Weekend Projects

The Twice-a-Year Home Safety Checkup You Might Have Skipped Recently

published Apr 3, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Apartment Therapy Weekend Projects is a guided program designed to help you get the happy, healthy home you’ve always wanted, one weekend at a time. Sign up now for email updates so you never miss a lesson.

Sorry, this list is no longer accepting subscriptions.

Feel free to subscribe to our other emails.

You might be in the middle of spring cleaning right now (we definitely are!), so this weekend is a great time to do a project that’s simple and quick, but important. In the midst of scrubbing your home from top to bottom, you deserve a break to enjoy the result of all your labor.

So we’ll set our sights on another task. One that isn’t merely a matter of cleanliness, but of safety. One thing you might have intended to do when the time changed recently, but didn’t quite get to, is changing your smoke detector batteries and testing your alarms. This weekend, we’re going to make sure this critical task gets checked off the list.

Credit: Hadrian/Shutterstock

This Weekend: Change your smoke detector batteries and test your alarms.

There are two types of smoke detectors: battery-operated units and hardwired ones. Battery-operated smoke detectors are the most susceptible to worn out or defective batteries. It’s imperative that these detectors are tested monthly.

Hardwired smoke detectors are powered by electricity but contain back-up batteries so the units remain functional even during a power outage. So even hardwired units should be tested monthly to make sure both the wired and battery-powered components are operating properly.

Here’s how to test your smoke detectors and what to do to make sure they’re up to safety standards:

  • Change batteries to fresh batteries no matter what if it’s been longer than six months since you put new ones in.
  • Press and hold the test button on your smoke detector. If the sound is weak or muffled, replace the batteries, even if it’s been less than six months.
  • Visually inspect the smoke detector grates for dust, bugs, or other debris.
  • Check the manufacture date of your smoke detector. If it’s older than 10 years, replace it. Check your manual to see if you should be replacing it even sooner than 10 years.

Properly maintaining your home’s smoke detectors can help keep your household safe in an emergency. Make sure it’s done. And don’t forget to check again when we “fall back”.

You can catch up with weekend projects right here. Share your progress with us and others by posting updates and photos on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #atweekendproject.

Remember: This is about improvement, not perfection. Each week you can either choose to work on the assignment we’ve sent you, or tackle another project you’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also completely okay to skip a weekend if you’re busy or not feeling the assignment.