You may know that Daylight Saving Time is when you change your clocks—on March 12, beginning at 2AM, you’ll turn them forward one hour—but there is something else you need to take care of as well. Since you’ll already be paying attention to your clocks, this is the perfect day to check in with your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
It may seem like a stretch to go from clock to carbon monoxide, but safety officials from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to the National Fire Protection Association encourage us to test our alarms at the same time we change our clocks.
Testing the alarms and putting in fresh batteries ensures that extra layer of protection for your home. No one can protect us from losing that extra hour of sleep though!
There are two things that you should do with your smoke and CO alarms:
Be sure to perform a test to make sure everything is working. There is a test button that when held down will emit a loud, piercing sound. Hold down the test button until you hear the alarm (up to 20 seconds for photoelectric models). This tells you that the alarm in functioning. If the test does not work, the alarm is weak, or your alarm is already ten years old, replace it! It is never a good idea to live in a home with broken detectors for any length of time. In fact, you should be testing your alarms monthly (set a phone/calendar reminder) and not just during Daylight Saving Time.
Change the batteries
Freshen up the batteries. Although alarm batteries may last longer than a year, it’s highly recommended to change them at least once a year. This way you’ll always have working alarms and you’ll never have to deal with that annoying beep the devices make when they are running low on battery juice.
By doing these two steps at DST you won’t have to make an extra note on your calendar, you can just accomplish three things at once.
1. Spring forward (set your clocks an hour ahead)
2. Perform a routine test of all CO and smoke detectors
3. Change the batteries in all the units as necessary
Use high-quality, lithium batteries for replacements. This isn’t the time to buy generic. Double-check the type of battery because it could be AA or something different from the standard 9V.
Why is this important?
Of course it’s important to change your clocks; I’m sure the boss won’t be taking Daylight Saving Time as an excuse. However, it’s also important to ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working and have fresh batteries. Based on U.S. Census Bureau data, only 42% of homes have a working CO detector, even though there are 500 annual deaths contributed to this silent killer.
When it comes to fire safety, the National Fire Protection Association states that two-thirds of fire-related deaths occur due to a home not containing a working smoke alarm. Both of these potentially deadly situations, smoke and CO, can be prevented with the help of properly functioning detectors in the home.
General safety information according to the National Fire Protection Association:
- Test smoke alarms at least once a month using the test button.
- Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
- Replace the smoke alarm immediately if it doesn’t respond properly when tested.
- Smoke alarms with non-replaceable (long-life) batteries are designed to remain effective for up to 10 years. If the alarm chirps, a warning that the battery is low, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
- For smoke alarms with any other type of battery, replace batteries at least once a year. If the alarm chirps, replace only the battery.
Source: National Fire Protection Association
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, hallway, and level of the home
- Be sure they are interconnected, meaning if one sounds, they all sound
- Buy smoke and CO detectors from reputable retailers only (look for the UL label) and have them installed properly by a professional
- Consider combination smoke alarms (combines ionization and photoelectric models) and be sure to call OnTime Service to install the best smoke and CO alarms for your home protection
Daylight Saving Time is also an important safety day — change your clocks, test your alarms and switch up the batteries. Preparedness is always the best practice when it comes to home safety.
As always, OnTime Service can be with you every step of the way. We offer smoke and CO detector service as well as expert advice. Give us a call at 205-942-1405 or contact us online.
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