Monday, April 26, 2010

Smoke Alarm Maintenance How To’s

(BUSINESS WIRE)--With their proven ability to double your family’s chance of surviving a residential fire, smoke detectors are one of the most valuable fire safety tools on the market – yet we tend to take them for granted.

“Smoke alarms are such a common presence in our homes that it’s easy to just expect them to work every time”

“Smoke alarms are such a common presence in our homes that it’s easy to just expect them to work every time,” says product specialist Christina Hansen. “But like many other devices and appliances around the house, smoke detectors require regular cleaning and maintenance to function effectively.”

To ensure the best smoke detection possible, offers these 5 easy tips for keeping household smoke alarms tuned up, properly powered, and ready for action:

* Dust and contaminants can interfere with a smoke alarm’s ability to detect smoke, so clean all detectors in your home at least twice a year. Use your vacuum cleaner’s long upholstery wand to clear away any dust or cobwebs that have settled around the detectors, and – if possible – vacuum out the smoke alarms’ interior compartments as well.
* Don’t wait for that high-pitched chirp to annoy you into changing smoke detector batteries; instead, keep a standing annual date with yourself to replace the battery in each smoke alarm. Try choosing an easy-to-remember date that has personal significance, like a birthday, anniversary, or the day you turn your clocks back from Daylight Savings Time.
* Remember that smoke detectors don’t last forever. Outdated smoke alarms can randomly fail, so it’s important to stay on the safe side and replace all household smoke detectors every 10 years. If you’ve lived in your home for less than 10 years but aren’t sure how old the existing smoke alarms are, don’t take any chances with your safety – switch them out for new units immediately.
* Test smoke detectors monthly by pressing their “test” buttons – if the alarm sounds, everything’s working fine. If you’d prefer extra reassurance, test your alarms with actual smoke. All you need to do is light a candle, blow it out, then immediately hold it a few inches below the detector, allowing a trail of smoke from the just-extinguished wick to drift inside the unit and trigger its alarm.
* If a particular smoke alarm is sounding frequently even when there isn’t any smoke in the air, don’t disable it – instead, investigate the cause of the false alarms. Oftentimes you’ll find that the smoke detector is located too close to the kitchen or bathroom, where cooking fumes and steam can trick it into going off even when there’s no danger. Relocating the detector a little further away should solve the problem; however, if the false alarms keep occurring, you could be dealing with a faulty smoke alarm, in which case it should just be replaced.

Consumers may order a wide selection of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors online at or via toll-free telephone at 1-866-222-0030.

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