Safety is a big priority, which means every home needs a functioning smoke and co detector. Maintaining your home can be overwhelming to the point that it’s easy to forget about your detectors in the first place, but like any appliance, they too need routine maintenance. House fires can be devastating, causing a great deal of property damage and putting you and your household at risk. Some easy maintenance ensures your smoke and co detectors do their job and keep you safe.
How to Ensure Your Detectors Work
Unlike other major appliances, smoke and co detectors have a shorter shelf life, smoke detectors generally lasting 10 years and co detectors lasting five. Like any other appliance, however, your detectors can be a little unpredictable and break down early. A well functioning detector needs more than just a new pair of batteries, but routine cleaning and care. To stay safe inside the comfort of your home, here are five easy maintenance tips for your smoke and co detectors.
- Replace batteries annually. Instead of waiting for that annoying chirp, it’s best to keep track of when you replaced the batteries and act accordingly. Pick a date once a year to go throughout your home and replace the batteries for each detector. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
- Test your detectors. The best way to ensure your detectors work as they should is by routinely testing them. Co detectors, which test for carbon monoxide, should be tested weekly, especially since the gas is odorless, colorless, and can be fatal to breathe in. Smoke detectors can be tested once a month. Both detectors have a test button used for basic testing to ensure they’re responsive.
- Make sure your detectors are in the right location. Something you may not have considered is where your detectors are located. A detector should be in each bedroom, enclosed area, and separate floor, but they also only function properly in certain conditions. Make sure to keep all smoke detectors at least 10 feet from any cooking appliances, as that can cause false alarms. Placing a smoke detector near any windows, doors, or ducts can decrease how effective they are. Co detectors are even touchier than smoke detectors and should be kept away from any heat source, dust, humidity, and extreme cold or hot temperatures.
- Keep your detectors clean of debris. Dirty detectors can cause false alarms, which is why it’s important to clean the inside and outside of each detector when you change the batteries. You can clean the inside of the detector of dust and debris by using either an air compressor or vacuum hose. The outside of the detector can be cleaned with a damp cloth. A clean detector guarantees it will only go off when it’s supposed to and spares you the trouble of stressful false alarms.
- Look into false alarms. A false alarm can be caused by a variety of reasons. If a detector starts to go off constantly, don’t just replace it, it’s time to investigate. A detector that frequently goes off could simply be a matter of a bad location, such as being too close to the kitchen or bathroom. The batteries inside may have become loose or are in need of replacement. The detector could also just be a little dusty. If however, none of these solutions solves the constant chirping, it’s time to replace your detector.