How to troubleshoot a nighthawk carbon monoxide detector

Updated February 21, 2017

Because carbon monoxide is invisible, odourless and tasteless, the only way to detect its presence is with a properly functioning carbon monoxide detector. If your Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector keeps sounding, it may well be because CO levels are too high. What appears on the surface to be a false alarm, may well not be the case.

Call a technician to check all your fuel-burning equipment. If a qualified technician determines there is no CO emission source and that all your fuel-burning equipment is working normally, then there's a problem with the Nighthawk.

Check yo make sure that the location of the alarm is suitable. The sensor is sensitive. Don't place the alarm within five feet of a heating or cooking appliance. Kidde recommends a distance of fifteen feet, if possible. Don't install the device in kitchens, garages or furnace rooms: This can expose the device to substances that could damage or contaminate it. Don't install the device near vents, flues or chimneys. Don't obstruct the vents on the alarm. Don't place the alarm where furniture or other objects block the flow of air to the vents.

Check the light emitting diode (LED) flashes. If the device is flashing anything other than a green flash every thirty seconds, then it's trying to tell you something. A red flash every thirty seconds, accompanied by a beep, indicates a low battery: Replace the batteries.

Check the LED again. If the red light continues to flash and beep every thirty seconds continues after you've replaced the battery, then junk the unit.

A solid red light indicates the device has failed and should be replaced.

Maintain the unit. Vacuum the alarm cover once a month to remove dust.

Replace the unit if you've had it for seven years or longer and the device beeps every 30 seconds. It's telling you it has reached the end of its life.


If the alarm goes off, you should immediately move to fresh air (get outdoors or open a window.) Do a headcount for known occupants of the home and call emergency services.


Remember that the device is a detector and it does not prevent CO from building up: It just warns you of its presence. The device won't measure CO when it's in an error condition.

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About the Author

Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication "Producer Report" and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School.