Smoke detectors are one of the most important safety devices you can install in your home. Once you’ve installed smoke detectors, it’s absolutely vital to test them regularly to ensure that they will work during a fire. After all, what good are they if they aren’t working when you need them the most!
When selecting a smoke detector, keep the following in mind:
- Photoelectric units are better for smoldering fires—such as electrical fires in the walls—so they’re ideal for kitchens and bathrooms where these fires tend to occur.
- Ionization units give the surrounding air an electrical charge and then measure whether the charge remains constant or if a fire consumes the oxygen in the air. These units are better suited to areas where fires get out of control, such as a basement or near a furnace.
Use these steps to ensure that your smoke detectors are working properly:
- Press the test button on the unit and wait for it to sound.
- Light a candle and hold it 15 centimeters below the detector so the heated air will rise into the detector.
- If the alarm doesn’t sound within 20 seconds, blow the candle and let the smoke rise.
- If the alarm still doesn’t sound, open the detector and clean the unit. Then, test the unit again.
- If the detector still isn’t working, it should be replaced immediately.
Replacing smoke detector batteries is critical to their usefulness. A great way to remember to change your smoke detectors’ batteries is to do so twice a year during Daylight Savings Time. When you set your clocks forward or back an hour, also change your smoke detectors’ batteries to keep your home and your family safe.