1. Test your alarms! Every month! Use a broom handle or step ladder to reach the test button and hold for 30 seconds. If your alarm does not sound check and/or replace your battery. If after replacing the battery it still doesn't signal an alarm then you MUST replace it IMMEDIATELY!
2. Vacuum the carbon monoxide and smoke alarms occasionaly but at least once in the spring and once in the fall. The smoke alarm depends on being able to detect the smallest particles of smoke and with a dusty device it may fail and not provide sufficient warning.
3. The Ontario Fire Marshall recommends that smoke alarms be replaced if:
a) The smoke alarm does not sound an alarm during the test (after it is confirmed that the battery is fully charged or the AC power supply is not disconnected).
b) The exterior of the case is physically damaged.
c) The exterior case is painted.
d) The unit is covered with smoke stains, heavy grease or dirt accumulations.
e) The smoke alarm causes frequent false alarms that are not the result of cooking or steam.
f) Batteries show evidence of leakage or corrosion.
g) The smoke alarm is more than 10 years old or has exceeded the manufacturer's recommended life cycle.
Note that some manufacturers have a timer installed in your detector that will warn you (steady annoying beeping) when the unit must be replaced. Don't ignore it. Your life depends on it! Read more