Hopefully you are changing the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year. But did you know that you should also clean your smoke detectors at the same time?
False fire alarms are commonly caused by something interfering with the sensor inside the unit. Pet dander, cooking vapors, etc. from the air in your home can begin to build up on the sensors in your smoke detectors. Dust can reflect light particles in a way similar to how smoke does. And don’t forget the bugs that may make a home in your smoke detector. All of these can cause a false fire alarm. To make sure that your smoke detectors react properly in an emergency, it is critical that they be properly cleaned out.
To properly clean your standard smoke detectors with removable batteries, remove the face of the unit and use the soft brush attachment of your vacuum to remove dirt and debris. You should also use a mild detergent to remove build-up from the outside the vent openings, to ensure that airflow is not obstructed to the sensor inside the unit.
Note: smoke alarms with a 10-year non-removable battery cannot be opened once installed. Simply vacuum and wipe down the outside of the unit.
For all smoke alarms, spray bug repellent on a cloth and wipe the ceiling around the unit to act as a future bug deterrent. Test all smoke alarms after cleaning.