Tech Talk

Since When Do Carbon Monoxide/ Smoke Detectors Reach the “End of their Life?”


It is 7:00 am on a Sunday, and why am I awake and writing on this blog?

Oh, it’s because half an hour ago, the carbon monoxide detector in my house started making a terrifying shrieking noise every couple of minutes, which woke up the dog, who then climbed on top of me to get me to make it stop.

Here’s what I did to try to “adult” my way through this problem.  And by “adult” I mean that I tried to actually figure out why it was making that noise and address it, rather than just smashing it and going back to bed, because it is freaking early and it is freaking Sunday.

Side note, the dog has still not calmed down, so this would probably not have been possible anyway, especially if you factor in the noise and destruction from the smashing.  She really does not appreciate it when I solve problems with violence.

Anyhow, the first directive is to stop the noise, because the dog is upset and I can’t have that.   This alarm is also going to wake up everybody else in the house, which is going to destroy my chances of possibly getting more  Sunday sleep and put me in an even worse mood. Also, what if the alarm is actually trying to indicate something is wrong?  As an adult, this is something I should probably try to keep in mind.   So, early on a Sunday, I am standing in the hallway with a step ladder at the ready, to try to figure out which device is making that noise.

Or, do I let the dog out to pee first, since she is a nervous wreck?

The noise starts again.   The pee will have to wait.  That shit is LOUD.

The next step is to set the step ladder up in the vicinity of the noise and stand on it, waiting for one of the electronic devices in the hallway to blare in my face so I can see what it is trying to tell me.

Cool.  Carbon monoxide detector.    That’s not panic-inducing.   Luckily, this particular carbon monoxide detector is located right next to what appears to be a combination fire alarm/ carbon monoxide detector (which is not going off), so I can reasonably assume that this is a battery problem and not feel like I have to immediately evacuate my house and try to solve an even BIGGER problem at ass o’clock on a Sunday.   Who do you even call for a carbon monoxide problem?   What system in my house would CAUSE a carbon monoxide problem?

Really, there is so much I don’t know.  Adulthood is such a crapshoot sometimes, isn’t it?

ok, batteries are out, noise has stopped.  Let dog out to pee, try to assess whether she is going to calm down on her own or if I need to give her some anti-anxiety medication to take the edge off.

She’s a border collie.  Don’t come for me.

Next– Google the name/ type of carbon monoxide detector so I can attempt to decipher what “5 beeps” means.   Is the other carbon monoxide detector wrong?   IS there a carbon monoxide related emergency?  Does this thing just need batteries?  Why do all of the electronic devices in my home seem to fail at 7:00 am on a Sunday morning?

Google is probably not going to give me the answer to that last question.

Five beeps.

“The device has reached the end of its life.”


How is it that I have been alive for 48 years and I am only just starting to hear about this “device is at the end of its life” thing right now?  This sounds like a complete gimmick that was just rolled out by the clever, opportunistic marketing department of the device company.   I bet the smoke detector from the house where I grew up is still there, still in its same place, still chewing through 9Volt batteries with a vengeance.

ELECTRONIC DEVICES WITH EXPIRATION DATES?!   Come on.  This just seems like such a lawyer-driven, capitalistic ploy to me.

And with that in mind, go and replace your smoke/ carbon monoxide detector, I guess.