Did you know that each year, fires kill approximately 4,000 Americans and injure 30,000 more? It's easy to keep your family safe - purchase smoke and CO detectors! Basic models start around $15, while combination carbon monoxide and smoke alarms cost about $35. We recommend springing for the combo - CO is called the "silent killer" because it's colorless and odorless!
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Note: If you already have smoke and CO detectors, that’s great! But do you know how old they are? Smoke and CO detectors lose effectiveness over time, so it’s important to replace them every ten years.
Determine how many smoke detectors you need. Fire safety experts recommend you have a smoke detector on every floor of your home, including the attic and basement. Also, make sure every room with a fuel-burning appliance (e.g. furnace, boiler, water heater) has a smoke detector nearby. Finally, we recommend you put a detector in or right outside of each bedroom.
Go shopping! You can buy smoke detectors at hardware and home improvement stores. They start at about $10 for basic models and $35 and up for CO alarms. For a basic option, we like the First Alert SA303CN3.
Take a look at the package, and be sure the smoke alarms meet the Underwriters Laboratories Standard 217 and Carbon Monoxide alarms meet UL Standard 2034. Also, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm - the newer the better!
When you mount the alarm, remember that smoke rises. Mount the alarm on the ceiling or as high as possible on the wall. For CO detectors, keep them away from windows because fresh air may throw off the sensor.
Now, contact your insurance company. Some insurers offer a 5 percent discount for homes with smoke alarms!