All homes with fireplaces and other heating appliances should be equipped with working smoke detectors. These small electronic devices are inexpensive and easy to install. In addition, they can help save you and your family’s lives in the event of an emergency.
Testing Your Smoke Alarms
Unfortunately, many homeowners simply assume their smoke detectors are still working the way they should instead of testing them regularly. If you can’t remember the last time you tested your smoke detectors. Also, changed their batteries or purchased modern replacements. It’s time to replace your smoke detectors!
The following four steps can help you quickly and easily test your smoke detectors:
- Count your smoke detectors. Do you know where all the smoke detectors are in your home? Many of us know the general areas of a home the smoke detectors are in, but do not know their specific locations. All homes should have at least one smoke detector on every level, including directly outside or in sleeping areas. Other recommended locations include at the top or bottom of stairways, near fireplaces and furnaces, and in attics, crawlspaces, garages, and basements.
- Identify the type of smoke detectors you have. There are two kinds of smoke detectors: battery operated and AC powered. Battery operated units are inexpensive and can be easily installed anywhere in your home; however, the batteries must be regularly tested and replaced in order to operate safely. AC powered units are often wired directly into a home’s electrical panel in addition to a backup battery in the event of a power loss. Often found in newer or updated homes, these can be difficult to move or replace due to the wiring and damage to walls they cause.
- Test the batteries. All smoke detectors, regardless of type, have a test button that will cause the alarm to sound when pressed. Most will also have a blinking or solid light to indicate that the detector is receiving power. Using a small step ladder and a broom handle or other implement, quickly press the test button to ensure the detector is working and the batteries have not died; while most battery operated units will “chirp” under lower power, some AC powered units do not. Alarms should be tested at least every six months, replacing batteries as needed.
- Replace dated smoke detectors. Technology has come a long way in the last 5-10 years; if your home has older smoke detectors, you may not be protecting your family with the latest advancements in safety and technology. In order to stay current with technology and industry standards, the entire alarm system should be replaced at least every 10 years.
Regularly testing and maintaining your smoke detectors may seem like an unimportant and repetitive task, but it is an incredibly important way to keep your family safe day and night. For more information about proper smoke detector usage and other fire safety tips, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today!