Daylight Saving Time | How to Test Your CO & Smoke Alarms
Daylight Saving Time (DST) is synonymous with clocks. But what about your carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms? When it's time to change the clocks, be sure to check out those invaluable home safety features as well.
This March 12, beginning at 2AM, is when you change your clocks forward an hour, hence the term “spring forward.” After ensuring that you're functioning on the proper time, spend some time on home safety. There are two steps homeowners are encouraged to take on Daylight Saving Time - test your alarms, and change the batteries.
Ensure CO and Smoke Alarm Safety for Daylight Saving Time:
1. Put in fresh batteries
Yes, batteries may actually last longer than a year, but when it comes to home safety devices, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Test your CO and smoke alarms every 30 days and replace them at least once a year. While you may hear that annoying beeping that signals the end of a battery’s life, sometimes the alert doesn’t work or dies while you are away from home.
You never want to be in a structure with nonworking CO or smoke alarms. Changing your batteries bi-annually is a conscientious move that will save you from any beep-induced headaches or undetected emergencies later on.
How to change the batteries in your smoke alarm:
- Check the battery type and replace accordingly. You'll most likely be looking at lithium or 9v batteries. Choose high-quality, lithium batteries if you can; this is not the time to buy generic.
- Remove the smoke detector. A sort of twisting or sliding of the detector away from the mounting accomplishes this. Sometimes, you can open a battery compartment door without removing the entire unit. Check the owner’s manual for specific instructions.
- Locate the battery compartment. The location is different in each model. Be sure to install the batteries correctly, following provided symbols or instructions in accompanying manual (“+” with “+” and “-” with “-“).
2. Test each device
Testing your smoke alarms is actually something that should be done monthly (set a reminder for the first of every month). If this task is not already on your monthly checklist, March is the perfect month to begin. Take advantage of Daylight Saving Time to get your home safety in order. By using the test button on the alarm, you can determine whether or not it is functioning.
Since you have just installed new batteries, this test will also let you know if you’ve properly installed the new batteries.
How to test your alarm:
- Locate the "test" button on the device.
- Press and hold down the test button until you hear a loud, piercing alarm (up to 10 seconds for ionization alarms; up to 20 seconds for photoelectric models).
- The alarm will emit a sound, usually a patterned beep. This lets you know that the test was successful.
WARNING: Replace all CO and smoke alarms that are 10 years old or older!
CO detectors and smoke alarms last around 5-8 years, and should always be replaced after 10 years. After a decade, CO and smoke detectors can become erratic and ineffective. Check the owner’s manual for specific information on your model. Additionally, replace any smoke or CO detectors that have a weak or non-alarming sound when you conduct your test.
We recommend replacing your smoke alarms with dual sensor orphotoelectric smoke alarms. Ionization smoke alarms are slow to sound when there is a smoldering fire. Photoelectric and dual sensor alarms are more effective and less susceptible to nuisance alarms.
For the best protection, your alarms and detectors should be “interconnected” so when one sounds they all sound. This is even more important in larger homes where an alarm can sound without anyone noticing. Ask us about strobe lights and bed shakers as well if anyone in your household is hard of hearing.
Where should alarms be installed?
Alarms should be installed in hallways and bedrooms, basements, and on each additional level of your home. They should be installed at least 20 feet away from combustion appliances such as furnaces and ovens, so as not to trigger a false alarm. One should also avoid installing them within 10 feet of high-humidity areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms. They should also be placed 6 to 12 inches below the ceiling and away from doors, windows, and other ventilation areas.
Proper placement and installation of smoke and CO alarms is important. For more information on installation and safety measures, contact Gold Medal Service. We offer smoke and carbon monoxide testing, installation and replacement services. Life is unpredictable; preparedness is key.
Give us a call today at (732) 365-3199 or schedule an appointment online! We're available 24/7 to solve all of your home service needs.