Check Smoke Detectors for Fire Safety

smoke-detectorDaylight Savings Time Tradition

We’ve made the transition from Daylight Savings Time, and along with adjusting your clocks one hour earlier on Sunday morning, did you check your smoke detectors? The National Fire Protection Association reports that three out of every five home fire deaths are caused by fires in houses where there are no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. As we head into a season where many of us burn candles and use wood-burning fireplaces and space heaters, it becomes extremely important to have smoke detectors that will alert your family in the event of a house fire.

If you are still using older smoke detectors that use alkaline batteries, simply swap out the batteries in the units and press the “test” button afterward to make sure they are still functioning. If you need to purchase new smoke detectors, you have several options.

Stand-Alone Lithium Battery

You can still purchase stand-alone detectors that use alkaline batteries. But for more peace of mind, you can buy stand-alone units that have a lithium ion battery sealed inside. These batteries have an estimated 10-year lifespan, and you will have to replace the whole unit after the battery has died. Even though you don’t need to replace the batteries in these smoke alarms, you still need to periodically test the units to make sure they are working, or check the label on the back of the unit for a date of manufacture.

Networked Stand-Alone Alarms

Another option with the lithium battery powered smoke alarms is to buy multiple units that are connected with a radio frequency (RF) network. The alarms are mounted to the wall or ceiling just as alkaline battery units are, but the RF network causes all of the alarms to sound when one detector is triggered. These systems also have a 10-year life span and should be tested periodically.

Hardwired Smoke Alarms

Most local building codes now require new construction or renovation to include hardwired smoke alarm systems. When one alarm is set off, all of the units sound. The cost of installing hardwired smoke detectors depends on the location and age of your home’s electrical wiring, as the units are connected to their own electrical circuit. A licensed electrician can install hardwired smoke alarms in older homes. Even though these units are connected to power, they still contain a lithium battery in the even that a fire knocks out power to your home.

Making sure that your home has working smoke alarms is an easy way to keep your family safe year-round.