Ever since the late 70’s when smoke detectors started finding their way into our homes, we have been told to change the battery at least once a year. Sometime in the 1980’s a campaign was started to advise homeowners to check the battery on all their smoke detectors every time they changed the clocks for daylight savings time. What many people don’t realize is that the smoke detector itself has an expiration date.
Yes, it will still beep when you test it and if your detectors are AC-powered you may even have an added sense of comfort that you will always be protected. The truth is, these devices start to lose some of their detecting abilities as they age and most manufacturers will recommend that you replace a smoke detector every 10 years. In the case of carbon monoxide detectors (which became a requirement of building codes in 2008 in all dwellings that have a fuel burning appliance, heating system, fireplace or even attached garage) the conservative recommendation is to replace devices every 5 years since the technology sensing functionality of these devices decline slightly each year.
This fall, when you set your clocks back an hour; think about using that extra time to make sure all your danger sensing detectors are current and working properly. If you have lived in your house or apartment for more than five years, think about when your smoke and C02 detectors were installed or replaced. If you have no idea, it would be wise for you to swap them out. Handy Andy recommends writing the install date somewhere on the device so that you will always be able to calculate how old each unit it.
If you have stand-alone detectors, meaning each one operates independently and are not interconnected, you can look at some of the new smart devices that communicate with other devices in your home using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, allowing one detector to alert and sound the others whenever there is an alarm.
Many Handy Andy clients have upgraded their thermostats to smart systems like Nest. Did you know
that many of these same manufacturers also make smoke and CO2 detectors that are capable of communicating with your thermostat? A nice feature of this smart technology is that it can allow smoke and CO2 detectors to act as additional contact points to let your heating and cooling system know when you are around. An even more important feature is that they can automatically turn off your boiler or heating system when a smoke or carbon monoxide condition exists, significantly reducing the ability for dangers to compound in an emergency.
So this fall, do a little more than just change batteries and dial back clocks. Make sure your home is properly protected and you will enjoy that extra hour of sleep even more.
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