I'm always thinking about how I can help people stay safe and comfortable in their homes. Wintry weather has been a bit slow in coming, but our furnaces started working a few months ago. That's when I started worrying about fires and carbon monoxide leaks. The good news is, most tragedies caused by these hazards can be avoided. Depend on me to show you how easy it is to take a few simple steps to protect your home and your loved ones. Make sure your home is equipped with fire and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors.
- Read the instructions that come with your detectors to find out how to test it to make sure it's working at all times.
- Change the batteries once per year, unless testing shows new batteries are needed sooner.
- Replace smoke alarms every 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors every five years.
Don't be embarrassed if you find choosing smoke and CO detectors a bit confusing. There are a lot of options, but these are the most important things to consider:
- Only purchase alarms that carry the UL listing. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certify smoke and CO detectors.
- Flaming fires and smoky, smoldering fires release different types of particles into the air. Look for alarms that have sensors capable of detecting both types of particles.
- The type of smoke and CO alarms commonly purchased at hardware stores are battery-powered. Hardwired alarms get power from your house's electricity source. There are also plug-in carbon monoxide detectors available. If you choose hardwired or plug-in options, make sure they have a backup battery option in case of a power outage.
- Think about whether you would prefer a beeping alarm or a voice alert. Flashing lights are also available for people with hearing impairments. Some carbon monoxide detectors also have digital readouts. This lets you monitor the level of CO in the air at all times.
- Each floor of your home should have a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. It's particularly important to mount them near bedrooms to wake you if smoke or CO is detected in the middle of the night. Avoid installing them in bathrooms, the kitchen or garage. These are rooms where humidity, cooking, and car exhaust may cause false alarms. Also, install them at least 15 feet away from combustion appliances to avoid false readings.
For more on choosing and using carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms, contact Steve Schneider at Schneider's Heating and Air Conditioning, at
Next time I'll get into why it's important to check and change your heating system's air filters, and how to do it.
Stay safe and enjoy your health.