Checking Your Detectors

As you clean your homes this spring, it’s important to remember those handy little devices attached to your ceilings.

Smoke detector in action

Dual-sensing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are important for the safety of your home and your family, and both devices are now legally required in all Iowa residential dwellings. These products keep you safe in emergencies, but only if they’re in working condition.

Make sure that the detectors you have in place are not only present, but functioning with our top tips for checking your detectors this spring.

Smoke Detectors

  1. Testing: Ideally, you should be checking your detectors once per month. Find the “test” button on your device, press and hold until you hear the beep. If the sound is faint or doesn’t work, then it’s time to change your batteries.
    1. During testing, make sure all family members and/or residents in the home know that you will be performing a test so they aren’t caught off guard when they hear the beep.
    2. Station family members in the farthest corners of the home and make sure the signal can be heard from all places. If the signal is too weak to be heard, you may need to install additional detectors.
  2. Change Batteries: Batteries ensure your safety devices will sound, even in the event of power loss if your detectors are hard-wired into your home. Batteries should be changed when you notice signal weakness during your monthly tests or at minimum twice yearly during your spring and fall cleaning.
  3. Dust and remove debris: When testing batteries be sure to also brush or vacuum the alarm to keep dirt and dust out of the mechanism. Never use cleaning sprays or solvents that can enter the unit and contaminate sensors.
  4. Perform a crisis test for smoke detectors: Light 2-3 kitchen matches and once lit, blow out the flame. Hold the matchsticks 12-18 inches from the smoke detector so the smoke wafts into the detector, and test to ensure the signal alarms.
  5. Detector Lifespan: smoke detectors have a lifespan of 10 years according the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). By that point, your detector has put in 87,000 hours of work, during which time the internal sensors have probably become contaminated with dust, dirt, and air pollutant residues. Even if your detector is still functioning, you should replace after the 10 years is met or sooner, depending on manufacturer instructions.

installation d'un détecteur de fumée

CO2 Detectors

Checking your CO2 detector is similar to testing your smoke detectors. Alert your family members and security company that a test will be happening, change batteries if it’s time, and clear away any dust or debris build-up. To run a test on your CO2 detector, press and hold the “TEST” button until you hear two beeps, then remove your finger. Then press and hold the TEST button again until you hear four beeps.

Get out there and test!

Aligning your testing schedules with spring and fall cleaning will help you remember to perform regular maintenance on these all-important devices. If you need help or want to hard-wire detectors in your home or business, contact McAllister Electrical Services!

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