that shows it’s safe, get the hard-wired ones replaced.

The battery ones don’t last forever either; I left a very negative review on one once because it screamed “new battery” after a year, then after 2 months, then after 2 weeks…

Not to belabor the obvious but it’s the middle of May do you have a gas or oil fired burner? Was it working at the time to produce heat? If not I’d suspect a battery or sensor issue. Also from what I understand many of the less expensive CO detectors have limited sensor lifetimes and the entire units need to be replaced at intervals of 5-7 years not just the battery.

I didn’t. I’m not sure if you misread or I misspoke, but I didn’t mean (in that post) to give any impression that I don’t use or don’t like my Nest t-stat and smoke/CO detector.

We don’t have a furnace, we have a gas-powered hydronic heat and hot water system. It’s located in the garage, which is not covered by the smoke/CO alarm, with a fire door between it and the nearest alarm sensor. There is no air being forced into the rest of the house.

Thanks for the other suggestions. I am keeping windows open until this is resolved. I’ll call the fire department tomorrow (non-emergency is closed for today).

I’m also going to check the alarm to see if there is a CO digital display (I had no idea there might be).

I misread: you said “I had a really hard time pulling the trigger on the Nest Smoke/CO detector” and I took that to mean that you had them and got rid of them :).

I had the t-stat for quite a while and wanted the smoke/CO detector. It’s expensive and had I had a hard time convincing myself to buy it. The feature I mentioned above is what convinced me to get it.