Smoke detectors are a critical life saving device in all homes. These small inconspicuous tools provide early warnings in the event of a fire, but when was the last time you tested your smoke detectors or changed the batteries? Don’t put off this quick and simple maintenance any more.
The U.S. Fire Administration recommends changing the batteries in your smoke detectors every six months. An easy way to remember this task is to change out the batteries when the time changes each fall and spring. When it’s time to “spring forward” on your clocks this year (March 11, 2018), replace the batteries in the smoke detectors throughout your home.
In addition to changing the batteries every six months, you should also test your smoke detectors each month to ensure they are working properly. Whether you have battery-powered or hardwired detectors, regular testing is crucial to protecting your family. Follow these three easy steps to test your system.
- Alert family members that you are testing the alarms. The high-pitch alarm could frighten small children or pets if they aren’t prepared for it.
- Station someone at the furthest point away from the smoke detector so you can ensure the sound is reaching all areas of your home.
- All smoke detectors have a small test button on them. Press and hold the button to ensure the detector is producing a strong alarm. If it doesn’t make sound or it is weak, change the batteries immediately.
You should also test the system’s smoke detecting ability by lighting a few matches near the detector or using a smoke detector test aerosol spray. You can find these test kits at your local hardware store.
Smoke Detector Placement
It is important to make sure you have detectors installed throughout your home for maximum protection. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends placing a smoke alarm inside each bedroom and all corridors around bedrooms. You should also have alarms on all levels of your home including the basement.
To learn more about proper smoke detector installation, maintenance and testing, visit the U.S. Fire Administration website.