Home safety: Smoke and CO Detectors

There are many areas of home safety, we will touch on many of them in the near future, but I wanted to talk a bit about smoke and CO detectors. The reason is as I was going through a few of the feeds from a neighborhood social media app, one post got my attention. The person posted that she was slowly being driven out of her sanity because of an insistent chirping sound even after she had tried to change the batteries! She also had pointed out that the smoke detectors she had in her home were hardwired and were ten years old and needed to be replaced. She couldn't find the "correct" replacement detectors at the local Home Center, so she ended up going on line and buying them.

Okay, enough of the back story, I think you get the picture.

So smoke detectors as well as CO (Carbon-monoxide) detectors are now code for all homes. The smoke detectors need to be placed in every bedroom, hallway (upstairs as well as downstairs) and with in roughly 15 feet of the kitchen, but not directly in the kitchen because of the high rate of false alarms from those of you who like your toast carbonized.

Every detector has a life span of 10 years. The batteries of most older models would last maybe 2 to three years and then need to be replaced. According to the manufacture's instructions you should be testing your system weekly (monthly at the very least). Hard wired systems are set up so that once one detector goes off they all do, and everyone in the neighborhood knows that there is something going on at your house.

So what do you do when that infernal chirping happens at 2 a.m., because you know the battery wouldn't possibly have been going bad at any normal time of the day? The chirping is a signal that the battery needs to be replaced. The battery is a back up power source for the hardwired detector. It does "charge" the detector some. After you have disconnected the detector from the wired power source you can bring the unit down to ground. Now when you take out the battery, it helps to drain the extra charge by holding down the TEST button until you no longer hear the beep and then keep holding it down for an additional 10 seconds. This helps to make sure it really is discharged fully. Now you can replace the battery, and test it before hooking back up to the hard wired system. Once you have reconnected it to the hard wired power, it is best to test the unit again, to make sure it is "talking" to all the other units.

Now when it is time to replace the whole unit, I have found that you can replace it with any unit that has the ability to be hard wired. Make sure you check on the box that it says hard wired. Also most newer models come with 10 year batteries, so even if you don't need to change your whole unit, it might be worth it to not have to get back up on a ladder to change batteries for another 10 years! Also you can find combination smoke/CO detectors as well.

I know I have had some fun with this article, but in all seriousness, smoke detectors and CO detectors save lives and are not just important to have in the house operating properly, but it is the law to have them and have them in working order. If you have any questions about smoke detectors or CO detectors please feel free to contact us and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

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