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Electrical  /  August 10, 2022

5 Tips for Maintaining Your Smoke Detectors

Smoke alarm maintenance

It is easy to take smoke detectors for granted. However, malfunctioning detectors could cost you your life if they fail to go off when there is a fire. You should maintain the smoke detectors in your home regularly, and if there is a problem that you cannot resolve on your own, you should call electrical repair services to check them out. Here are some tips for keeping your detectors in good working order.

1. Know the Age of Your Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors don’t last forever. They should be replaced approximately every 10 years. If you do not know how old your smoke detectors are, you should replace them to be on the safe side. Newer smoke detectors send out warning sounds to let you know that they are nearing the end of their useful lives. However, older smoke detectors don’t have this safety feature, so don’t assume that just because your smoke detector isn’t making any noise it is still working.

2. Test Smoke Detectors Monthly

Testing smoke detectors allow you to identify any problems with them before an emergency situation arises. You should carry out a routine test once a month. The smoke detector should come equipped with a test button. Press down and hold this for up to five seconds. If the alarm sounds, you know the device is working.

3. Change Smoke Detector Batteries at Least Once a Year

Some smoke detectors run exclusively on batteries, and electrical smoke detectors typically have a battery backup in case of a fire that happens during a power outage. Most newer smoke detectors start chirping when the batteries are wearing out; this follows a different sound pattern than the warning that the detector is wearing out.

The chirping lets you know that the battery needs changing right away, but you do not need to wait for the chirp before changing the battery. If you change the batteries in your smoke detectors on an annual basis, you can relax knowing that they are working and you never have to hear that annoying chirping sound. Choose a date for changing the batteries that you will remember; many people choose the date that they change the clocks for daylight savings time.

4. Keep Smoke Detectors Clean

Smoke detectors can collect dust, but if the dust gets inside them, a false alarm can result. Smoke detectors should come with cleaning instructions, but generally speaking, you can clean the outside of the detector with a damp cloth and the inside using a vacuum hose. This may require removing the detector from the wall. Cleaning the detectors can be done when you change the batteries.

5. Don’t Disable Your Smoke Detectors; Investigate False Alarms

If your smoke detectors give false alarms, you might be tempted to disable them temporarily. However, it is all too easy to forget to turn them back on. Your smoke detector may be off for weeks or, depending on how often you test it, months without you realizing it, and if a fire occurs during that time, it is unable to protect you.

Instead of disabling smoke detectors or removing their batteries, try to figure out what is causing the false alarms. It could be that the detector is dirty and needs cleaning. It could also be that the detector is installed where steam from the kitchen or bathroom could set it off. Relocating battery-powered smoke detectors isn’t too difficult, but relocating an electrical smoke detector requires the help of a professional.

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Whether you need help maintaining smoke detectors, more general electrical services, or basement renovations in Victoria, Handyman Connection offers a wide variety of services. Find out more about how we can help you with home projects.

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