Smoke detectors are the oft-forgotten, but ever-important protectors of our homes and families. That’s why it’s crucial to make sure it’s in tip-top condition at all times. But how exactly do you test and maintain your smoke detector?
Here are 5 quick ways to make sure your house is safe from fire hazards all year round:
The Complete Guide to Testing & Maintaining Your Smoke Detector
If you’re having issues with reaching or testing your smoke detector safely, call our experienced handyman services to handle the job.
1. Test Your Battery Monthly
The US Fire Administration recommends testing your smoke alarms at least once a month. Simply press and hold the test button down for several seconds. If it sounds the alarm loudly, it is working properly. But if the sound is weak or it doesn’t work, you’ll need to either switch the batteries or replace the alarm entirely.
2. Change the Batteries, If Needed
Most smoke alarm batteries should be changed regularly – but how often depends on the type of battery it has.
9-volt alkaline batteries and AA batteries should be changed at least once or twice a year – it’s widely recommended to get in the habit of doing this each time the clocks change for Daylight Savings Time.
Lithium batteries are designed to last around 10 years, much longer than other battery types. Since smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years or so, you’ll likely never need to change a lithium battery, as long as the alarm works for each of your monthly tests.
Pro-Tip: Avoid using rechargeable batteries in smoke detectors. While they may seem like the more sensible option, they tend to lose their charge faster than regular batteries, which will require you to change the batteries even more frequently.
3. Check Your Hardwired Smoke Detectors Too
If you have a hardwired smoke detector in your home, you should still test the backup battery as well. All hardwired alarms come with a backup battery in case the power goes out or there’s a problem with the connection, so it’s important to test and change these batteries as needed too.
4. Wipe Off Dirt and Dust
Dust, grime and other airborne buildup can make it difficult for your smoke detector to sense smoke and heat properly. Make sure your alarm is clean by wiping it down with a damp cloth or vacuuming the surface with a soft brush attachment once a year.
5. Replace Old Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors should be replaced at least every 10 years to ensure that your home is thoroughly protected from fire hazards. If you’re not sure how old your smoke detectors are, it’s easy to check.
Look on the back of the alarm; there, you’ll find the manufacturer’s date. If your alarm was manufactured more than 10 years ago, you should replace it.
Need help with smoke detector maintenance? Give us a call
Can’t reach your smoke alarms? Handyman Connection is your top-rated, local general handyman service provider, and we’re happy to help you test, clean and change smoke detector batteries to keep your home safe. Our experts can even help install brand new smoke alarm systems, if you’re looking for a major safety upgrade. To get in touch, call 1-800-88-HANDY today.