You know that installing smoke detectors in your home can mean the difference between life and death if a fire breaks out. Plus, many insurers provide homeowners insurance discounts when you have smoke detectors in your home.
While it’s easy to forget about smoke detectors once you install them in your home, it’s crucial to provide them with regular maintenance. Follow these care tips to make sure your smoke detectors are working to keep you and your family safe.
How to Care for Smoke Detectors
Install them properly.
Smoke rises, so install your detectors high on ceilings or walls. Where you install them in your home depends on your floorplan. According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), smoke detectors should be in each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on each level of the home. In the kitchen, place the detector at least ten feet away from your stovetop to prevent false alarms. Also, make sure detectors are placed in the basement and near stairways. Don’t install them near windows or doors where drafts could affect their operation. Follow the directions in the detector’s user manual to make sure you install it properly.
Test them monthly.
Set a reminder on your phone to test your smoke detectors once a month. Hold down the test button on the detector and listen for a beep. It should be loud enough for someone to hear in other parts of the house. If it doesn’t beep or the sound isn’t loud enough, it’s time for new batteries.
Change the batteries every six months.
How often you need to change batteries mainly depends on the type of detector and what batteries you’re using, but changing them every spring and fall at the time change is a good routine.
Replace them every ten years.
Over time, the sensors on your smoke detector will wear down and start to collect dust and grime. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing all of your smoke detectors every ten years. The age of the detector is listed on the back or side of the device. This date, not the purchase date or installation date, determines when you should replace the detector.
To protect your home and loved ones in case of a fire, simply having smoke detectors is not enough – you need to maintain and care for them on a regular basis. While there are many different types of detectors and alarms, there’s no denying that they save lives. They could also get you a discount on your homeowners insurance. Contact your local Alfa® agent today for details.