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Maintenance Tips for Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

May 3, 2023

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Often, we don’t think about our smoke alarms. They just hang from the ceiling of our rooms, and we ignore their presence until it goes off. And while our attitudes towards them are probably justified, it’s actually essential for you to maintain and clean them regularly. Part of the reason why is when these things aren’t correctly taken care it will affect its performance. If you’ve ever had smoke in your house and your alarm didn’t go off, you know what I’m talking about. So, we’ll be sharing the various tips and tricks you can use to take care of your smoke detectors properly. 

Why Should I Clean My Smoke Detectors/Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Only a few people think about cleaning their smoke detectors or carbon monoxide alarms. They don’t realize that it prevents their smoke alarms from functioning normally. There’s a straightforward reason why. 

You see, over time, your smoke detector will be exposed to various particles such as dust, pollen, and smoke. Over time, those elements are going to block and clog the sensors of your alarms. That will affect its performance, which can cause your alarm to become unreliable. That’s why regular maintenance is required. 

Cleaning Your Smoke Detectors

To clean your smoke alarm, you will need two items: a handheld vacuum and some wipes. You’re going to hold the vacuum over the alarm and let it suck all of the excess debris on the surface of your detector. Afterward, you will wipe the rest of the debris off the detector and then use a paper towel to dry it. 

You should clean the surface of your smoke detector every three months or so. This will help you limit the amount of debris your carbon monoxide alarm gets on it and can increase its longevity.

Testing the Smoke Alarms 

Testing a smoke alarm is very simple. But before you do it, first and foremost, wear ear protection. Consider protective ear muffs or foam earplugs. Both will help block that loud ringing you’ll have to deal with. Then you’re going to locate the test/silence button. That button is either going to be found on the side of the alarm or on top of the unit. Your next step is to push and hold the test button until the test sequence starts. If you hear that loud noise, then you know it works. But if you don’t hear it, it’s time to change your battery.

How to Replace Batteries

Where your alarm draws its power will determine how often you test it and how often you have to replace the battery or the alarm itself. 

  • Detector Powered by 9-Volt Battery 

With a battery-powered alarm, you want to test it at least every two or three weeks to ensure it’s still functioning. You’ll replace the battery every year. And when it comes to the alarm itself, you’ll generally want to replace it by the time it stops working entirely or in 10 years. 

  • Alarm Powered By 10-Year Seal 

Unlike a battery-powered, a 10-year seal alarm will warn you when it’s about to die. It will do an end-of-life signal (5 chirps). And unlike a battery-powered alarm, you only have one option when it makes those five sounds: get another alarm. Afterward, your alarm is sound (get it?) until it dies again. 

  • Detector Hardwired into Homes’ Electrical System 

This is probably the easiest one out of the bunch to maintain. You, of course, want to test the alarm monthly to make sure it’s in working order. Then you must make sure the backup battery is replaced yearly and order a new alarm every ten years. 

Don’t Replace Alarms That Go Off for No Reason 

Trust us when we say there’s some logic to this. It sometimes goes off because it’s been placed in a bad location. Those locations will be in very humid or damp areas. That means a spot right near a bathroom with a shower. It could even be in dusty or greedy regions, such as directly over a stove. Even putting a smoke detector near air vents could cause it to malfunction. Therefore, be sure you move your detector to an area largely unaffected by outside factors. The batteries could simply be loose, or they need to be replaced. You don’t want to spend more money on a new alarm when yours might be perfectly fine. 

Maintaining a Smoke Detector is Relatively Easy Work 

Maintaining a smoke alarm is relatively easy to work. It doesn’t involve a lot of manpower, though sometimes it does take a little investigative work. And, if we make it a habit to clean and maintain our smoke detectors every so often, they will work how they’re supposed to.