Smoke detectors are essential in every household and proper installation is vital for you and those around you. The selection, placement, and maintenance of smoke detectors are the three most important factors regarding their installation.
20% of homes with smoke detectors have non-operational alarms.
When Should You Replace Your Smoke Detectors?
Did you know it is estimated that if every home had working smoke detectors, U.S. residential fire deaths could drop by 36%? It’s recommended you should replace your smoke detector every ten years. However, consider replacing the device beforehand if:
- When you press and hold the test button on the smoke detector, you do not hear its alarm sound
- The sensor goes off unexpectedly
- It chirps all the time
- There’s a recall on the device
Where Should You Install Smoke Detectors?
Selecting the place in the room where the detector will be situated will determine how long it takes for the device to detect smoke if a fire occurs. Remember, smoke will rise in a room and travel with the airflow out of the room. Therefore, smoke detectors should be placed on the ceiling near a doorway or stairway but not within one foot of a wall. With that said, a smoke detector should be in:
- Every bedroom
- Outside each sleeping area
- On every floor, including in the basement
The manufacturer will specify the regularity with which the battery needs to be changed. This is usually with a 9V battery once a year. Some detectors use lithium batteries lasting over 10-years. Smoke detectors should be tested regularly, regardless of the battery type. This should be done once a month and there is usually an easy-to-use test button on the detector which can be pressed, and the alarm should sound.
But what smoke detector should you choose? A 10-year lithium battery smoke detector/carbon monoxide system is recommended for most homes. These devices warn you and your family of smoke or carbon monoxide hazards. Furthermore, it detects flames and slow smoldering fires much quicker than an ordinary smoke detector.