As parents' we take a lot of necessary precautions to ensure our families live in a safe environment. If we have small children we may put safety gates all over the house. Then we probably purchase safety kits that include door knob covers, drawer & cabinet latches, outlet protectors, toilet lid locks, etc. We take our car in for servicing when our brakes pads start making that awful grinding noise. But, do you know how old your smoke detector is? If you live in an older home, do you have a carbon monoxide detector or monitor?
We usually don't think about either until we hear that awful screeching chirp in the middle of the night or we see a tragic death on the news due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Both devices are critical to a safe home for both our family members and pets. And the cost of these to be installed and maintained is pennies in comparison to the value of lives.
How often do you need to replace your smoke detector? According to the National Fire Protection Association's website, "A smoke alarmâ€™s age can be determined by looking on the back or side of the smoke alarm, where the date of manufacture can be found. Smoke alarms should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase or installation). In addition, smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and batteries should be replaced when they begin to chirp, signaling that theyâ€™re running low." - nfpa.org.
There are a lot of steps involved in installing smoke detectors correctly according to fire and signaling codes. For instance, choose smoke alarms that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Smoke alarms should be installed at least 10 feet (3 meters) from a cooking appliance to minimize false alarms when cooking. Don't install smoke alarms near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms. When one smoke alarm sounds they all sound. Interconnection can be done using hard-wiring or wireless technology.
Because many households live in homes built to earlier standards, they often donâ€™t meet today's minimum requirements. However, it's imperative to recognize that detection needs have changed over the years. Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Take proactive steps to make sure that your home has a sufficient number of smoke alarms.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Monitors
Carbon monoxide detectors and monitors are extremely important and inexpensive. It's important to understand what carbon monoxide is. It is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that is near impossible to identify without a proper detector. It is caused by fuels not burning completely, including wood, gasoline, coal, propane, natural gas, gasoline, and heating oil. Every fuel-burning appliance in your home produces some levels of carbon monoxide. Normally those gasses are carried out of your home, but if something goes wrong a CO leak can be life-threatening. That's why it's so important to have carbon monoxide detectors to help warn you of excess CO in your air.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures site under CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR REQUIREMENTS, LAWS AND REGULATIONS posted on March 27, 2018, "Carbon monoxide poisoning is the second most common cause of non-medicinal poisonings death." According to the CDC, over 10,000 are poisoned by carbon monoxide needing medical treatment each year and more than 438 people in the U.S. die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Depending on your state, regulations, and statues differ on carbon monoxide detectors. To find the requirements in your state you can contact your state or local housing department. Again as when installing smoke detectors, it's important to place these detectors or monitors in ideal areas to maximize protection for your home. There are areas in your home where they should also not be placed. A licensed electrician is most ideal to call and have these installed.
What is the difference between a carbon monoxide detector and a monitor? A detector alerts you when dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are present in your home. While a monitor actively monitors and give you a digital reading of the amount that is in the air at all times. This reading informs you when higher than usual amounts of CO are in the air which is an early detection of a leak. These monitors can be a bit more than a detector. If you cannot afford a monitor, a detector is better than nothing at all.
If you need help in installing smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors or monitors, call Right Electrical Services. Simply call or schedule an appointment and keep your family safe and enjoy peace of mind.
Smoke alarms by the numbers
Download a free NFPA fact sheet about smoke alarms. (PDF)