Homeowner Maintenance Made Easy: Smoke Detector

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are much more than another addition to your homeowner maintenance to-do list.

In fact, it’s not a bad idea to move them near the top of that list, to be safe. Guarding your household is exactly what they’re designed to do, so read on to discover how to keep them powered up and ready to function — just in case.

Homeowner Maintenance Made Easy: Smoke Detector - AdobeStock 569358431What smoke detectors do

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are common safety features in today’s new residential construction. Most function as a network, meaning if you forget to set the oven timer and end up scorching tonight’s dinner casserole, those billowing clouds not only will trip the kitchen smoke detector, it’ll also trip your home’s entire smoke-detector system.

Noisy! But necessary. You get accelerated notice of a threat no matter where you are in the house. The same goes if your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are combined in the same units, rather than as separate detectors.

But regardless of whether you have separate smoke-detector and carbon-monoxide detector units, or they’re combined in a single unit, keeping them in good working order is vital for protecting your household and home.

We at ICI Homes recommend that you check them monthly. We’ll help you do that below.

A two-step process

All you need is a sturdy ladder tall enough to comfortably reach your smoke detectors. It’s never a bad idea to recruit a family member to brace the ladder, and to help out by handing you new batteries, and taking the old ones for disposal.

Here’s another helpful tip: put in your wireless earbuds or don audio headphones before you get started, especially if you’re sensitive to loud noises. Your ear drums will thank you!

First, make sure each smoke detector is functioning. Press the test button on the unit’s surface. Hold it for a few seconds until the detector’s alarm sounds throughout your home (if you omitted the ear buds and/or headphones, checking the first detector might persuade you).

If a smoke detector doesn’t incite an alarm, it’s time to schedule an electrician. They’ll be able to diagnose the culprit and make sure the detector is connected to its electrical circuit and functioning as it should. If the issue is electrical, an experienced pro will find it.

If it’s battery-related, you’ll likely know it. Most of us have been awakened at night or annoyed during the day by sudden chirping somewhere in the house. That unmistakable shrill means a smoke-detector battery is going bad and needs replacing.

Grab the ladder, a fresh battery, and replace the old battery. Whether you replace one battery or multiple batteries, re-test your smoke detectors afterwards to be sure all are functioning properly.

For more helpful tips, take a look at the rest of our Homeowner Maintenance series.

Ready to find the home of your dreams? Talk with Florida’s Custom Home Builder, ICI Homes.