• There are many ways in which you can stay safe and out of harm’s way, especially in your home. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of deaths due to home accidents, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

    One of the best ways to protect your home is by installing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

    So, while you’re enjoying time at home with your family and friends, here are some tips and tricks for getting the most out of your detectors to ensure you and your loved ones are safe and secure.

    1. Change the Batteries

    It’s important to change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors or smoke detectors at least once a year. This ensures that the detector will be working efficiently if there is a time when carbon monoxide or smoke is present at your home. Regardless of whether you have a battery-powered detector or not, it’s always a good idea to check on your smoke detector about once a month and make sure there are no dead batteries. The same goes for any other type of alarm in case someone accidentally turned it off without replacing it with new batteries.

    Most of the carbon monoxide detectors sold today are powered by batteries and do not require being plugged in. There are a few reasons for this, including the ability to install them in remote locations as well as the ability to mount them on walls. Regardless of whether a detector is battery-powered or has some plugin power, it’s important that you change the batteries on a regular basis.

    2. Keep it Clean

    Just like all other items in your home, carbon monoxide detectors can get dirty over time. Just like it’s important to check them for dust regularly, you should also clean them on occasion to improve their performance. There are a few reasons why cleaning your detectors is necessary.

    Inside each carbon monoxide detector is a sensor that monitors the air quality. If there are high levels of carbon monoxide, it will set off an alarm that sounds like a smoke detector. But if the sensor gets too dirty it can give off false positives or set it off at the wrong time, leading you to think there are high levels of carbon monoxide when there really isn’t any.

    Whether from cooking, showering, or using your fireplace, there are plenty of ways you can set off a false carbon monoxide alarm. These detectors are very sensitive and can detect even small amounts of airborne pollutants. As a result, any visible dust or dirt can set off an alarm even when no CO is present in the air.

    3. Test Regularly

    Every carbon monoxide (CO) detector has a test button that allows you to test its alarm. However, this feature isn’t frequently tested during CO detector checks. An alarm should be tested annually to ensure the CO detector is working properly — which can help prevent a dangerous emergency in your home.

    The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that heating equipment is responsible for about 90% of CO poisoning incidents. This makes it critical to make sure all heating equipment is properly installed, serviced, and not leaking CO gas. They also recommend installing battery-operated CO detectors in your home, especially near bedrooms and where people gather.

    4. Install New Detectors Based on the Expiration Date

    Carbon monoxide detectors typically last around 5 years, at which point they should be replaced by new units. If you have any detectors that are 5 years old or older, replace them with new units that you can rely on. Check the manufacturer instructions on your specific units for recommendations on when to replace, write the date on the device, and set a reminder on your phone to replace them.

    5. Make Sure You Have Enough

    In order for your home to be fully protected, you should have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor (including the basement), immediately outside of each bedroom and inside of any bedrooms that have gas appliances. If you don’t have a detector in one or more of these places, either install more on your own or contact a professional to have new detectors installed.

    A lot of people assume that these will work when they need them to, but that’s not always the case. In fact, studies show that only 30 percent of smoke alarms and 18 percent of carbon monoxide alarms are working at any one time. That means a lot of families may be at risk.

    Though most people don’t like to think about it, the day will come when your smoke or carbon monoxide detector will be your best friend. There is no activity more alarming than the sound of your alarm going off in the middle of the night. If fear is what keeps you up at night, at least have a good peace of mind because you installed trusted alarms such as smoke and CO detectors.