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Things to remember when installing a smoke alarm

With this in mind, Fire Prevention Canada says homeowners should take several things into account when they’re installing their smoke detector so that they’re protected.

Install in central location

For example, in order for smoke detectors to be effective, they should be set up in an area of the house where it can be easily heard. Thus, FPC recommends having them mounted on the ceiling or any part of the house that leads to an occupied area, such as a stairway or hall. They should not be installed next to doors or windows, as these areas are often removed from centralized locations. In addition, it’s best to keep them removed from light fixtures, preferably two to three feet away.

Avoid setting them up during extreme temperature periods

It’s also important to make sure conditions are optimal for installation. FPC says that setting up smoke detectors should be avoided if the temperature is below 41 degrees Fahrenheit or above 119 degrees Fahrenheit. Other aspects that can have an impact on the temperature surrounding the alarm is if it’s installed next to a fan or vent. Thus, smoke detectors shouldn’t be near these types of devices.

Connecting alarms with home’s electrical unit

After following the manufacturer’s instructions for how to property affix the smoke detector, homeowners may have them connected to their home’s electric circuit. But if individuals aren’t familiar with electrician work, they should get in touch with a qualified electrical contractor about what they should do. In addition, FPC says smoke detectors should not be connected to any circuit except the main panel. Once the electrical set-up is complete, homeowners should test the alarm to make sure it works properly.

Smoke alarms require maintenance

Though properly installing smoke detectors is the most important way in which to minimize damage, the alarm needs to be maintained throughout its life. FPC says homeowners can do this by marking off specific days on the calendar so that they can remember when it’s time to do certain things.

For example, six months after installing the device, the source recommends having the alarm thoroughly cleaned by ridding it of dust that can collect on the outside and inside. This can be done with a vacuum or duster. On a monthly basis, the detector should be tested by pressing the test button to ensure the alarm sounds.

While some people may opt to have their detectors connected to their home’s electrical panel, a more convenient way is installing ones that are battery operated. However, with this convenience comes added maintenance. For example, batteries only have a certain amount of power, so they need to be replaced fairly routinely. Alarms often indicate when they’re low on power by emitting a short “beep” sound, but in general, they should be replaced on a yearly basis at minimum.

Replace alarm every five to 10 years

Another important aspect of smoke detector maintenance is knowing when to have them removed and replaced. FPR notes that most alarms have a lifespan of 10 years, but some models only last five years. Check with the manufacturer to see what its lifespan is and replace them when the time comes, as age diminishes the effectiveness of smoke alarms’ detection capabilities.

Things to remember when installing a smoke alarm

While smoke alarms may not prevent fires from taking place, they can go a long way toward minimizing the damage and property insurance claims that can result from them.