Today’s lesson…Be sure you have good smoke AND carbon monoxide alarms!

Dr. David Powers
3 min readJul 31

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Today’s lesson is a weird one.

First, pretty much every house has a smoke alarm.

Second, most of you ignore them or don’t know anything about them.

It’s just one of those ubiquitous items that’s always there, always been there, and you only notice when you’re aggravated by it chirping or screeching at your cooking.

In my house we call it the oven timer. If it goes off, dinner’s done.

For this week’s lesson, I’ll be short and sweet. I’ll tell you why you should check yours, what you should have, and how to do easy maintenance.

Why you should check your alarms…

  • If you already have alarms that your builder installed, they’re probably the cheapest ones available that he could buy in bulk or he bought the cheapest available at Lowe’s that would pass code.
  • If you haven’t heard your alarms go off in awhile, not even the low battery chirp, you should test them.
  • If you don’t know what kind of alarms you have, better find out now.

What should you have for fire alarms…

  • Your alarm should be for both smoke AND carbon monoxide.
  • It should be from a reputable name brand company. This isn’t the place to go cheapest available.
  • You need several, so look for a deal to buy a good one in bulk.
  • The ones at this link HERE are the actual alarms I have in my own home and office. It’s from First Alert. Kidde is another reputable brand.

What maintenance is required…

  • Replace the batteries annually or if it ever chirps. Don’t install cheap dollar store batteries either. I like Energizer Max for price and longevity.
  • Vacuum the vent panels at least quarterly. More if needed.
  • Replace the alarm every 10 years, as the sensors can eventually deteriorate.
  • Test the alarm quarterly with smoke or a smoke detector tester. If you press the button and it works, that only confirms that the button works, not the…
Dr. David Powers

Dr. David Powers is an adventurer, philosopher, and pioneer.