Do I Need a Carbon Monoxide Detector?


The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a Carbon Monoxide (CO2) Detector on each floor of a residence.

We have a 2-story house, and do have a CO2 detector on each floor. We faithfully replace the batteries so were surprised when a very, VERY loud continuous alarm went off in our house this morning. The sound bounced off the walls and seemed to come at us from every direction. Because we also have a security system, we had to walk around the house checking all of the security zones, trying to determine where the alarm was coming from. This wasn’t a chirping sound, like when the batteries need to be replaced. This was an ALARM. And I did say LOUD alarm, right?

Before we could determine where the alarm was coming from, we received a call from our security company informing us that our CO2 Detector had been triggered and that the Fire Department was on its way.

Good information to know –  Our CO2 detector is combined with the security zone in our hall, so now we knew what to disable. Actually, if we had looked at the alarm panel, we would have been able to figure that out ourselves. In the moment though, it escaped our minds. Once the offending unit had been disabled, precious silence filled the air, although I had some residual ringing in my ears and the start of a major headache.

It was just a few minutes before there was a knock on our door. When we opened it, we were greeted by 3 firemen, ready to assist us with whatever help we needed.

After some investigation, it was determined that the batteries in our detector were not the recommended brand; and that, unfortunately, when other brands are used, the unit becomes unstable.

Who knew that our CO2 detector wanted us to use Panasonic, and only Panasonic, batteries? Well, I guess we would have if we had read the small print on the underside of the unit.

Panasonic batteries are being shipped to our house and they should arrive by tomorrow.

So, to my point, yes, having a CO2 detector on each floor of your house is recommended, but it’s also important to be sure you are using the correct, or recommended, battery brand, if there is one on your detector.

Have you checked yours?

On a side note:

We live on a mountain and our house is about 100+ yards from the street, with a steep and long driveway leading to the house. The previous owners built a garage on the property and were required to include a space large enough for a fire truck to turn around. That space is flat and so many times I have lamented the fact that we cannot put anything permanent in that spot – like a storage shed for all of my “found treasures” or extra space for my woodworking tools. So today, what happens?  The fire truck is parked on the street because the firemen aren’t sure they can get down the driveway and have the ability to turn around.

I don’t know if I should just go ahead and put up that shed I want so badly, or if I should put a sign near the entrance to our driveway:  “Firetruck Friendly.”


(I know the distance from the house to the street doesn’t look far in this photo, nor does the driveway seem steep, but if you look at the stance of the firemen walking, leaning forward to walk, you can tell that it, is a climb up that driveway.)



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Comments (10)

  1. dbruihler

    Learned something today. Thanks for sharing!

    April 19, 2024 at 5:54 am
  2. linda.ireland

    Thank goodness it was only the batteries! Lesson learned: always read the fine print. Now, if only I could get my husband to read ANY instructions.

    April 19, 2024 at 5:57 am
  3. gypsymonkeyscrap

    It’s always better to be safe than sorry. After we went through the 12-20-23 and 1-1-24 earthquakes, part of the requirement to get the yellow tags off of our house was to make sure we had a certain we had a certain amount of smoke detectors and CO2 detectors throughout. I ended up getting combo ones (six to be exact) that have built in 10-yr batteries. Later found out that since we are a manufactured home and not a “stick house” that we fall under different guidelines and don’t need as many. Hind sight… Then again, better safe than sorry. I’m glad you your alarm was a false alarm and also glad that you have the space should an emergency vehicle need it, specially living where you do. 🙂

    April 19, 2024 at 7:19 am
    • I agree with you. It’s definitely better to be safe, and with 6 units you’ve got that covered. It’s great that your batteries have a 10-year life span!

      April 19, 2024 at 7:24 am
  4. glee storm

    OMG; ours has woken us up before w a loud “EVACUATE EVACUATE!” I wonder if it’s a battery issue, too? Gotta check that out. Who knew?

    April 19, 2024 at 4:51 pm
  5. alyciasmith44

    We had a similar incident with our carbon monoxide detector a few years ago. The fire fighters were very helpful and did determine that the battery was bad. They suggested checking the battery first if the alarm went off again before calling someone. I think they must have had more than a few calls like ours. We have a ranch home (one level) so have a carbon monoxide detector near our bedrooms plus smoke detectors there & in the family room at the other end of the house. My dad was a fire fighter so we got in the habit of changing the detector batteries in the fall during October, Fire Prevention Month. Definitely better to be safe. Some of our friends had a problem with the design of their house that caused carbon monoxide to be funneled back into the home instead of being vented out as it should have been. The entire family including their dog spent a day in a hyperbaric oxygen unit at the hospital recovering. Their builder had to address the problem before they could safely return home. In our area our streets are narrow and if cars park on both sides, a fire truck can’t get through. So when we had a small electrical fire start in our garage, after calling 911, I ran out to the street to make sure I didn’t need to have the neighbors move their vehicles. Thankfully the street was clear! Not sure how your dog reacted, but we discovered that ours hated the alarm noise. We had to catch her right away or she’d run behind the couch where it was hard to get her out to evacuate the house. When we had our small fire, I grabbed her & my purse, put them in the van and moved it out of the garage to the street away from the house. She was fine there while the fire fighters took care of things. It’s scary, but thankfully things turned out well in your case and in ours!

    April 19, 2024 at 10:49 pm
    • Wow! You had quite the experience. Good thinking on your part to make sure the street was clear too. Your neighbor was very lucky. Although a day in a hyperbaric oxygen unit is traumatic, it could have been much worse, as you know. I was holding our dog, so she was okay. She’s extremely protective of me and I knew she would not be happy that 3 big scary men were coming into the house. 🙂

      April 20, 2024 at 6:35 am
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