One of my regular customers’ smoke alarm went off in the middle of the night recently. After resetting it and diligently checking that there was no fire (and with a second alarm already in the house) he removed the alarm from the ceiling. I had a look at the unit, the next day and discovered it was a mains operated one with rechargeable batteries. In this case (as it was over 15 years old) the best advice is simply to buy a new one as these should be replaced every ten years. (Check the manufacturers’ replacement recommendations for each model.)
Other battery-run fire alarms should regularly be tested, and the batteries changed as soon as you hear the low-battery warning sound. (Check the manufacturers’ instructions for your model to confirm this.) It is good practice to change the batteries every few years regardless. A good tip is to write the date they were last changed on the unit.
What is the point of having one if you are not confident that it works?
All smoke alarms should be checked monthly using the test button. What is the point of having one if you are not confident that it works? It is also worth checking it for dust and insects periodically as this can stop them working or even cause them to go off unexpectedly.
Like my customer, whose recent experience prompted this post, my best piece of advice is to have two smoke alarms in your house – just in case one fails. They are relatively low-priced items, and they could save the lives of the most precious people in your life.
If you have any questions about smoke alarms or fire safety, in general, please give us a call.