A well-maintained smoke detector can be the difference between life and death. Use the following guidelines always be as safe as possible:
- Test the smoke detector at least once a month. Most smoke detectors have a test button for this purpose. It's a good idea to do this on a fixed date, for example the first Monday of each month.
- Remove dust from the smoke detector once a month. This can be done with a dust cloth or with your vacuum cleaner. This ensures that the detection chamber is always easily accessible and that smoke is detected more quickly. It also reduces the risk of false alarms due to dust piling up in the detection chamber.
- Never remove the battery from the smoke detector unless it needs to be replaced. It's a good idea to replace the batteries on a fixed date, especially if the battery needs to replaced annually, like a 9V battery, for example at the beginning of winter. Some smoke detectors have built-in, non-replaceable batteries, but those usually last for 10 years.
- Never paint your smoke detector or put tape over it. You could damage the smoke detector.
- Completely replace a detector after 10 years. Every smoke detector needs to be replaced after 10 years, because that's the only way to guarantee the device will remain reliable.