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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

When Do You Replace The Batteries In Smoke Alarms

3/25/2019 (Permalink)

Testing a smoke alarm once a month will help to determine when the batteries need to be replaced.

Daylight Saving Time began a few weeks ago, and hopefully, you and your family have adjusted by now. Everyone is feeling as rested as they can, eating at the “right” time, and felling “normal.” But do you have a nagging sensation that you have forgotten something? Have you changed the batteries in your smoke detector since the time change? Since the last time change? In the past 365 days? When was the last time you changed the batteries or at least checked them?

There once was the idea that you should change out the batteries in your smoke detector every six months, and you used the changing of the clocks as a reminder. But batteries have changed, and smoke detector technology has also changed. So, are every six months guidelines even applicable anymore? That depends on who you ask.

In 2015 Consumer Reports answered a reader’s question about how often they should replace their smoke alarm’s batteries, and the answer was a little vague: “It’s true that a lithium 9-volt battery will probably last longer than an alkaline 9V (which in turn should last longer than a carbon-zinc 9V). But how much longer depends on a smoke alarm’s power drain.” But they also stated that the conservative six-month time frame was out of caution and safety and that is why it still a good idea, and if the old battery still has power use it for something that is not related to safety. That is good advice; you are still changing out the batteries but saving cost elsewhere. But you may want something a little more concrete for an answer.

On the other hand, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have a few different recommendations and best practices to maintain the smoke detectors in your home. They recommend replacing the batteries in smoke alarms with removable batteries at least once a year, and smoke detectors with non-removable ten-year batteries are completely replaced after ten years. Testing the alarms once a month is recommended to ensure that they are working correctly, no matter what type of smoke alarm you have. And if you hear a smoke alarm chirping that indicates a low battery and it needs to be replaced (not just removed, so the chirping stops).

So the “every six months” rule may be antiquated because of changes in technology, but safety doesn’t change. Testing the batteries once a month and replacing them once a year can help to ensure your family’s safety and peace of mind. Besides, you can still use the beginning or end of Daylight Saving Time to schedule the replacement.

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