10.04.13It’s important to never overlook the importance of having working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in your home. Like many appliances and systems in your home, smoke alarms and CO detectors require yearly maintenance. It’s important to know certain facts to properly maintain these detection devices for the safety of your family.

While the function of smoke alarms is obvious, you may be wondering why your home needs a carbon monoxide (CO) detector. This colorless and odorless toxic gas is emitted by fuel-burning equipment and is often called “the silent killer.” In properly maintained and functioning appliances and heating or cooking systems, any CO is safely vented away. But a malfunction – such as a detached vent from your gas-powered water heater or a broken heat exchanger in the furnace – can lead to CO leaking into your home’s air.

When it comes to maintaining the smoke alarms and CO detectors in your house, please keep in mind these simple facts to ensure the safety of your family:

  • Smoke alarms should be replaced every eight to 10 years; this pertains to both hardwired and battery-operated smoke alarms. CO detectors should be replaced every five to seven years.
  • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month.
  • Clean the small screens around the sensing chamber yearly.
  • Replace batteries yearly, in battery-operated smoke alarms and CO detectors.
  • Make sure you have a sufficient number of smoke and CO alarms in proper areas of your home, including near sleeping areas.
  • Never disable your smoke alarms, especially while cooking. Open a window and clear the air by fanning a towel. If the smoke alarm goes off, use the hush button.
  • A “chirping” sound coming from your smoke alarm or CO detector indicates the batteries need replaced.
  • Never place CO detectors near fuel-burning appliances because safe trace amounts of CO can trigger false alarms. Do place a CO detector near the door to the attached garage, since this is one potential source of deadly CO.

For more expert advice on smoke alarms and CO detectors, our experts at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal will be happy to assist you. Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal has been proudly serving northwest Arkansas homeowners for over 40 years.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about maintenance and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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