Test your smoke alarms when you "spring forward"

| March 10, 2021

The end of Daylight Saving Time is the perfect time to check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. While adjusting your clocks this Sunday, remember to check the smoke alarms in your home. 

Smoke detectors provide the first line of defense against a fire, and now is the time to replace the battery in your home's smoke detectors. Studies show that only 57% of Americans have done so in the past six months. 

Remember to test every smoke alarm in your home

Working smoke alarms give you an early warning so you can escape a burning home quickly. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in properties without working smoke alarms.
  • More than 38% of home fire deaths result from fires in which no smoke alarms are present.
  • The chance of surviving a home fire is doubled in homes with working smoke alarms.

The NFPA advises smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month, and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year.

We recommend changing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms during daylight savings time. This makes it easy to remember to change your batteries every year.

How to replace your smoke detector's battery

  1. Lift, twist, or remove the cover (In some cases, the whole alarm will come off from a base).
  2. Replace the battery with a brand-new one. Most machines use 9-volt batteries.
  3. Close and snap the detector back into place.
  4. Press the test button to make sure it's working. You should hear a beep or chirp sound.

Keep an eye out for the date of manufacture stamped on the device. Smoke detectors lose their efficacy after 10 years and require replacing just like carbon monoxide alarms. If you choose to upgrade to the newer lithium battery smoke detectors, you won't have to worry about replacing the batteries at all for up to a decade.

Monitoring your home's safety measures is now more important than ever. The average time to escape a home fire has gone from 17 minutes to just three minutes or less in the past few decades due to the increased use of synthetics in furniture and home construction.

House fires can be devastating

What you need to know about smoke alarms
To keep your home as safe as possible, use interconnected smoke alarms. When one sounds, they will all sound.

The NFPA recommends installing smoke alarms installed inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home (including the basement).

There are also smoke alarms for people with hearing loss. These alarms may have strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to alert those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.

All smoke alarms should be tested at least once a month by pushing the test button. Replace batteries at least once a year.

Also, don't forget to inspect your fire extinguisher for any signs of corrosion, missing pull-pins, and/or changes in the pressure gauge. It's always a good idea to have a working one on hand.

If your smoke alarm goes off while you are cooking, that means it’s working! No matter how tempting it may be, do not disconnect the smoke alarm or remove the batteries. You may forget to replace them.

Ask about insurance discounts
After your smoke alarm is properly installed, you may be eligible for a discount on your home or renters insurance policy. Many insurance companies give discounts for protective devices like smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire extinguishers, water detection devices, and burglar alarms.

To claim your insurance discount, give us a call at (509)327-1658 to see what we can do. We are here to help!