Air fryer carbon monoxide - Family Guide Central

Can an Air Fryer Set Off my Carbon Monoxide Alarm? (Fully Answered!)

Have you ever had the situation where you opened an air fryer and a few seconds later your carbon monoxide alarm would set off?

Should you be worried or is this some type of false alarm?

A properly used air fryer would typically not set off a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced when fuel, oil, coal, and wood are burned inside a closed space. The burning of the substances can typically lead to the buildup of carbon monoxide.

Unless you’ve placed a ton of coal or wood inside your air fryer for whatever reason and decided to cook it while keeping all your doors closed, I do not see why you would ever run into the issue of a carbon monoxide alarm setting off.

But, let’s try to understand how carbon monoxide alarms work and why something like this happened.

What causes a carbon monoxide alarm to go off?

Carbon monoxide detectors usually work by sensing a certain amount of carbon monoxide over time in the environment.

As carbon monoxide travels throughout the air, it is picked up by a biomimetic sensor which changes color and triggers the alarm.

Other machines have something called a metal oxide semiconductor which uses electrical resistance to trigger alarms after it has detected carbon monoxide.

There are also electrochemical sensors that contain a solution that changes the electric currents when it makes contact with carbon monoxide. This change also triggers the alarm.

If you happen to be done with an air fryer, once you take the tray out, you’ll sometimes find a brush of hot smoke engulfing the air.

CO LevelsAlarm Response Time
70 PPM1 to 4 hours
150 PPM10 to 50 minutes
400 PPM5- 15 minutes
This table shows how CO detectors are instructed to set off based on levels and delayed response

Carbon monoxide levels are usually measured in parts per million or PPM. The lower the number, the less carbon monoxide exists in the environment.

The carbon monoxide detectors work based on determining the carbon monoxide level compared to the alarm response time.

How would an air fryer set off a carbon monoxide alarm?

Does air-frying food create carbon monoxide? The answer is typically no. The only way for carbon monoxide to build up is if your air fryer was burning the food. If your air fryer ends up charring the food, there will be minute amounts of carbon monoxide produced in the 

Burning food can create smoke and carbon monoxide.

In fact, one of the most common producers of carbon monoxide in any household is burnt toast.

I don’t see how an air fryer may potentially cause a carbon monoxide detector to go off, however, if someone had placed their food into the machine and neglected it, it is very much possible that the alarm will sound.

The carbon monoxide detectors are different from traditional smoke alarms because they are usually called time-weighted alarms. What this means is that the detector will wait up to a certain amount of time if it is consistently detecting a certain amount of carbon monoxide in the air.

If a typical air fryer were to set off a carbon monoxide alarm, then I would imagine that the user had set up the air fryer on an extremely long slow cook, if that is even possible with a device of that model.

What is carbon monoxide and why is it dangerous?

Carbon monoxide, typically known as CO, is a gas that usually has no smell or color.

The most common cause of producing carbon monoxide is when someone incompletely burns combustible fuels.

If any human or animal is left inside a closed space and exposed to nothing but CO gas, it will likely be fatal.

In fact, in normal situations, oxygen from the environment would bond to red blood cells and would be delivered throughout the veins and vessels throughout the body.

However, CO has a higher affinity (250 times more) for red blood cells than oxygen. This causes CO to displace oxygen, and instead of delivering oxygen throughout, it would deliver CO to the entire body.

Danger LevelsCarbon Monoxide PPM
Low<50 PPM
Mid51 – 100 PPM
High>101 PPM (if no one is showing symptoms)
Dangerous>101 PPM (if someone is showing symptoms)
This table shows approximately the danger levels vs the concentration of CO in the air measured in parts per million (PPM)

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when CO begins to build up throughout your blood. Without oxygen to properly restore your muscles to their stable state, muscle and tissue damage is likely to occur. If someone is exposed to this for a long period of time, then it will be fatal.

How to turn off your carbon monoxide alarm

Whether it is a false alarm, or something of an emergency, after everything is set and done, you’re going to want to turn off the alarm.

Unfortunately, the alarm will continue to ring for several hours unless there is some external force in turning it off.

  1. Get a tall ladder to reach the CO alarm.
  2. Holding the silence button for 5 seconds.
  3. The detector must also have fresh air and extra time to get rid of the contaminated CO off the sensor.

How to test your carbon monoxide alarm

Most, if not all carbon monoxide detectors will have a simple test button out in the open of their body.

To test a carbon monoxide detector, you simply:

  1. Enter test mode by holding down the test button while listening for two beeps.
  2. Repeat step one, but this time listen for four beeps.
  3. After 15 minutes, the CO detector will go back into normal mode.

If you end up hearing the first two beeps, and then the second four beeps, then your carbon monoxide detector is in good shape and ready to go.

The bottom line

If you’ve experienced your carbon monoxide detector setting off while using the air fryer, it’s possible that this was just a one-off fluke.

Air fryers aren’t usually known to inadvertently produce carbon monoxide in any case. Heating devices do produce carbon monoxide. However, with an air fryer, the amount of CO made is so minute, it could even be considered negligible.

Unless you are cooking coal or fuel products or severely burning your food in your air fryer, you’ll probably not have to worry about carbon monoxide alarms.


Can the smoke coming from an air fryer set off a carbon monoxide alarm?

Usually no. You’ll sometimes see smoke coming from an air fryer, but that’s mostly just steam being released after cooking. Carbon monoxide detectors are extremely sensitive to carbon monoxide. It’s only produced when the food you’re cooking is actually burned for a long period of time.

How come it takes so long for my carbon monoxide detector to alarm?

Carbon monoxide detectors don’t work the same way as a typical smoke alarm. Carbon monoxide exists everywhere but it’s only dangerous in large quantities. Carbon monoxide detectors work by picking up small quantities measured in parts per million based on how long the quantity stays in the room. So it’s programmed to where if there’s a consistently small trace of CO in the air, it will take longer to set off vs a large amount of CO in the air, which will cause it to alarm much sooner. See chart in “What causes a carbon monoxide alarm to go off?”

What are the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

If you’re feeling ill and believe it might be due to carbon monoxide poisoning, you need to know what symptoms it can produce. You may be experiencing symptoms of:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Convulsions
  • Loss of consciousness

What’s the poison control number?

It’s called the National Poison Control Center and you can reach them at 1-800-222-1222. They are open every single day, all day.

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