Clean or Replace Smoke Detectors... or both?
Smoke detectors are generally out of your normal vision and typically positioned on or near the ceilings in the interior of your home. Like any other common, household item, it is easy to forget they are even there… until that ear-piercing chirp starts up in the middle of the night waking up your children who finally fell asleep after singing a 4th song. Then, you know the drill. You have by now pulled a chair or stool with the only goal of removing the batteries so you can go back to sleep.
The truth is smoke detectors are one of the most valuable fire safety tools on the market. If you speak with your service provider, they recommend that by regularly cleaning and maintaining the detectors, you are helping ensure they come through for you when you need them most.
Clean or replace? Nearly unavoidable airborne dust and other contaminants directly affect the smoke detector’s ability to accurately detect smoke. An easy way to tackle any contaminants such as household dust that has collected in the cobwebs around your detector is simply using the wand from your vacuum cleaner around the device. Going a step further would be removing the shell of the detector and reading the manufacturing instructions on vacuuming the inner components of your detector. It is encouraged to gain a grasp for how old your detectors are, as they are not designed to last forever. A consistent, scheduled change-out of the batteries is a must, but it would be worth your time to determine approximately when the detectors were originally installed in your home, especially if you have lived in your home for less than 10 years but are unsure of the age of the existing detectors. It may be time to play it safe and replace all units so you can start fresh with scheduled cleaning and maintenance.