Spring Safety Tips for the Home
Last week Daylight Saving Time began around the country. Hopefully by now you’ve moved all of your clocks ahead by one hour – including the car clock. In addition to changing the clocks around your home, many homeowners take this opportunity to check on their home safety features – smoke detectors, CO2 detectors, radon and their security systems.
Used to be we all automatically changed the batteries in our smoke detectors but that’s not the case anymore. Now, most of us wait until the units start chirping – the sign that the battery is low and time to change it. However, if your smoke detectors are older than 10 years, it might be time to change the whole unit.
Smoke detectors get filled with dust and debris and are less able to detect smoke. If you’ve done any remodeling on your home, you’ve probably created a fair amount of dust that has accumulated in the smoke detector making it less effective.
The way to test your smoke detector is to light a candle, let it burn for a few minutes and then blow it out right underneath the smoke detector. If the smoke detector goes off the unit is working properly, if it doesn’t it’s time to change it out.
If it’s been more than 10 years since installing a smoke detector, odds are good you either don’t have a CO2 detector or it is also in need of replacing. Thankfully, you can now purchase combination smoke detectors and CO2 detectors. Many smoke detectors come packaged with seperate CO2 detectors as well.
Place your CO2 detector away from the furnace, HVAC or forced air vent. Don’t put it in an area that is dead air space. You need good air flow but not directly from the furnace to avoid nuisance alarms. Follow the instructions for proper installation.
Radon is a colorless and odorless gas produced from the decay of radium in the soil. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer next to smoking. 1 in 5 homes tests positive for elevated radon levels and there is no way to tell if your home has elevated levels without testing. Your neighbor’s home might have elevated levels while your homes remains free from radon, there is no way to tell without testing. Click here to learn more about getting your home tested for radon.
If you have a system like Stanley or ADT there’s not much to do except check with your provider to make sure your equipment is running to the best of its ability. If you have your own home security system or use a smart home assistant like Alexa or Google Home, you’ll want to make sure your passwords are changed regularly. Devices that are hard wired to your network are more secure than those that require wifi to connect. Try to connect your devices directly to your modem rather than relying on wifi, which can be hacked fairly easy. Always change the default password to any device before allowing it to take control of your home.