Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential pieces of safety equipment for every home. The problem is that many homeowners just seem to install them and then forget about them. They believe that once they are installed, as long as they change the batteries they are going to keep them safe but this isn’t quite true and those thoughts could prove fatal.
A large percentage of all home fires could have been prevented. In 3 out of 5 home fires, the homeowners either didn’t have smoke detectors installed, or they had them installed but they weren’t working correctly.
Carbon monoxide is equally, if not more dangerous for homeowners and causes thousands of deaths worldwide every year. Again, many of those deaths could have been prevented with the use of properly functioning carbon monoxide detectors.
You must understand that you cannot simply install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and then forget about them. There are reasons that they come with a ‘test‘ button, use it!
Make Sure the Batteries are Working
It doesn’t matter if you have a budget friendly detector or have gone for a more expensive digital one, you must regularly check that the batteries are working and if they start to beep, replace them immediately.
How Often Should You Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
It is recommended that you test your smoke detectors regularly, preferably on a monthly basis and change the batteries once a year. The batteries of carbon monoxide detectors should be changed every six months and before installing the new batteries, vacuum the inside of the detectors to remove any dirt, dust, and debris that may have got inside as these can potentially give false alarms or stop them functioning altogether.
Where Should Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors be Installed?
You should have smoke detectors installed on every floor of the property, including the attic and the basement if you have them. There should also be a smoke detector installed in every bedroom.
Carbon monoxide detectors should also be installed on every floor of the home as well as near, but not inside, an attached garage. You do need to make sure that they are installed out of any direct sunlight and at least 5 feet away from any appliances and 20 feet away from any fuel-burning heat source. Also make sure that they are kept out of any areas of high humidity such as the bathroom, out of areas of extreme heat or cold such as the attic, and away from air vents and ceiling fans.
What is the Lifespan of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
Generally, a battery-powered smoke detector will have a lifespan of between 8 and 10 years with a hard-wired detector lasting 10 years at which point you should replace the whole unit for your own safety.
Carbon monoxide detectors have a shorter lifespan but still last between 5 and 7 years but it is recommended that you replace them every 5 years just to be safe.
We can’t always prevent fires from happening in the home but by installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home, and keeping them in working order, we can greatly reduce the risk of any harm coming to our families.
Be smart, stay safe!