Smoke Alarm Safety

An important step in protecting your home and keeping your family safe is making sure your smoke alarms are properly working. If you built your home today, current codes in North Carolina require smoke alarms in each sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area near the bedrooms, and on each story of the home, including the basement. If you have a larger home, you may need additional smoke alarms.

Current standards also require that all smoke detectors are interconnected and hardwired. With a hard wired connected system, the activation of one alarm will active all alarms in the home. Each smoke alarm should have a backup power source in case of power interruption.

smoke detector

Maintaining And Replacing Smoke Detectors

Proper maintenance and replacement of your home’s alarms can reduce the risk for smoke alarm failure. Check each smoke detector monthly by pressing the test button on the outside of the case. If your alarm has replaceable batteries, the battery should be replaced once a year. Alarms with non-replaceable 10-year batteries are designed to remain effective up to 10 years. If the alarm with the 10 year battery chirps it is warning that the battery is low. In this case, you should replace the entire unit right away.

When doing home improvement projects, you should never paint, sticker, or decorate the alarm. This could keep the smoke detector from working.

Is It Time To Replace Your Smoke Alarm?

Smoke alarms have a limited life span. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that every alarm in your home be replaced after 10 years.  Not sure how old your smoke detector is? Remove the alarm from the ceiling and look on the back of the device for the manufacture date. If it is less than 10 years old and works properly during monthly tests, it’s ok to keep the alarm.

Alarms over 10 years old or alarms that don't work properly during a test (and new batteries do not correct the situation) then it is time to replace the alarm immediately. In older homes you may also want to consider adding additional smoke alarms to meet the current requirements. An electrician can ensure that any new alarms you install are hard wired and work properly with the rest of your smoke alarm system.

Electrical Home Inspections


Ensure whole house comfort and peace of mind with an extended coverage plan from Central Carolina Air Conditioning. When you add whole house coverage to your Policy of Assurance you will receive on plumbing and one electrical inspection each year to ensure your plumbing and electrical systems are working properly.

Light bulbs keep burning out? Here’s why.

Not only is it frustrating, but even worse, in some cases, it can mean there’s a fire hazard. Finding out why your light bulbs keep burning out too soon is crucial.

How long should bulbs last?

Incandescent bulbs should last for about a thousand hours. Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs and LEDs (light-emitting diode) typically last much longer – about 10 thousand usage hours for CFLs and 25 thousand hours for LEDs. Still, if your bulb is burning out before it should, it’s time to find out why.

Why do my light bulbs keep burning out too soon?

There are many possible reasons, here are the main ones:Light bulb that is not working

  1. You may be using the wrong type of light bulb in a certain fixture.
  2. A bulb may be loose or incorrectly connected.
  3. The bulb’s power supply voltage may be too high.
  4. The dimmer switch may require a different bulb.
  5. Recessed lighting may be causing overheating in the insulation about it.
  6. Filaments in the bulb could be broken due to excessive vibrations.

Wrong bulb type

If a lamp is rated for 40 watts, placing a 1o0-watt bulb in the fixture creates excess heat. This can shorten the bulb’s life, and possibly even cause a fire to start. Always make sure the bulb’s wattage is not more than the fixture’s wattage recommendation. Another possible problem is that the bulb is not right for its location. LED bulbs are better to light fixtures that have frequent on/off usage throughout the day, but CFLs are not.

Loose bulbs

You may notice a bulb flickering if it is loose. Check to make sure that the bulb is correctly connected into the socket and if it’s loose, turn it until it’s snug. Ideally, the fixture’s tab and the bulb solder should be roughly the same size. This will create a good connection between them. If they are not, try switching light bulb brands.

Wrong power supply voltage

In the United States, 120-volt electrical outlets are standard in homes. Be sure that the light is connected to a standard outlet. If it is, use a multimeter to check if the reading is more than 120 volts. If you are having electrical supply issues, contact a licensed electrician right away.

Dimmer switch with incompatible bulb

Using CFL or LED bulbs can damage the bulb or circuitry in an older dimmer switch. Those were made to be used with incandescent bulbs. Be sure your dimmer switch and light bulb are compatible.

Recessed lighting overheating

“Can lights” hang inside the ceiling. Newer models may be designed to be in contact with insulation (IC-rated) and not cause any problems with overheating, but older recessed lighting fixtures can overheat. If they are not, this situation poses a fire risk. Be sure to install IC-rated fixtures so that they don’t overheat insulation.

Broken bulbs due to vibration

Excessive vibrations like ceiling fans or automatic garage doors can crack or prematurely cause incandescent bulbs to burn out. If the problem bulb is near an entrance, in a ceiling near heavy upstairs foot traffic, or in other places where there are vibrations you may want to switch to an LED bulb. They are better designed to handle vibrations.

If you’re concerned about your home’s electrical system, call Central Carolina Air Conditioning, Plumbing, & Electrical at 800.461.3010.