Beep, beep, beep…certainly you’ve been annoyed by the incessant chirping of a smoke detector. I also recently attended a gathering of safety-minded folks who allowed the chirping sound of a smoke detector get the best of them. I also must confess that it happened to me not long ago with a house full of my daughter’s friends sleeping over. In my case, the chirping sound simply meant it was time to change the battery (even in a hard wire set up) as the battery serves as a back up. I was ready to call my handyman or buy a new unit, but all it was was a dead battery.
Don’t let a beeping smoke detector get the best of you; here is what you need to do to maintain your system:
- Testing: make sure to test your smoke alarm once a month to make sure it is operating. Test the alarm by pressing the test button and listening for the alarm.
- Replace the batteries: all batteries should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you do this at least once a year or when the alarm starts to beep to alert you that the batteries are low. Also, always change the batteries in alarms after moving into a new home.
- Cleaning: dust and cobwebs can interfere with a smoke detector’s ability to operate properly. In some cases, debris can make it more difficult for a smoke detector to do its job, while in other cases debris can make a smoke detector too sensitive. Clean smoke detectors according to the manufacturer’s directions, usually with a handheld tool on a vacuum cleaner hose.
- Replacement: replace smoke detectors every 10 years.
I found this information very useful, as I didn’t know that smoke detectors require as much maintenance as they do. However, I’d rather be safe and go through the process of keeping my smoke detector up-to-par when it means the wellbeing of my family or friends.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.