Welcome to DAY 29 of our 15 Minute Prepping Projects series. Today we’re going to test all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in our homes. It’s a simple task but can save lives!
Every day for the month of September we will celebrate National Preparedness Month by undertaking a small task to help us get more prepared. Do as few or as many days as you want. Jump in at any time. Do them out of order, or more than one in a day. And feel free to share what you are doing!
Everyone knows that annoying chirp that tells you your smoke detector battery needs to be changed. It always seems to start up at the WORST possible time like 3:00 am or when you are trying to film a video or something 😉 It’s not a good idea to completely depend on this alert though. Your detector could actually be faulty or dead and you don’t realize it because you were just waiting for the battery alert. So today we are going to check on everything, and it wouldn’t hurt to change all the batteries at once if you are feeling ambitious. This can help get your detectors on a rotation so they all run out around the same time.
How to Test Your Smoke Detector Battery
Press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. It can take a few seconds to begin, but a loud, ear-piercing siren should emanate from the smoke detector while the button is pressed. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace your batteries.
How to Test if Your Smoke Detector is WORKING
If you don’t have a test button or if you want to make sure your smoke detector is actually functional you can do a manual test using real smoke. Light two or three matches, and hold them together a few feet underneath the detector. The smoke from the matches should cause the alarm to sound if the detector is functioning properly. If it doesn’t sound, replace the detector immediately.
How to Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detector
Check your specific manual for your detector but for most models this is the general process. Press and hold the test button on the alarm. The detector will sound 4 beeps, a pause, then 4 beeps for 5-6 seconds. If the alarm does not test properly, install fresh batteries, be sure the alarm is clean and dust-free, and then test the detector again. If it still does not test properly, replace the CO detector immediately.
REMEMBER: Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors don’t have an infinite shelf life. It is usually recommend to completely replace smoke detectors every 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors every 5-7 years. Pro tip: Write the date you replaced the batteries and the date you replaced the full detectors right on the face of the unit. Find somewhere to write it inside if you don’t want it to show on the outside.
Share Your Results
Did you discover any surprises doing this task today? I’d love to hear how it went. Here are some ways you can share:
Instagram: Use #15minuteprep and tag @jodi_foodstoragemadeeasy on any post or story you do featuring your project. You can follow the hashtag to see everyone’s projects and if you tag me I will repost in my stories throughout the day (if your account is public).
Facebook: Comment on the PINNED posts in my Facebook Group (If you are not a member yet I will try to get you added within 24 hours so you can play along). The most recent day should show up at the top and you can scroll to the right to see past days. I will try to share some of these to Facebook stories as well (no names will be used, don’t worry!)
Text me: If you are not already signed up to get the daily challenges via text just text 15minuteprep to 717-788-3663. You can always reply to the daily text with your “report” so I can check in on you.
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder