Not only is it illegal to not have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas in your home, but they are absolutely detrimental to yours and your family’s safety in the event of a fire. A smoke detector notifies occupants when there’s a smoke or a fire, giving them enough time to be able to safely leave the building. Having said this, part of the legal requirement of having smoke alarms is ensuring that your smoke detectors are in working order, whether you’re the homeowner or a tenant renting out the space. We’re going to take a look at how often you should check your smoke detectors, so you can make sure you can rely on them in the event of an emergency.
You may think that just because your smoke detector isn’t making noise to the point that it’s becoming an overall nuisance, that you don’t have to check it. But in fact, it’s important to check your smoke detectors to ensure that the battery didn’t simply go dead, or that it’s performing at its peak ability.
Fireline.com expands on why it’s so important to check your smoke detectors:
“Electronic devices are not invincible. Batteries die, and smoke detectors become less sensitive over time. Dirt and dust can also affect performance. You must regularly check your detectors and replace their batteries. In fact, a good practice is to replace detector batteries, if so equipped, every time you change your clocks in the fall and spring. Some newer detectors come with long-life batteries that don’t need replacement.”
You may have noticed as you’ve moved over the years that there are different types of smoke detectors – the ones that are battery-operated and the ones that are hardwired. There are certainly pros and cons to each of these devices, however, hard wired smoke detectors tend to come on top in the “most preferred” department.
Craig Lloyd of HowToGeek.com tells us more about these two different kinds of smoke detectors:
“On top of the different types of sensors, smoke alarms also come in two different types of power connectivity: battery-operated or hardwired into your home’s electrical system. Hardwired smoke alarms are arguably the best because not only do you not need to worry about changing the batteries, they’re also interconnected. This means that if one alarm goes off, then all of the other alarms go too, which is great if you have a larger house and there’s the possibility of not being able to hear one alarm go off from across the house.Not all houses are wired for smoke alarms, though, which is where battery-operated units come into play. They’re also easier to install, since there are no wires to deal with.”
Now, for the question you’ve been waiting for – how often should you check your smoke detectors? Even though there are different types of smoke detectors, with one’s power supply arguably lasting much longer than the other, they need to be checked at the exact same interval – once per month.
CanadaSafetyCouncil.org expands more on why homeowners must be checking their smoke detectors at least 12 times per year:
“Test your alarm monthly by pushing the test button. Once a year, use a smoldering cotton string, cigarette or incense until the smoke makes the alarm sound. If the alarm is battery-powered and doesn’t sound, replace it with a new battery and try again. If it’s electrically connected to household circuits and doesn’t sound, check the fuse and try again. In either case, if the alarm still isn’t working, replace the entire unit.”
Fire-Alert takes pride in equipping homeowners with all necessary fire safety devices to ensure the well-being of families across the nation. Reach out to us using our contact form to find out more.