Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Maintenance Tips

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With the warmer months quickly approaching, now is a good time to get a head start on your Spring home maintenance.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide detectors are two of the most important safety devices you can install in your home. Additionally, once installed, it is absolutely vital to test them regularly to ensure that they will work during a fire or gas leak.

Check out some of our maintenance tips to ensure you and your family are safe:


Smoke Detector Maintenance

When selecting a smoke detector, keep the following in mind:

  • Photoelectric units are better for smouldering fires—such as electrical fires in the walls—so they’re ideal for kitchens and bathrooms where these fires tend to occur.
  • Ionization units give the surrounding air an electrical charge and then measure whether the charge remains constant or if a fire consumes the oxygen in the air. These units are better suited to areas where fires get out of control, such as a basement or near a furnace.

Use this guide to ensure that your smoke detectors are working properly:

  • Press the test button on the unit and wait for it to sound.
  • Light a candle and hold it 15 centimetres below the detector so the heated air will rise into the detector.
  • If the alarm doesn’t sound within 20 seconds, blow the candle and let the smoke rise.
  • If the alarm still doesn’t sound, open the detector and clean the unit. Then, test the unit again.
  • If the detector still isn’t working, it should be replaced immediately.

Replacing smoke detector batteries is critical to their usefulness. A great way to remember to change your smoke detectors’ batteries is to do so twice a year during Daylight Savings Time. When you set your clocks forward or back an hour, also change your smoke detectors’ batteries to keep your home and your family safe.


CO: The Silent Killer

To protect you and your loved ones, follow these prevention tips:

  • Check your appliances to ensure that the flame colour is blue. If it is orange, contact the fire department immediately.
  • Have a professional do a safety inspection annually on all of your appliances, as well as your chimney and grill, to make sure they are in safe working order and clean.
  • Operate grills outside of your home and garage.
  • Do not leave your car running in an attached garage, even if the door is open.
  • Never rely on ranges, ovens, gas grills or clothes dryers to heat your home.
  • Never operate fuel-burning items such as space heaters and lawn mowers in closed rooms.
  • If you or other family members are feeling ill frequently at home, leave for several hours to see if your symptoms go away. If so, you may all be suffering from CO poisoning.

CO is produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid or gaseous fuels from household items such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and fireplaces. If these items are used or installed improperly, dangerous levels of CO can escape into the air and cause illness.

In addition to a smoke detector, install a CO detector on every level of your home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and place away from furniture and curtains to get accurate detection results.