One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect you and your family from fires is to install smoke alarms in your home. Thankfully, the majority of homes now have smoke alarms installed when homes are built. However, almost three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms or smoke alarms that failed to operate. If you are living in a home and you notice that there are no smoke alarms, call us at McDowell’s Speciality Repairs. We will come out to your home and install smoke alarms ASAP. We want you to have the peace of mind knowing that your family is safe and protected.

Why Do You Need A Smoke Alarm?

Smoke alarms will warn you of a fire when you are asleep or if you are busy in another room in your home. They will provide you with extra warning time even when you are awake and they will make a very loud beeping noise that will wake you up if you are asleep. A common misconception is that you will smell the smoke of a fire and it will wake you up from even a deep sleep. Even if you’re awake, people believe they will smell a fire that may have started in a different room of the house. These myths are NOT true. Many fires produce odorless gases that are extremely toxic. You will not be able to smell these gases until it is much too late. If you are sleeping, you will be overcome by these gases before even having the time to wake up first. Smoke alarms are life saving warnings that allow you to wake up and get out of your house before you are trapped by the fire or smoke.
Smoke alarms are inexpensive. Battery-operated smoke alarms are available for under $10. Batteries for the smoke alarms can be purchased for around $1 or $2 each. Some of the more modern smoke alarms are available with lithium lifetime batteries. These smoke alarms can be found for approximately $20 and can last for up to 10 years.

Installing Smoke Alarms

One smoke alarm is not enough. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that each floor of a home should have at least one smoke alarm and there should be one smoke alarm outside of each sleeping area in your home. For example, you live in a home with a basement, a first floor with one bedroom, and a second floor with three bedrooms. You will need one smoke alarm in the basement, at least two on the first floor, and at least three on the second floor – one outside of each bedroom. The best place for a smoke alarm is on the ceiling. Try to avoid installing smoke alarms in areas that regularly become hot or cold such as near windows, doors or fireplaces. It’s best to avoid installing smoke alarms in kitchens or bathrooms where steam is common. You should also not install smoke alarms in garages or attics. Read the instructions on the manufacturer instructions for your smoke alarms to make sure everything is done properly.

How To Maintain A Smoke Alarm

Maintenance is the key to safety. Many people have smoke alarms that don’t work. Having a smoke alarm that doesn’t work can be a fatal mistake. Like most equipment in your home, smoke alarms require proper maintenance. The first requirement is to change the batteries in your smoke alarms. For most smoke alarms, you will need to change the batteries once a year. If you have a 10-year lithium powered alarm, you may need to change the batteries only when the alarm fails a test. A smart way to remember when to change your batteries and when to test your smoke alarms is to do it every time you change your clocks for Daylight Savings time every fall and spring. Use quality batteries and after installing, test your smoke alarms to make sure they are working. Most smoke alarms have low battery alert alarms that beep when the battery is low. If you hear this, change the batteries immediately.
Testing a smoke alarm is also important. To do so, push the test button on the alarm. If the alarm sounds, it has passed the test. If the alarm does not sound, change the batteries and try again. If the alarm still does not sound, the alarm is defective and it needs to be replaced.
Cleaning your smoke alarm is also important. The alarm vents can sometimes become clogged with dirt or dust. This will cause the smoke alarm to not work properly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean the vents. In most cases you can use a vacuum cleaner. Just be sure to NEVER paint a smoke alarm; the paint will clog the vents and the smoke alarm will be useless.
Smoke alarms save lives. If your home has smoke alarms, make sure they’re clean, up to date on maintenance, and have new batteries. We understand that this can be overwhelming and that is why we are here to help. Call us today and we will have one of our trusted professionals come out to your home and make sure you and your family’s lives are in good hands.
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