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Daylight Savings Time will soon come to and end, and those of us in the mid-Atlantic region will “fall back” to Eastern Standard Time. You might already know that many homeowners use the time change as a reminder to check their smoke alarm batteries as well. Here at the Daniel Howley Insurance Agency, we're all about safety.  So we urge you to get into the habit of changing your smoke alarm batteries as you reset your clocks marking the end of Daylight Savings Time to keep your family safe and protect your home from fire and smoke damage.  Moreover, this will help you to avoid homeowners insurance claims.

No one doubts the value of a reliable smoke alarm, but just having smoke alarms in your home isn't enough.It is important that they actually work if you are to be protected from fire damage.  Optimally, doing a quick check of your smoke alarms each month will ensure that they are ready to sound the warning should you need them.  Then, changing the batteries in each smoke detector at least once a year will ensure that they remain fresh and strong. 

Could a Smoke Alarm Stop Working?

There are a number of reasons that smoke alarms might stop working . If they have not been replaced in ten years or more, they could fail. More commonly, however, an alarm fails to detect fire and smoke because due to lack of power -- either a dead batter or disconnection from the power source.  In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warned in a September, 2015 report that about 3 out of 5 home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or non-working smoke alarms.

But My Smoke Alarm Will Remind Me, Right?

It is true that most smoke alarms alert you by beeping when the batteries need to be replaced. But relying on that warning is a bad idea for many reasons such as…

  • If you are not at home during the time the beeping alert occurs, you would likely not even know that your alarms are not working. This leaves your family and your home unprotected against fire.
  • Perhaps you'd be tempted to just stop the beeping by removing the batteries or disconnecting your smoke alarm, if you don't have replacement smoke alarm batteries ready when the alert occurs. Then, until you remember to reconnect the alarm, replace the batteries and get your smoke alarm working again, you have virtually no protection from the perils of fire in your home. 

Smoke Alarm Battery Facts

  • It is important to install the correct type of replacement battery as recommended in the alarm's instruction manual or label and follow all directions. Manufacturers of smoke alarms advise against using rechargeable batteries.
  • It is time to replace the entire smoke alarm unit if the alarm is producing frequent nuisance alarms. Don’t be tempted to just disconnect the battery to stop the nuisance alarms.
  • If your home has hard-wired smoke alarms with a battery back-up, that battery should be replaced every year just like the battery-powered units.  In fact, the only exceptions to the yearly-replacement rule are hard-wired smoke alarms without a battery backup.  If your smoke alarm is not hard-wired but does not have a replaceable battery, then the entire unit should be replaced at least every ten years.
  • You will also want to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide alarm at the same time that you change your smoke alarm batteries.
  • At the time that you change the smoke alarm batteries, take the opportunity to clean your smoke alarm, as well.
  • More About Home Smoke Alarms from the NFPA (Video) 
  • Smoke Alarms: Installation and Maintenance Tips

Here at Daniel Howley Insurance Agency, we are a full service insurance agency, offering auto/car insurance, homeowners insurance, business/commercial insurance and life insurance to Rockville MD, all of Maryland and Virginia. Our experienced insurance agents welcome the opportunity to discuss your coverage needs and questions at any time.

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