For decades, you’ve been told to install fresh batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when you change your clocks in spring and fall. This simple reminder has no doubt saved countless lives, since fire investigators tell us that powered and properly maintained smoke alarms double your chances of escape. In addition, however, a home safety expert at the country’s leading alarm manufacturer says one more step is needed to ensure your home’s protection.
Smoke alarms scan for danger millions of times in their lifespan, so eventually they wear out. Smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years, and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms every five to seven years depending on the manufacturer. Checking the age of your system is critical, so that you don’t put new batteries into outdated alarms. These replacement rules apply whether alarms are battery powered or hand-wired.
Here are three timely safety reminders.
1. Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and inside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.
2. Never take down an alarm or remove its batteries to silence a nuisance alarm; instead install a photoelectric smoke alarm near the kitchen as they are less prone to cooking smoke.
3. If you have any fuel-fired devices or appliances (furnace, water heater, gas or wood fireplace, range or clothes dryer) or an attached garage or carport, you need to install at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm.