In this article I am going to give you some information regarding your fire, smoke and CO (carbon monoxide) alarms. You do have these in your home… don’t you? When was the last time that you checked the batteries in these devices? First, if you live in a newer home or apartment, these alarms were probably already pre-wired and installed. They are usually wired to the house electric. Make sure that they have a battery backup, if not buy additional alarms that operate on batteries.
Most smoke alarms are mounted high on a wall or a ceiling. They should not be near the kitchen or laundry room. Anywhere there is a source of heat or steam that could and will cause false alarms. CO alarms can be mounted lower on a wall; however, they should be out of direct sunlight, out of the kitchen or laundry room or near a water heater. CO alarms lose effectiveness over time and should be replaced every five years. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
You can purchase combination alarms that will detect both smoke and CO. These are convenient and you can deploy them where needed. I would always recommend at least some stand-alone CO alarms. You should check the manufacturing date of the alarms before purchase to make sure that you are getting the freshest alarm possible.
Smoke alarms can work on either ionization technology or photoelectric technology. Each will detect a different type of fire faster. For example ionization technology will detect a fast hot fire. On the other hand photoelectric technology is great at detecting a smoldering fire such as a mattress. Based on this you should have both types of alarms or better yet one alarm that has both technologies.
Make sure that you test your alarms once per month. Most are tested by pushing a test buttons that puts the alarm into a test cycle. Depending on the model you will hear the high pitched alarm and in some cases the alarm will talk and tell you what type of alarm it is. The batteries should be replaced once per year. The easiest way to remember is to change them the same time every year such as when the time changes in the fall or maybe every July 4th.
Fire, Smoke and CO alarms provide a very inexpensive insurance on your safety. The best time to purchase and to start using these alarms is right now.