We recently turned our clocks back and earned an extra hour of sleep (my favorite holiday!), and many of us probably followed the advice to change your smoke detector batteries when you change your clocks. But if your home was built prior to 1975, you may want to consider upgrading your smoke detectors entirely, and here’s why.
On December 1, 2016, a new Massachusetts regulation will take effect, requiring that when homes built before 1975 are sold, they are to be equipped with smoke detectors with a 10-year lifespan. But even if you’re not planning to sell any time soon, it’s a good idea to install these detectors if your home falls within this range. The key words to look for when you go to the hardware store are “10 year sealed lithium battery,” like this one available at Daddario Hardware and other stores. And yes, “10 year sealed” means you can install it and forget it – no more batteries to replace, and no more low battery chirps in the middle of the night! (Why is it always in the middle of the night?)
Homes built after 1975 are required by state law to have detectors with a hard-wired power supply and a battery backup, but even if your home falls into this category, make sure your batteries are fresh and your detectors themselves are 10 years old or less. Our State Fire Marshal, Peter J. Ostroskey, said during Fire Prevention Week this October that “what we’ve seen in the past eight to 10 months across the state is that our fatal fires involve homes that have smoke alarms in them, but they are inoperative.” In other words, even if you have properly-installed and positioned smoke detectors, they’re not going to do you any good if they’re too old or missing batteries. So stay safe, and make sure your detectors are in good working order!
For more helpful info, check out the consumer guide published by the State Department of Fire Services.