Have you ever taken a battery out of a smoke alarm, just to stop it from beeping? Admittedly, we have too. But we’re smarter now. Smoke alarms save lives (you’re twice as likely to die in a fire if you don’t have smoke alarms), but only when they work. This will be the easiest 5 minutes you’ve ever spent on investing in your safety and protecting you when you’re most vulnerable (when you’re asleep). So let’s go and check this one off the list, shall we?
Smoke detectors are only useful in a fire—and what are the chances of having a house fire, right? But not knowing if your smoke detectors work is almost as useless as removing them altogether (except, that would be illegal). Over 1 million homes in the US catch on fire each year, and you’re twice as likely to die in yours if you don’t have properly functioning smoke detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors are the other sensor you should be checking as well. Sometimes they’re combined into the same device and sometimes they’re separate. Carbon monoxide is a quiet killer. You can’t smell it or see it, and yet it will put you to sleep to never wake up again. Carbon monoxide, or CO for short, is caused by incomplete combustion in a gas appliance, such as a water heater. (You have one of those, right?)
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Note: Your smoke detector may come with a red LED flashing light that lets you know the detector is working properly. Of course, it is still prudent to test your detectors anyway, since even this feature can malfunction.
Smoke alarms are required on each floor of your house, in each bedroom, and in hallways outside of bedrooms. If you’re looking for the smoke alarm in your kitchen, keep in mind that they have to be at least 10 feet from the stovetop to avoid false alarms, and they are usually installed far away from windows and doors.
We also have helpful information on the real costs of home ownership as well as important tasks toward properly winterizing your home.
Depending on how large your apartment or house is, you will have anywhere from 1 to “a whole bunch” of smoke detectors. Make sure to find and test them all. Most of them will be close to the ceiling, so you will need a high-reaching step stool or chair.Next Step
This usually is easy because there are typically only two buttons on a smoke detector, one to test, and one to turn off the alarm.Next Step
You should hear a loud alarm sound. This can take up to 30 seconds.Next Step
If you hear the alarm, walk around your home to make sure that you can hear the alarm from all over the house. If you don’t hear the alarm or the alarm is too quiet:Next Step
Press the “hush” button when you are finished.Next Step
Twist the detector open and locate the battery. Your device may require a paperclip or screwdriver in order to unlock the device and open it. You can check out our step-by-step guide for replacing your smoke detector batteries here.Next Step
Once you replace the battery, be sure to test the device again to make sure you installed the battery correctly and properly reattached the case.
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