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How To Maintain Smoke Alarms?

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How To Maintain Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms are an important part of any home fire safety plan, and it is important to know how to properly maintain them. They are compulsory in Australian residential buildings, and must be installed on or near the ceiling of every storey. Indeed, fire safety experts everywhere recommend these devices.

Here are some tips on how to maintain smoke alarms:

Test smoke alarms at least once a month

There are several ways to test your smoke alarms. One of these is pushing the test button. You should hear the smoke detector beep when you do.

Another way to test your alarms is by waving a lit incense stick near the alarm, using a lit candle, or canned smoke. The smoke should trigger the alarm.

If the smoke alarm fails to make a sound, then that’s an indication it’s not working.

Expert Tip: Don’t blow canned smoke directly into your smoke detector. Also, using an aerosol to blow compressed air into smoke detectors to clear smoke doesn’t speed up the process. It’s much more effective to fan the air around the smoke alarm to clear the smoke out. 

Clean smoke alarms regularly 

Smoke alarms should be dusted and vacuumed regularly to prevent them from being clogged with dirt and debris. This is especially important if you live in an area with a lot of dust.

Dust, pollen, cobwebs, and smoke can make the sensor in your smoke alarms dirty, which can prevent them from operating properly in case of a fire.

Follow your manufacturer’s recommendations when carrying out routine cleanings.

These recommendations may include removing the smoke detector’s face, then using a soft brush attachment to gently brush and vacuum inside.

You should also wipe down the outside vents of the alarm to ensure that airflow to the sensor inside isn’t obstructed. Some mild detergent and a clean wipe should suffice to remove any build-up from the outside of your smoke alarm. Don’t use chemical cleaners as they can contaminate the smoke alarm’s sensors.

You can clean your smoke detectors monthly, but you should definitely do it once every six months, at the very least.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions to keep smoke alarms working well

Be sure to follow your manufacturer’s instructions for how often to change the batteries in your smoke alarms. This is usually once a year, but may be more often if you live in an area with extreme temperatures.

Even when you have a mains-powered smoke alarm, you should still test its backup battery regularly.

You should also check the manufacturer’s instructions for how to properly clean and maintain your smoke alarms.

Additionally, follow smoke alarm installation instructions carefully. This will ensure your alarms are placed in the best possible locations to protect you and your family in case of fire.

Replace smoke alarms every 10 years to achieve optimum performance

Most smoke alarms have a life expectancy of about 10 years. After this time, they will no longer be as effective in detecting smoke and fires. So, it’s important to replace them with new ones.

Since most smoke alarms have a use-by date printed on them, you should check it when you buy them. You can usually find this on the back or bottom of the alarm.

A tell-tale sign your smoke detector needs replacing is if it continues to make ‘chirping’ or beeping noises after you’ve changed its battery.

Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond

When a smoke alarm sounds, it should be taken seriously. All family members should know how to respond. This includes evacuating the premises and calling the fire department.

It’s a great idea to practice the following simple rules in case smoke alarms go off when a fire is happening:

  1. Get down and stay low to avoid inhaling smoke.
  2. Close the doors on your way out if it’s safe. Doing so slows down the spread of smoke and fire.
  3. Alert other occupants on your way out.
  4. Get out and don’t go back inside for any reason.
  5. Head to your pre-selected meeting point, where you can account for everyone.
  6. Call triple zero (000) for help and ask for FIRE. You may do so from a neighbour’s house or from a safe location away from the fire.

When it comes to home fire safety, working smoke detectors is your first line of defence. By following the tips above, you can help ensure they work properly and are always ready to do their job.

Professional help can be beneficial

Get Glenco’s smoke alarm installation and maintenance services if you’d like:

  • Your smoke alarms cleaned so functionality isn’t compromised
  • Your smoke alarm’s battery power and operation checked for proper functioning
  • Expert advice on how to self-check your specific smoke detector and prolong its life and effectiveness

Remember, smoke alarms aren’t just a legal requirement, they may also be the only things that save your life or protect your assets. Maintain functional and sensitive smoke detectors to quickly extinguish fire threats and keep everyone and everything safe.

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