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The Importance of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The Importance of Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Electrical
smoke detector by Ryan Gath Electric

Safety is a big priority, which means every home needs a functioning smoke and CO detector. Maintaining your home can be overwhelming to the point that it’s easy to forget about your detectors in the first place, but like any appliance, they too need routine maintenance. House fires can be devastating, causing a great deal of property damage and putting you and your household at risk. Some easy maintenance ensures your smoke and CO detectors do their job and keep you safe.

How to Keep Your Detectors Working

  • Replace batteries annually. Instead of waiting for that annoying chirp, it’s best to keep track of when you replaced the batteries, and act accordingly. Pick a date once a year to go throughout your home and replace the batteries for each detector. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
  • Test your detectors. The best way to ensure that yours work like they should is by routinely testing them. CO detectors, which test for carbon monoxide, should be tested weekly, especially since the gas is odorless, colorless, and can be fatal to breathe in. Smoke detectors can be tested once a month. Both have a test button used for basic testing to ensure they’re responsive.
  • Make sure your detectors are in the right location. Something you may not have considered is where your detectors are located. A detector should be in each bedroom, enclosed area, and separate floor, but they also only function properly in certain conditions. Make sure to keep all smoke detectors at least 10 feet from any cooking appliances, as that can cause false alarms. Placing a smoke detector near any windows, doors, or ducts can decrease how effective they are. CO detectors are even touchier than smoke detectors, and should be kept away from any heat source, dust, humidity, and extreme cold or hot temperatures.
  • Keep your detectors clean of debris. Dirty detectors can cause false alarms, which is why it’s important to clean the inside and outside of each one when you change the batteries. You can clean the inside of the detector of dust and debris by using either an air compressor or vacuum hose. The outside of the detector can be cleaned with a damp cloth. A clean detector guarantees it will only go off when it’s supposed to, and spares you the trouble of stressful false alarms.
  • Look into false alarms. A false alarm can be caused by a variety of reasons. If it starts to go off constantly, don’t just replace it, it’s time to investigate. A system that frequently goes off could simply be a matter of a bad location, such as being too close to the kitchen or bathroom. The batteries inside may have become loose or are in need of replacement. The detector could also just be a little dusty. If however, none of these solutions solves the constant chirping, it’s time to replace your detector.

Some Important Features to Consider

All homes should have detectors, both for safety and insurance. The technology for smoke and CO detectors has improved, which means it’s more than a matter of having detectors in your home, but deciding which ones will help you best. The most common smoke detector, the ionization smoke detector, is best at detecting fast flaming fires, but they’re bad at noticing slow, smoldering fires, often mistaking burnt food or steam for a fire. Photoelectric smoke systems work the exact opposite, best detecting slow smoldering fires, but much less responsive to fast flaming fires. Luckily there are dual-sensor smoke detectors, which work to sense but fast and slow fires. Besides choosing the type, there are a few additional features to consider.

  • Interconnecting detectors. Some detectors are built to interconnect without wires, and it’s a good feature to have. A home with detectors that can interconnect with each other means that if one goes off, the rest will go off, ensuring you don’t miss the alarm.
  • Digital carbon monoxide display. A digital display adds another layer of security, as it enables you to closely monitor the amount of carbon monoxide in your home. A CO detector goes off when the carbon monoxide in the room is at 70 parts per million (ppm), but 30 ppm is enough to harm people with heart conditions, pregnant women, and children.

How Ryan Gath Electric Can Help

The law requires that every home in the state contains a photoelectric smoke detector, no matter when the home was constructed. This means you need a smoke detector on every floor and within 20 feet of a kitchen or bathroom. You also must have a smoke detector right by every room in which someone sleeps. In short, any room in the house can benefit from smoke detector installation. Why put your family’s health at risk?

Schedule smoke detector replacement as soon as it is necessary or schedule smoke detector installation for new construction or if your home is not yet up to code. We’re ready to help you today! 

By Maggie Tobin

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