Homeowners love to hate the chirp that smoke detectors emit when the batteries get low. We know these alarms can and do save lives, so we all enjoy the joke—until it isn’t funny anymore. One study found that three out of every five home fire deaths happen in homes with either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.* Don’t become part of that statistic: Make sure your smoke alarms are working with these tips.
Dual Duty & Destinations
Did you know there are combination smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors? Save some ceiling space by installing one life-saving device that detects both. Install at least one on every floor of your home, preferably adding one to each bedroom as well.
Give it Room to Breath
Did you know that corners where walls or ceilings come together create air pockets that can press smoke away? This prevents your alarm from sensing it. Install your Smoke Detectors at least 4 inches away from any cornered area. The best location is in the center of flat ceilings, or at least 4 inches from the cross section of a peaked one. If you must place your detector on a wall, make sure it is at least 4 inches from the ceiling to avoid the air pocket.
Just remember this sequence: 1-2-10. Test your smoke detectors every month (1), change the batteries twice a year (2)—even if they aren’t chirping—and replace the detectors every 10 years.
A handy rule of thumb is to change the batteries when Daylight Saving Time rolls around—Today! Isn’t that convenient?—so it’s easy to remember when you changed them last. This is also a good time to vacuum away any excess dust that has built up, which can hinder detection. Lastly, if you’re painting the wall or ceiling your detector is installed on, DO NOT paint the detector with it—the paint will block its sensors and render it useless.
Be safe, and don’t forget to Spring Forward your clocks!
*National Fire Protection Association; Based on a study conducted from 2009-2013; www.nfpa.org