The switch to Daylight Savings Time was about a month ago. This is the traditional time to change smoke alarm batteries. Though I'm a little late, I thought it'd be a change to talk about a few questions that have come to mind. Yes, I actually think of such things.
And since this is a few weeks past the switch, maybe it'll remind some stragglers!
Do You Change Your Batteries Twice Per Year?
The traditional advice is that you change your batteries around the time switch. This would mean changing them twice per year. I'm curious how many actually do that. And, given that they changed the dates a few years back, the times are no longer even at all. Daylight Savings Time lasts almost eight months now. That's hardly even.
However, I personally don't change ours twice per year. I change them only once, around spring time. All of our smoke alarms are hard wired, so the battery is a backup. Even if a battery did go bad, it would start chirping. So far, the once per year schedule has never yielded a run down battery. In fact, I've taken the batteries from smoke detectors and used them for other things, and they've lasted a long time.
My guess is that I could go much longer than a year on hard wired devices. I'm not going to chance that. I'm curious how many change their batteries twice per year?
What About When There's No Daylight Savings Time
Some places don't observe Daylight Savings Time. They simply don't change their clocks in the spring or in the fall. I guess there's enough hype that people probably hear about it anyway. But, I've also heard that there are more and more places that want to get rid of it. What if it went away altogether? Would our built-in reminder to change batteries be put at risk?
Is Battery Changing A Business Opportunity?
It crossed my mind that there are probably many people that can't change their batteries. Older people or disabled people might not be comfortable or even able to change batteries. The enteprenuer in me wondered if this could be a business opportunity.
I did a few Google searches and it looks like some people do offer this, but typically alongside other services. This makes sense, because I guess it's pretty hard to build an entire buisness model around something that would see peak demand for only a few days per year.
Still, interesting concept.
What About Changing Smoke Alarms?
This year, I changed out most of the smoke alarms. They say you're supposed to change them out every ten years. I'm guessing ours were much older than that. We've lived in the house 10 years and the house was 8 years old when we moved in. So we probably should have done this sooner.
It was a little more involved of a process. We have eight smoke alarms. Technically, we didn't replace all of them, as I only replaced six. One smoke alarm was added a couple of years ago when we finished off a basement room. Another had recently been replaced because it did go bad. But I replaced the other six. It has a sticker where you're supposed to write the year it was installed. So that'll be a reminder for when it's time to replace them again.
When was the last time you replaced your alarms?
Sometimes You Tear Your Hair Out
This story goes back a ways but it's still worth sharing. My previous residence did not have smoke alarms in the bedrooms as it wasn't code when my condo was built. So, I'd purchased battery only alarms and kept them in the bedrooms. I didn't install them, they just sat around. When I moved, I threw them into a box and forgot about them.
Fast forward several years and I could hear a smoke alarm chirping somewhere in the house. I never took the battery out and had stashed it away in some drawer. It took me a few days to figure that out (it was in the basement) but maybe that helps answer the question on how long a battery really lasts!
Smoke alarms might not seem like the most exciting thing, but they're so important. Many people die every year in house fires. So many stories that I've read talk about how it was discovered that there were no working smoke alarms. I don't want me or anyone I know to be a victim.
If you haven't spent the few minutes to make sure your smoke alarms work and have working batteries, please do so. It could be the difference between life and death!