Thursday, February 20, 2014

How Old Is Your Smoke Detector?

Three people recently died and another was injured in Plaistow, NH from carbon monoxide poisoning. They had a carbon monoxide detector in the house. Sadly, the unit did not have functioning batteries in it.

Do you have a smoke detector where you are living? A carbon monoxide detector?  Here in Massachusetts you are required by law to have both. Other states have their own rules but this is something small that you can do to help keep you and your family safe.

Have smoke detectors on every floor. Have carbon monoxide detectors.  You can even get one combined unit that does both. Change the batteries twice a year even if you don't think it is necessary. Yes the units beep when the battery starts to fail but what if you were away for a couple of days and never heard it?

We have combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in our house. There is one on every floor and extras upstairs in the bedrooms. In the hallway outside our bedroom, we just installed a combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector that has a built in battery designed to last for ten years. This way if I happen to miss the regular changing of the batteries, I still have the one outside of our room that I do not have to worry about. It was more expensive than the battery operated units but it brings literally years of peace of mind.

I make the changing of the batteries correspond with a holiday weekend so I will remember to do it twice a year. Our batteries get changed Memorial Day weekend and Thanksgiving weekend. It is not exactly six months but it is a lot easier for me to remember than some random days of the year.

If you do not have detectors, get them now. If you can not remember the last time you changed those batteries, go ahead and change them now. Then pick out a couple of holidays and start making a point to change them. You could also schedule it on your smartphone or email to remind you. You can also press the test button to tell if they are still functioning. Always press the test button after installing new batteries to make sure the unit is functioning properly. (You may want to cover your ears as it can be loud.)

The units start out pretty cheap and it is a simple step to keep your family safe. Do it now so that if your furnace starts spitting out carbon monoxide fumes, you will be ready and safe.

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