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Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Important Information

With today’s modern furnishings, fires can spread much faster than in the past. It is essential to install smoke detectors correctly and making sure they are in working order to give you warning to get out quickly.

Smoke detectors should be installed on each level of the house, including the basement, and within 15 feet of every sleeping area. Smoke detectors should be installed in every bedroom. Placement should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Basement installation should be on the ceiling at the bottom of the stairs leading to the next level. Keep smoke detectors at least 10 feet away from a cooking appliance to avoid false alarms.

  • Purchase only smoke detectors that are UL listed
  • Test your smoke detector at least once a month by pressing the test button 
  • Replace worn batteries twice a year – a good practice is to change batteries when you change your clocks  
  • Clean smoke detectors at least once a year to prevent dust build up that can decrease sensitivity
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years, or as directed by the manufacturer. 
  • Make sure detectors are working when you return home after an extended absence
  • Hard wired smoke detectors should be tested, cleaned and replaced as often as non-wired detectors.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless and nonirritating gas that is a natural by-product of combustion when fuel-burning appliances are operating. These appliances can include gas furnaces, gas water heaters, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ranges or ovens, gas dryers, kerosene heaters, charcoal/gas grills, lawn mowers, snow blowers, and chain saws. A crack in the flue system, blocked chimney, appliance malfunction or car left running in an attached garage are some of the ways CO can leak indoors, making residents sick.

Exposure to lower levels of CO over several hours can be just as dangerous as exposure to higher levels for a few minutes. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic the flu and include headache, fatigue, sleepiness, nausea, trouble breathing, diarrhea and dizziness.

  • Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every level of the home and within 15 feet of sleeping areas.
  • Purchase carbon monoxide detectors that are UL or FM approved.
  • Follow manufacturer’s directions for installation.
  • Test them regularly and make sure they are maintained properly according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors powered by electric current are required to have a battery back-up in the event of a power failure.