I have a Kidde model KN-COB-B battery-powered carbon monoxide
detector that I bought in January, 2006. The manual says that the
life of the detector is 7 years from first use, and that it will
begin generating an alarm beep every 30 minutes when it reaches 7
years of life.
However, I only use the detector during furnace season - about 6
months of the year - and take the batteries out the rest of the
year. So I'm wondering if the lifespan is a function of the total
time it is actually running, or just the passage of time.
What component in a CO detector would have a limited lifespan?
Would such a component's lifespan be a function the total time it
is on and running, or just the passage of time whether running or
I assume the device itself calculates total time while it is
running, so it can't know how much time has actually passed in my
case - unless it has a lithium battery built in, or a WWV receiver.
No evidence of either.
Seven years is about the life of lithium batteries.
The sensor may also accumulate filth.
I bought an ac detector, and after not installing it, something made me
throw it away after it was well past expiration date. Not sure if that was
the right move.
Some of the chemical type sensors just go bad with time. I think I had a
plug in model that used heated element, 10 year life.
I opened the garage door once while testing an onan generator near the
garage. Didnt take long for sensor to sound. Generator rally was stinky.
It happened to me. Same brand CO detector started beeping at intervals
non-stop. I thought battery needed repacing but new battery did the same
thing then I realized it's time was up. My wild guess is the sensitivity
of sensor decreases over time.
The CO detectors include a device on the circuit board that migrates a
material from one electrode to the second electrode when a voltage is
applied. The active life of this device set when it is manufactured for
about 7 years. This is also the average active life of the CO detector
So, a continuously used detector will know when 7 years has elapsed and
begin to beep. When used only part of a year, the CO detector will most
likely quit working, but you will not know it until it's too late.
The first home CO detectors used to tell you all this in the
instructions. The ones I had to buy 2 years ago didn't.
So, to answer directly, once activated, the detecting device begins to
deteriorate, no matter what you do.
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