With daylight savings time ending soon, it’s that time of year to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and test them. The National Fire Protection Association says 3/5 of home fire deaths are in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Furthermore, do you have enough smoke detectors in your home and are they placed properly? This is crucial regardless of whether you’ve been in your home for years or you’re buying a new home.
First, if your smoke alarms are at least 10 years old, replace them. If you don’t know how old they are, look at the back to see the date of manufacture. If you have combination smoke-carbon monoxide alarms, replace them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Where do smoke alarms go?
- Smoke alarms should be inside every bedroom as well as outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
- If you have a level without bedrooms, smoke alarms should be put on the ceiling at the bottom of the stars leading to the next level.
- All smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet from a cooking appliance so you don’t set off the alarm while cooking!
- Since smoke rises, smoke alarms should be high on walls or ceilings.
- If a ceiling is pitched, install the alarm within 3 feet of the peak but not within the apex of the peak.
- Don’t put smoke alarms near drafty areas, such as windows, doors, or ducts.
One thing to consider—interconnected smoke alarms offer the best protection. When one smoke alarm sounds they all do. Interconnection uses hard wiring or wireless technology, and this is where a good electrician comes in if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.
Lastly, when testing smoke alarms, immediately replace any smoke alarm that does not respond properly when tested. When replacing a battery, follow manufacturer’s list of batteries on the back of the alarm or manufacturer’s instructions.
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