Most people know how important the smoke alarms in their homes are. There should be one or more installed on each level of your home, the units should be checked monthly, and the batteries should be changed annually. However, did you also know that you should clean your smoke alarms every six months?
Smoke alarms come in two basic types: ionization and photoelectric. An ionization smoke alarm uses a minute amount of radioactive material to ionize the air in the area where the sensors are. Conversely, a photoelectric smoke alarm has a light sensitive sensor that read the chamber. Photoelectric smoke detectors are the most widely used smoke detectors and will detect smoke but not necessarily fire. Ionization smoke alarms work best for areas that have a lot combustible materials where the fires will spread quickly and there are a lot of flames but not a lot of smoke.
Regardless of which type of smoke alarm you have installed, the sensor is the most important part and it must be cleaned regularly so that the alarm works properly.
Here are some steps to follow when cleaning your smoke alarm:
Vacuum. Remove the face of the smoke alarm. And add the brush attachment to your vacuum cleaner wand. Gently vacuum the inside of your smoke alarm face as well as the components of the smoke alarm. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning as well and avoid any areas as indicated.
Wipe. After you have vacuumed the inside of the smoke alarm and all of the components, you should use a clean wipe and some mild soap to clean out any large particles of debris and dust. Specifically, you need to clean the openings and vent areas on the smoke alarm face. This will ensure that air is able to move through the smoke alarm face easily and without obstruction.
Smoke alarms are integral to preventing fires from getting out of control and they help to save hundreds of lives every year. However, in order for these detectors to do their job properly, they must be well maintained and regularly cleaned. You can sleep soundly knowing that your smoke alarms will work when you need them because you have done the proper maintenance.