www.cpsc.govWhen Daylight Saving Time started on March 11, you probably didn’t hesitate to move all your clocks ahead an hour. But what about your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers? Just because they work in the background 24/7, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to give them a little love too!
- Smoke alarms:Of course, you should test them every week or at least once a month, but you also should replace the battery twice a year when you change your clocks. Also check the date on the back of your alarms to make sure you haven’t reached their maximum lifetime of 7 to 10 years – and need to replace them with new ones.
- Carbon monoxide detectors:You should have one on every floor and test them once a month too. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacing the battery or when the device tells you it’s time for a new one – and replace the unit every 7-10 years; the manufacturing date is on the back.
- Fire extinguishers:If your extinguishers have a gauge, make sure the needle falls within the green area; if they have a test button instead of a gauge, the button should pop out immediately after you push it. If your extinguishers fail either test, replace them immediately. Also note that the useful life of a fire extinguisher can be anywhere from 5 to 15 years, so check the bottom for the date of manufacture so you know when it’s time to head to the store for a new one.
Now’s also a good time to make sure none of these safety devices have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Tens of millions of these lifesavers have been recalled during the past several years because they might not function properly, so make sure yours are OK by going to the commission’s website at www.cpsc.gov and running a search for the products you own. In the middle-left area of the home page, click on Latest Recalls; on the next page, enter your keywords in the gray Search box and click Apply.