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As house fires are one of the top hazards in residential homes, fire prevention should be a top priority in every household. Half of these start in the kitchen due to unattended cooking, while faulty electrical appliances cause almost 40% of home fires. Also, did you know that homeowners are twice as likely to die in a fire if their smoke alarm isn’t working?
Installing a smoke alarm is definitely the right step towards protecting your property from fire-related accidents. However, it is just as important to maintain your smoke alarms and keep them clean so that they are in good working condition.
When and how should you clean your smoke alarms? Generally, smoke alarm maintenance should be carried out on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. While these fire prevention devices can last for a long time, don’t expect them to last forever – you would probably need to replace your alarm every ten years.
For your easy reference, here’s a handy guide detailing the steps to ensure your smoke alarms are well-maintained throughout their lifespan.
With the mains power turned off, test your smoke alarm by pressing the test/hush button. If you have a wireless remote control that allows you to test your smoke alarm, this will be easier as you do not need to climb up to press the button. You should also make sure to check the batteries manually.
Cleaning is also an important part of regular smoke alarm maintenance. Remove the smoke alarm from the ceiling or the wall in order to do this properly. Check to see if there are insects, dust, or other particles on the alarm and remove them. To get rid of any dirt, grime, or dust lodged inside the smoke alarm, vacuum it carefully with a crevice tool attachment. Be gentle so that you can avoid causing damage to the circuit board.
It’s essential to keep insects away from your smoke alarms. Not only is it unhygienic to have bugs in your smoke alarms, but it can be dangerous as well. When you have bugs in your smoke alarm, their presence can cause the alarm to sound, which will cause unnecessary panic in your household or give a false sense of security due to an overoccurence of false alarms.
Every few months, use a towel and wipe the ceiling around the smoke alarm with insect repellent. Don’t spray insect repellent directly on a smoke alarm, as it will cause it to go off. After cleaning them, test the smoke alarm again to make sure it’s still working.
You should replace the batteries in smoke alarms that run on 9V batteries or have 9V battery backups every year. Always use 9V batteries from a recognised battery brand to guarantee that the machine functions properly. Don’t skimp on batteries because weak smoke alarms may fail to detect smoke. In the event of a fire, this can be a hazard itself. Set a yearly reminder in your phone’s calendar so you won’t forget to replace the batteries.
Every Ten Years
In general, the shelf life of all smoke alarms is ten years. After you hit the ten-year mark, the entire smoke alarm unit must be replaced – even if it looks like it is still in good condition. In fact, even with the latest wireless smoke alarm systems equipped with long-lasting lithium batteries, they only have a 10-year lifespan as well.
To ensure your smoke alarms can provide the best protection for you and your family – change them out according to the recommended date. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t worry if you don’t know how old your smoke alarms are. You can easily find the date of manufacture, which is usually printed on the back of the alarm along with the serial number.
Routine maintenance of smoke alarms is important to protect your home against fire hazards. A little effort goes a long way to keep you and your loved ones safe. It’s also worth investing in a high-quality smoke alarm from trusted home security system suppliers to ensure you have an alarm you can rely on with peace of mind.