Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Home Owners Guide: Smoke Detector Maintenance

Smoke detectors are essential in saving lives if there was ever a fire in your home. Most home owners heed the recommendations to test their smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries twice a year at the daylight’s saving time switch. But were you aware that smoke detectors will not work forever? Did you know that you should periodically dust or vacuum your smoke detectors?

Our two-story home built almost ten years ago, has several hard wired smoke detectors located strategically throughout our home. There is one in each upstairs bedroom and one in the upstairs main hallway, one in the main floor hallway near the kitchen and one in the basement. When we added an addition to the home a few years ago another smoke detector was hardwired into the system with the others. We felt protected!

We always check our smoke detectors and change the batteries but this winter we found out about how smoke detectors can malfunction. And that these malfunctions like to happen around 2 a.m.! Various smoke detectors started to chirp shortly after we had installed the fresh new batteries this past fall. They would chirp and we would get out of bed to check to see which one it was. Then they would just stop. At one point, the smoke detector in the kitchen went off as if there truly was a fire. After a few days of little sleep, I did some research and discovered that it is very important to vacuum the dust off of your smoke detector. Could this be the solution? Possibly, since the chirping seemed to coincide with our forced air furnace turning on.

So we vacuumed every one of our smoke detectors. A few days later the chirping started up again. Only with one of the detectors the one in the upstairs hallways near the bedrooms. It only chirps four times and stops but still interrupts a good night’s sleep. So I do more research and read that smoke detectors need to be replaced every 10 years. Well, the time is up for these guys. I need some sleep!

Important Smoke Detector Facts:


  • Do a Monthly Battery Check

  • Vacuum or dust the smoke detector on a regular basis

  • Change batteries when low and twice annually (Daylight’s Savings Time change is a good way to remember.)

  • Don’t disconnect the chirping alarm—Change the battery.

  • Don’t paint over a smoke detector.

  • Replace all smoke detectors after 10 years

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call. Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.


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