There is no place like home — a place of ultimate security and where you and your loved ones feel safe and protected. But sometimes accidents are unforeseeable. Being prepared helps to buy you time to escape, evacuate and protect what matters most to you — family and lives. There are many ways to prevent a house fire, utilising a smoke alarm is one of the easiest ways and is the best investment for household safety.
Why are smoke alarms important?
Installing a smoke alarm is crucial as it stands guard around the clock. Most fatal fires happen when families are asleep, leaving them with insufficient time to evacuate. A well-functioning smoke alarm will promptly trigger a shrill alarm giving a family some precious minutes to leave the house in safety.
How to install a battery-operated smoke alarm?
Setting up a smoke detector can sound like such a chore. However, installing a battery-powered smoke detector is very simple compared to the hard-wired ones. Anyone can install one and it can be just as easy as changing a lightbulb. All you will need is a stepladder and a drill to place the base plate of the smoke detector on the wall. Next, you’ll only need to place the required batteries on the base, place a cover over it - and job done.
How are smoke alarms powered?
Smoke detectors are either powered by batteries or household electricity. Battery-powered detectors are easier to install and since they remain on duty during a power outage, they are usually more reliable under critical conditions. To ensure your battery-powered smoke detector is operating properly, it is essential to choose the right battery for your appliance.
How to choose the right battery for smoke alarms?
Smoke detector with 10-year sealed battery
These detectors are powered by sealed lithium batteries with a life span of 10 years. Pros? You do not have to replace the batteries until the power dies down for 10 years, the detector will fire an end-of-life warning, signalling replacement. The downsides of a 10-year smoke detector are that it is 1-2 times more expensive than a detector with replaceable batteries. Also, when the batteries are weak or the detector malfunctions, the whole device will have to be replaced.
Smoke detector with replaceable batteries
This type of alarm is more affordable and budget-friendly compared with the former one. Most are powered by 9V and AA alkaline batteries, with some exceptions using coin cell batteries. With a wide variety of batteries on the market, it might be confusing to choose the right one for your smoke detector. We have summed up a table below to guide you through picking the perfect battery for your fire-safety device:
If you are still unsure of which battery to choose, it is advised to pick batteries developed especially for smoke detectors and in compliance with safety standards. GP carbon zinc and alkaline batteries are evaluated and tested for reliability and have obtained the UL217 certification on Safety Smoke Alarm Standard (UTGT.S3277).
How to maintain your smoke detector batteries?
- Test your sensor at least once a month by pushing the test button (yes! it is easy as that!) to ensure proper operation.
- Wipe and vacuum the detector regularly to get rid of false-alarms-inducing dust.
- If you have more than one detector in your home, change all the batteries of all detector together.
- If you are using a battery-operated detector, the batteries should be replaced every 6 months - 1 year, or according to the suggested period advised by the smoke detectors’ manufacturer.
- Always handle the batteries properly and responsibly after use. Check out our previous blog to learn more on battery handling tips and the proper way for battery disposal.
- Lastly, aged heat and smoke sensors get less sensitive, make sure to replace it if it is 10 years old.
Does your smoke alarm beep every minute?
A smoke alarm chirps intermittently when its batteries become weak. This mechanism is alerting you that the batteries need to be replaced.
How to change smoke alarm batteries?
If you hear the smoke alarm chirping or beeping, this can indicate that it is time to replace its batteries.
- Remove the smoke alarm cover by gently twisting it and remove any tamper proof pins.
- Remove the 9V or AA battery from its compartment and place the brand new GP lithium or alkaline battery on the safety lid.
- Attach and lock the cover to the base and put back any tamper proof pins.
- Press the test button on the surface of the detector to test if the battery is operating properly.
Regardless of the type of detector you choose, always choose one that complies with international safety standards. With proper maintenance, smoke detectors can save lives and prevent potential tragedies. With that being said, we should not let our guard down when it comes to fire hazards – always turn off fire when you are away, do not smoke indoors, and toddlers education is also essential. There is no 100% guarantee that a fire will never occur. But paying attention to fire precautions and equipping with fire-safety devices will help you to reduce the risk of a home fire and protect what matters most.