Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are essential safety devices that every home in North County should have installed to keep you and your family safe. Smoke detectors alert you to potential fire in your home by sensing smoke particles and sounding an alarm. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can be fatal at certain levels, so you need a detector that will trigger when it senses the presence of CO in your home’s air.
As with any other appliance in your home, the sensors in your smoke and CO detectors can wear out, so they need to be tested and replaced regularly. If you’re not sure if it’s time for replacements, the home professionals at Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air can dvise you. Contact us online or call 760-935-6101 to make an appointment.
Smoke detectors must be installed correctly and properly maintained to make sure that they can protect you and your family.
Smoke detectors should be installed on the ceiling, as smoke tends to rise before it fills a room. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends smoke alarms be installed on every level of your home, in each bedroom and in hallways near bedrooms.
Working batteries are important! In 41% of fires where smoke alarms were installed but did not operate, the cause was dead or disconnected batteries, according to the National Fire Protection Association. People sometimes remove the batteries if the detector goes off when they are cooking. This practice should be avoided, as it’s very easy to forget to put them back in.
“Change your clocks, change your batteries” is a good rule of thumb—in other words, change the batteries in all your smoke detectors when you change your clocks in the spring and fall. If your smoke detector occasionally beeps, your battery may be dying. If the problem continues after you swap in a new battery, contact Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air to schedule an inspection.
Types of Smoke Detectors
Replaceable battery smoke detectors
The most common type of US home smoke detector is the replaceable battery type. These use some variety of regular household battery (9v, AAA, AA, etc.). Batteries should be tested a month and replaced twice a year (see above).
10-year battery alarms
These types of smoke detectors come pre-installed with a sealed battery. While the batteries do not need to be replaced, they should still be tested every month.
Hard-wired smoke detectors
These types of detectors are hard-wired into your electrical system, and they also have a battery for backup in case your electricity goes out. When the time comes to have your hard-wired alarm replaced, you should make sure to use the same type from the same manufacturer.
When to Replace Your Smoke Detector
Nearly all smoke alarms and detectors come with a sticker with a replacement date, but the rule is to install a new one every 10 years. In addition, all detectors have a test button that will sound a loud beep when pressed. Test your alarm every month to make sure it’s working. If not, check the batteries or replace the unit.
It’s time to replace your smoke detector if:
- It is more than 10 years old
- The alarm is beeping and changing the batteries does not fix the problem
- The alarm fails the monthly test
- You have recently had a fire
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, invisible, and most importantly poisonous gas that is produced by appliances like your furnace or dryer vent, or your fireplace or chimney. Gas-powered items can also emit carbon monoxide. This is a very dangerous gas if not detected—more than 400 people in the U.S. die from carbon monoxide poison every year, according to the CDC. So it is very important to make sure to have these serviced regularly to prevent any potential CO leaks, and to have a fully functioning detector.
Check your CO detector batteries
As with your smoke detector, the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors should be tested every month and replaced twice a year. In fact, you should make it a point to check the batteries in both devices at the same time to make sure your home is fully protected.
CO detectors – where and how many?
Just like smoke detectors, a CO detector should be installed on every level of your home, within 10 feet of each bedroom. If you have an attached garage, make sure to have a CO detector near the entry to your house. While smoke detectors should be mounted on the ceiling, carbon monoxide detectors should installed at or above eye level on a wall. This is because carbon monoxide gas is heavier and doesn’t rise to the ceiling in most indoor spaces.
When to Replace Your Carbon Monoxide Detector
You can expect your carbon monoxide detector to keep your home safe for five to seven years. Look for a label on the device with an expiration date. If you don’t see one and you don’t know when the detector was installed, it’s best to assume it should be replaced. Some detectors also have a built-in alarm when it’s nearing the end of its useful life—check the back of the alarm for specifics.
Always replace your carbon monoxide detector if:
- It is more than five to seven years old
- If you don’t know how old it is
- The alarm signals an end-of-life signal
- The alarm fails the monthly test
Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors come in a variety of options.
Digital read-out CO detectors allow you to see the current concentration of carbon monoxide in your home via a digital readout, displayed in parts per million (ppm). These alarms run on typical household batteries.
Hard-wired CO detectors connect directly to your electrical supply and have battery backup. Some have digital readouts as well. Hard-wired CO detectors should be installed by a qualified electrician.
Combined smoke and CO detectors are exactly what they sound like—two detectors in one. While they seem convenient, these detectors have a drawback because smoke detectors should be positioned on the ceiling, while CO detectors should be installed on the wall.
Smoke and CO detectors provide safety and peace of mind
Keeping your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors up to date is an important element to making sure you have a save environment for you and your family.