How Often Should You Change Your Smoke Detector Battery?

Your home smoke detectors are important to your home safety. Proper maintenance of these devices could be a lifesaver. The batteries in the smoke detectors are the last line of power for them to continue functioning. The worst way to find out that the batteries are dead in your smoke detector is to have a fire in your home and the detector fails to provide a warning.

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Smoke Alarm basics

It is important to have a smoke alarm on every level of your home and outside each bedroom. If they are wired into the electrical system they should be interconnected. Newer homes will meet these requirements, but if you have an older home, it is important to make sure you have adequate smoke alarm protection.

Smoke detectors that are wired into the home's electrical system will have a battery backup so the detectors will function if the power is out. Detectors that are added after the home was built often are battery-powered only.

Statistics

Almost half of reported house fires between 2001 and 2004 occurred in homes with no smoke detectors or non-functioning smoke detectors, according to the National Fire Protection Association. The organization says 65 percent of all fire deaths were in homes without smoke alarms or in homes where they malfunctioned. Seventy-three percent of smoke alarm failures were due to missing or dead batteries.

Maintenance

The U.S. Consumer Product Commission recommends that you check your smoke detector batteries once a month. The alarms will have a test button that, when pushed, will cause the alarm to sound. If it does not, replace the battery immediately. Your should install new batteries once a year. Pick a date, like a birthday or the change to daylight-savings time, and make sure all of the smoke detector batteries in the home are replaced.

If a smoke detector battery does run down or goes dead in a hard-wired system, the alarm will emit a regular chirping noise. Find the beeping alarm and replace the battery with a new one.

Some newer smoke alarms have 10-year lithium batteries. These alarms should be tested regularly and replaced if they do not respond. Replace the entire alarm after 10 years.

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