When any of our clients who have just purchased a home move in, one of the first things we tell them to do is to check their smoke alarms.
Far too many homes have the alarms overlooked and pushed to the wayside, and according to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths are caused by broken smoke alarms or the absence of them altogether.
Regular maintenance of the smoke alarms in your home is vital, and is easier than most expect.
First, you’ll want to be sure that each level of your home and each bedroom has an alarm present. Then, walk around to each one and press the “Test” button. If you hear a beep, everything is in working order. If not, it may need a battery or entire alarm replacement altogether. You’ll want to do these tests monthly.
If swapping out the battery doesn’t do the trick, we have a step-by-step on how to replace the entire hard-wired alarm (even if you aren’t an electrician):
- Make sure the power in the given room is shut off. We cannot stress the importance of this enough as live wires are highly dangerous.
- Remove the alarm from the ceiling and have the new one at the ready. There will be a top piece and a base that can be removed with a screwdriver or drill. Many smoke alarms come with a series of wires that you can match up to the existing wiring in the ceiling and plug right in with ease.
- Once the wire is connected, install the new base plate piece with either a screwdriver or drill. On the back of the alarm itself, there will be a place to jot down the date so you know when it was last replaced. Then, plug the other end of the wire into your alarm and connect it to the base with a slight twist until it locks into place.
A few more helpful tips for the smoke alarms in your home…
- Purchase ones that are backed up by battery in case of a power outage
- Dual smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a great two-in-one option to keep your home safe
- Keep a chart somewhere in your home that you can write down each time your alarms are tested and whether or not you had to replace the battery or alarm itself
- Replace batteries twice a year just to be safe, daylight savings is a good reminder to do so
- Involve all members of your household with proper maintenance of alarms
In the video below, watch Jon demonstrate the replacement of a hard-wired smoke alarm so you can implement the steps in your own home’s detectors.