While many people may still be trying to adjust to the hour of lost sleep from last weekend as a result of Daylight Savings Time, there’s one thing that homeowners shouldn’t be sleeping on—testing and replacing the batteries on their smoke detectors. It’s commonly known that this switch in time to gain and extra hour of daylight during this time of year aligns with a reminder to make the switch on the detector batteries. However, it’s not so common that people actually remember to do so.
There are many reasons why having a properly functioning smoke alarm can keep you and your loved ones safe, so we highly encourage taking the time out to test each detector in your house if you haven’t yet this year. According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of injuries and deaths that occur in the United States are a result of homes not having installed or working smoke alarms. A properly functioning smoke alarm is the best defense against harmful smoke and fire if something were to go horribly wrong in a home.
There are two main types of smoke alarms available on the market today. They are ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors. Because these smoke alarms detect fires in different ways, it is recommended that each home have both types of alarms to maximize safety and warning coverage. There are also some dual sensor alarms on the market that contain both ionization and photoelectric sensors in one. While a bit more expensive, these models maximize the alarm’s ability to detect all types of fires.
As many homeowners know, smoke alarms can be powered in one of two different ways. They are either powered completely by battery or hardwired into the home’s electrical system. If hardwired in, alarms have battery backups so they remain functional in the case of a power outage. Batteries that aren’t lithium powered should be tested and replaced at least once per year to ensure they are going to work properly in case of an emergency. Lithium batteries tend to last much longer, but should still be tested regularly. In fact, it is recommended that the batteries on all smoke alarms be tested monthly using the test button. Lithium batteries in these smoke detector models shouldn’t be replaced. Rather, the entire unit should be replaced. This may seem drastic, but these alarms tend to last for up to 10 years, making them worth the price.
Finally, make sure your smoke alarms are placed properly throughout your home to maximize their coverage and safety potential. At least one smoke alarm should be placed on each floor of your home, which includes the basement. Many fires originate from areas that aren’t normally inhabited, so it’s very important to have an alarm in those places as well in order to properly protect your loved ones.