Are your smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors installed and working properly? If not, they can’t warn your family when lethal gas is present or a fire occurs and smoke is spreading through your home.

To ensure they’re ready and able to sound a shrill, live-saving alarm, put a detector checkup at the top of your spring home maintenance to-do list.

Checking Smoke/CO Detectors Regularly is Crucial for Safety

If you’re not testing your detectors regularly, you won’t know if the batteries have died or if a key component has worn out or failed. You need to test each device once a month and replace the batteries twice a year. This is critical even if your detectors are hard-wired, since your safety during a power outage depends on having functional back-up batteries.

How to Test Smoke Detectors

It’s best to check your owner’s manual for specific instructions, but generally, both battery-operated and hard-wired smoke detectors can be tested as follows:

  • Locate the “test” button then press and hold it down – After a few seconds, the detector should emit a shrill, ear-piercing sound. If there’s no noise or the alarm is weak, replace the batteries and test it again.
  • Test each device for smoke sensitivity – Hold two or three lighted wooden matches up to each detector, then blow out the flames to see if the smoke sets off the alarm.
  • Make sure the alarms are heard loud and clear – Have a family member go as far from the device as possible to determine if the alarm is audible. If the sound is weak or muffled in certain areas, it’s wise to have additional detectors installed.

For safety, you should have a detector on each level of your home and in every bedroom. If your detection devices are over 10 years old, or you’re concerned whether there’s an adequate number placed in the correct locations, hiring a professional handyman to tackle installation and maintenance can provide peace of mind.

For expert help taking care of critical spring home maintenance tasks, contact the Cincinnati area’s comfort pros at Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.