Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Maintenance

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Fires and carbon monoxide are both dangerous scenarios for any house. Homes without a smoke detector account for more than half of house fire related fatalities, according to FEMA. When properly maintained, the smoke and carbon monoxide detector can be a life saving device. Smoke is easy to detect not only by the device but also from other indicators to people. On the other hand, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, making it a silent killer. Without proper alarms residents wouldn’t be able to detect the danger before it is too late.

Smoke Detector Beeping

An irritating problem is a detector intermittently emitting single beeps. First, make sure it isn’t the alarm going off because of carbon monoxide. If it is a regular maintenance alert, then remedy the problem as soon as possible.

smoke detector beeping and testThe most common cause is the battery. Most units use a single nine volt battery as a backup source in case of a blackout. Replace it to see if that solves the problem.

Another common issue is dust in the housing. The dust can block the sensor and set off the alarm. Pull the cover off the detector and use a can of compressed air to blow the dust out of the electronics. If no dust is apparent, then it may be pests. Look for cockroaches, spiders, and other insects. Clean them out and use pest control methods to prevent the problem from happening again.

Routine Maintenance

Fires can result from neglecting chimney sweeps, electrical short circuits, and open flames. Be prepared. Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detector in your house as a part of monthly maintenance. Most units are tested by pressing the “test” button while some more advanced units will test when a flashlight is shined on it. The alarm will beep once if everything checks out for most products. Replace defective units. Never test the smoke sensor with an open flame.

Some modern units have an automatic test function that runs on a weekly schedule. These units will only need a good cleaning with compressed air every month.

Need helpful maintenance reminders?

Tyler Golberg

Tyler is the founder of Home Maintenance Tracker and a writer for HomeSpot HQ, an easy to use tool for managing maintence and projects for every house.