Smoke alarms are required to be in each bedroom and within 12’ of each bedroom door. There must be an alarm on each floor of the house. Smoke alarms are typically placed on the ceiling because that’s where smoke accumulates. Alarms must be placed 12” away from walls and 3” from air vents.
When to Replace
Smoke alarms are like any other electronic in your house; they too have a shelf life. If your alarms are wired into the electricity with a battery as back up and they constantly chirp – it’s time to replace the battery. If they randomly chirp or go off without smoke present, they are most likely bad and need replacing. The Austin Fire Department recommends that smoke alarms be changed every 10 years.
To help extend the life, it is recommended that you vacuum off the smoke detectors from time to time in order to free them of dust that can collect.
Hardwired/Interconnected Smoke Alarms
Most newer homes already come with smoke alarms that are connected to the home's power. But some older homes are still running on battery-only powered smoke alarms. In many cases, a home inspection report will identify this as something that should be brought up to code. Connecting the smoke alarms together means that if a smoke alarm sounds in one part of the home, the rest of the alarms will sound to make sure everyone gets out before it's too late.
Free Smoke Alarms
The Austin Fire Department has implemented a Free Smoke Alarm program, offering a free smoke alarm to any Austin resident in need. You must be a citizen residing in a privately-owned home and have a genuine need. If you meet the criteria, the Free Smoke Alarm Hotline is 512-974-0299. The Austin Fire Department asks that you leave your name, address, and phone number for you call to be returned to schedule your free installation.
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