Do your smoke detectors need to be replaced?
According to the National Fire Protection Association, you should replace your smoke detector every ten years. Unfortunately, unlike the loud chirping, you hear when the batteries need replacing the smoke detector offers no signal that the lifespan has come to an end. It pays to check the manufacturers’ date on the unit and make note of when the ten-year mark has come. To find this information remove the smoke detector from the ceiling, look on the back of the device and check the date. Most homeowners are not aware that the entire device should be changed every ten-years.
What are the various types of smoke detectors?
The two main types of smoke detectors are battery-powered and hardwired. Battery-powered units are susceptible to battery life. It is critical for these devices to be tested on a monthly basis to assure that they are operational. The hardwired variety is supplied power through the electric in your home and can also include back-up batteries. The batteries allow it to work during a power outage. A good practice is for you to test the batteries in these units assuring that they too are working properly.
How to maintain smoke alarms?
The U.S. Fire Administration recommends that smoke detectors be tested monthly and that batteries should be changed twice a year. A great way to be reminded to do this all-important task is to change your smoke detector batteries when you change your clocks during daylight savings. Even if the battery is operating during these two check-in times change them anyway. Batteries die and when it comes to your family’s safety these early warning devices could give you time to evacuate during a fire.
Often your smoke detectors will emit a loud chirp when the batteries are wearing down. This is a great warning and they should be changed immediately. It is recommended that when one set of batteries wear down the batteries in all of your smoke detectors should be changed. This is especially important for units that are powered by 9-volt batteries. Smoke detectors draw a low amount of battery power until they sound off. To make sure the alarm is loud when sounding the batteries need to be strong. Should a fire start while the family is sleeping you will want the alarm to SCREAM at you. Working batteries that are not fresh may not have enough power to sound loud.
On the market today some devices have ten-year lithium-powered batteries that you will not need to replace. At the end of the ten years, the entire unit should be replaced.
Safety for your family
The National Fire Protection Association states that having working smoke detectors in your home can cut in half your risk of dying in a home fire. Consumers are advised to install one in every bedroom and outside each separate sleeping area. Also, every level of a home should include a smoke detector even in the basement. It is of the utmost importance to install the units in the right places throughout your home so that the alarms can be heard loud and clear.
For the best protection for your family have smoke detectors interconnected. The interconnected alarms can alert your family quickly no matter where they are in the home because when one sounds all of the alarms sound. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths happen in homes where the smoke alarms are not working or the home doesn’t have smoke alarms.
So the rule of thumb is to test your batteries monthly and change them twice a year at daylight savings time. Additionally, check the manufacturers’ date on the unit and set a reminder to replace the entire unit at the ten-year expiration date. Keep your home safe and especially your family in case of fire.