We’ve all been there. Middle of the night, sound asleep and then suddenly startled by an incessant, high-pitched chirping sound coming from the smoke detector, just outside of your bedroom.
It’s definitely a less glamorous task of homeownership, but smoke detector maintenance is important because it plays a critical role when it comes to home safety.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 2,000 people die in residential fires every year, mainly from inhaling smoke and deadly gases. And it’s these specific fumes that set off smoke detectors.
However, it’s not just smoke and deadly gases that set off a smoke detector. In this article we’ll discuss what exactly sets off a smoke detector, how to stop it, and the proper maintenance of your smoke detectors in order to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Whenever your smoke detector goes off, it’s important that you first make sure there is no fire in your house. Just because you don’t see or smell a fire doesn’t mean that it’s automatically a false fire alarm. It could be a hidden electrical fire.
However, once you determine that there is no fire, the smoke detector could be triggered by other factors. Below are the most common types of triggers and how to stop the false alarm:
And if you’re not experiencing any of the above scenarios, your smoke detector may be malfunctioning or has reached the end of its life cycle. A typical lifespan of a smoke detector is around 10 years and after that, you’ll need to replace it. Consult your device manual or local electrician to determine if it’s a malfunction or if the device is dead.
If the above tips and tricks haven’t solved your smoke alarm woes, you may need to move the smoke detector to another area in your house.
When looking for another area to install your smoke detector, make sure to do it in a climate controlled area and near the bedrooms of the house. Additionally, you should avoid placing smoke detectors near cooking appliances, windows or doors, as they can be affected by drafts, cooking smoke or steam. You should also avoid placing the device in dusty or dirty areas of your house.
As for installing locations, if you install the device on a ceiling, be sure to mount it no closer than four inches to any wall. If you plan to mount it on a wall, place the smoke detector no more than 12 inches from the ceiling. When you measure, use the outside edge of the smoke detector. These placements are optimal for performance and overall home safety.
What other maintenance tips should you keep in mind when it comes to your smoke detectors? Here are four:
As you can see, when you regularly take care of your smoke detector, the less false alarms you’ll encounter! By taking the time to create a maintenance plan for your smoke detectors, you are making your home a safer place for you and your loved ones.
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