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Smoke Detector Care

Did you know smoke detectors could mean the difference between life and death in house fires? It’s easy to forget about these small, inexpensive, life-saving devices in your home because they are mainly out of sight, out of mind; but, they must be regularly maintained to provide protection. Follow these tips for caring to ensure your smoke detectors are in working order.

Install them properly
Because smoke rises, detectors should be installed high on ceilings or walls. Where smoke alarms should be installed depends on your floorplan. Have at least one smoke detector on each floor of your house and one in each bedroom. In the kitchen, the detector should be placed 10 feet away from stovetops to prevent false alarms.[1] Follow the directions in the device’s user manual to make sure it’s properly installed.  

Test it monthly
Set up a reminder on your phone to alert you once a month to test your smoke detectors. Hold down the test button 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 audible enough, it’s time for new batteries.

Change batteries every six months
How often you need to change your batteries mainly depends on your unit and what batteries you’re using, but it’s a good idea to replace them every six months.

Replace units every 10 years
Over time, the sensors on your smoke detector will wear down. They begin to collect dust and grime, so it’s recommended to entirely replace them every 10 years.[2] The age of the smoke detector is listed on the back or side of the device. This date is what determines when you should replace the device, not the date of purchase or the installation date.

Simply having smoke detectors is not enough to protect you and your family; they must be maintained and properly cared for. While there are many different types of smoke detectors and fire alarms to choose from, there is no denying how smoke alarms save lives, and they could get you a discount on your homeowner’s insurance, too. Call your local agent today for details.

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[1] https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Smoke-alarms/Installing-and-maintaining-smoke-alarms

[2] https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/smoke_alarms.html