Smoke Detector Maintenance at Daylight Savings Time

As we spring our clocks forward this weekend for Daylight Savings Time, take a few minutes to check your home smoke detectors to ensure that they are working properly. Using Daylight Savings Time is a great way to remember to perform your routine smoke detector maintenance.

In the US, 2450 deaths and 13,900 injuries resulted from residential building fires in 2011.

US Residential Building Fire Statistics (2007-2011)
US Residential Building Fire Statistics (2007-2011) – US Fire Administration

Is Your Smoke Detector Even Detecting?

Having smoke detectors properly placed in your home is an important part of preparedness, but it does not end there. A smoke detector only works when it is properly installed and regularly maintained. Manufacturer’s instructions on maintenance vary depending on the power source (9-volt, 10-year lithium, or hardwired) of your smoke detector. It is always best to refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations. However, here are a few general guidelines for smoke detector maintenance:

Smoke Detector Powered by a 9-volt Battery

  • Test the detector monthly.
  • Replace the batteries at least once per year.
  • The entire smoke detector unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.

Smoke Detector Powered by a 10-year “Long Life” Lithium Battery

  • Test the detector monthly.
  • Since you cannot (and should not) replace the lithium battery, the entire smoke detector unit should be replaced according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Smoke Detector That is Hardwired into the Home’s Electrical System

  • Test the detector monthly.
  • The backup battery should be replaced at least once per year.
  • The entire smoke detector unit should be replaced every 8-10 years.

Alarming Fire Statistics

Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2009–2011)

Civilian Fire Fatalities in Residential Buildings (2009-2011) – US Fire Administration Report
Civilian Fire Injuries in Residential Buildings (2009-2011)
Civilian Fire Injuries in Residential Buildings (2009-2011) – US Fire Administration Report

Now that you have maintained your smoke detectors, how about giving some thought to fire extinguishers.

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