Time to Replace Smoke Detector Batteries


On Sunday, you get one extra hour of sleep or extra time to check your smoke detector batteries.  In order to redeem this hour, you’ll need to remember to set your clocks back an hour Saturday night as Daylight Saving Time comes to an end at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Test all your home’s smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working. Safety experts suggest checking the battery in your smoke detector on a monthly basis and replacing the battery annually. If you replaced the batteries in the spring, you can wait until March.

Greg Schreiner, fire marshal for County Fire, said the extra steps can take as little as 10 minutes and it’s important because you’re staking your lives on those devices if a fire breaks out in the middle of the night.

Newer smoke detector models may come equipped with a special battery that has a 10-year service life and is not replaceable. In this case, continue to test the battery monthly and replace the entire unit after 10 years. Generally, all smoke detectors should be replaced after 10 years to ensure that continued protection is in place. This simple step can save your life or your loved ones.

To test a device, you typically have to press a button to hear the alarm activate. If it beeps, the battery is still good.

More than half of fatal home fires occur from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half by having a working smoke detector installed, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

If you really want a gold star in safety checks, you can also use the time change as a reminder to check your emergency supplies kit and replace your stored water so it won’t go stale. Also check the batteries in your kit to make sure they are still good, and make sure food and medication items have not expired. Emergency officials recommend that people rotate water and food out of their emergency supplies kits every six months.

If you don’t have an emergency supplies kit already, start one. Review what’s in a kit here on the ReadySanDiego page.