Smoke alarms are a must in any home, especially one that might have guests. The best hotels will have them installed close to the bedrooms so as to ward against fires caused by someone stoking up a houseful of friends.
But even if you don’t have guests, it’s still a good idea to install smoke alarms throughout your home. Why?
Because you never know when something could set off an alarm and call the fire department. Well, maybe you do know because your hotel room probably doesn’t have many visitors most of the time.
If you’re staying in a hotel often enough, why not put some effort into your home away from home? Here are our top tips for making sure your hotel smoke detector is working properly and keeps you safe at night.
Change the batteries
For the life of your smoke detector, the batteries will die. In fact, they’ll die faster the less you use your smoke detector because the power it draws will decrease with each use.
And once the batteries are dead, you’ll need to replace them. You’ll know when the batteries in your smoke detector are low.
Once you hear the alarm chirp every half second, you’ll need to replace the batteries. If you’re changing the batteries yourself, you’ll want to avoid touching the terminals on the smoke detector with your fingers.
Doing so can short-circuit the battery and cause the alarm to keep going off. Instead, use a pencil or a small screwdriver to remove the batteries and be careful not to spill the battery juice. Once the old batteries are out, you can fill the smoke detector with new ones.
Check the sensor
If your smoke detector is changing the batteries, it should already be set up to do so. But, just to be on the safe side, you should also check your smoke detector to see that it’s set up correctly and that the sensor is connected.
You’ll know you have the sensor connected correctly if you can clearly hear the alarm inside your home when you’re standing right next to the smoke detector. If you can’t hear the alarm inside, you can try moving the sensor a few inches to one side to find the sweet spot in your home.
You should also check that the alarm is set to sound when the sensor detects smoke. If you can’t find your alarm settings, try looking online to see if you can find what you’re looking for.
Reset your alarm
If you’ve changed the batteries in your smoke detector and you can hear the alarm inside your home when you’re standing right next to it, then your smoke detector is set up correctly.
But if you can’t hear the alarm from inside your home, you’ll need to reset the alarm. This will make the alarm chirp continuously until you open the control panel and turn it off. Your smoke detector probably comes with a clear plastic tab that allows you to reset the alarm.
If not, here’s how you do it. Once you’ve reset the alarm, you need to open the control panel and turn it off.
Test for hardwiring and wireless sensors
Even though many smoke alarms these days are wireless, you still want to make sure you can hear them inside your home. This is especially important if your home is large or if there are multiple rooms.
In these instances, you might not be able to hear the alarm from any one spot inside your home. If your alarm is wireless, you can still test if it’s set to sound correctly by opening the control panel.
If the alarm sounds when you open the panel, then it’s set to sound when it should. If it doesn’t sound, then you’ll need to check the sensor connection and the battery connection. If your smoke detector is hardwired into the house, you can use an electrical tester to make sure it isn’t tripped.
Install a plug-in alarm or carbon monoxide detector
This is optional but you want to do this if your hotel room doesn’t have a smoke alarm. If you don’t want to do the work of changing the batteries and resetting the alarm, you can avoid both these issues by installing an alarm on the wall or on the ceiling in your hotel room.
If your hotel room has a hardwired smoke alarm connected to the house wiring, you can use it as your plug-in alarm. This way, you won’t need to change the battery and reset the alarm. Just turn the alarm on and you’ll be good to go.
If your hotel room doesn’t have a hardwired smoke alarm connected to the house wiring, you can use a plug-in alarm like the Night Owl Wireless Smoke Alarm. This way, you won’t need to worry about changing the battery or resetting the alarm. Just plug it in at night and you’ll be safe.
What to do if your smoke alarm isn’t working
If your smoke alarm isn’t chirping when you want it to, it could be because of any of the following reasons.
Battery life – the smoke alarm is still working but the battery has died. You’ll need to replace the battery.
Sensor connection – the alarm is still sounding but the sensor isn’t triggered by smoke. You’ll need to check the sensor connection.
Control panel connection – the alarm is still sounding but the control panel is not connected to the house wiring. You’ll need to check the control panel connection. If your smoke alarm isn’t working, you can take these steps to fix it.
Your smoke alarm’s job is to sound the alarm when there’s smoke in your home. It’s a vital safety feature that can help save your life and the lives of those around you. And as long as it’s working properly, you can rest easy knowing that there are steps you can take to make sure it works properly and that it will give you a warning when there is a fire.
Q: What is the difference between a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector?
A: Smoke alarms are portable devices that attach to your ceiling. Carbon monoxide detectors attach to the floor of your home.
Q: What is a “fire safe” home?
A: A fire-safe home is one that’s equipped with smoke alarms, detection of heat and fire, and sprinkler systems.
Q: Where can I find more information about smoke alarms?
A: Most fire departments will have literature available regarding smoke alarms. Fire departments also provide testing kits that you can use at home to test your own smoke alarm for proper operation. You can also contact your local fire department for more information.