Did you overhear people disputing the benefits and drawbacks of Daylight Savings Time this month? I sense a growing sentiment that DST is as an outmoded routine whose time has passed. Personally, I’m in favor of it and hope Utah never changes. That extra hour of daylight gives me more time to enjoy the outdoors during the warmer months.
DST has also served as a trigger for important home safety routines. When daylight savings time begins and ends we go through the drill of changing clocks, at least the few that aren’t yet smart enough to change automatically. And many traditionally use this as a handy reminder to change smoke alarm batteries. But this will certainly soon be a thing of the past thanks to new technology.
Trade-out Old Routines for New Technology
What about the smoke alarm itself? The recommendation is to change smoke detectors at least every 10 years (every 8 – 10 years according to the US Fire Administration). A combo smoke/carbon monoxide alarm is most common and certainly worth the additional cost. These are costlier than what’s been available, starting at about $100 per unit, vs. about $30 for old style.
“It’s hard to overstate the importance of having functioning, reliable smoke detectors in your home.”
As with so many things in the home, these alarms and their batteries are getting smart too. If you haven’t recently upgraded, let’s look at some options.
Here is a list of recommended smart smoke alarms currently on the market, and there are more on the way. Most detect both smoke and carbon monoxide.
- Nest Protect
- First Alert OneLink
- Halo Smart Labs
“Nest Protect” appears to be the most popular and most recommended, based on online reviews.
Smart Smoke Alarm Advantages:
- In addition to a blaring siren, they can tell you where the problem is
- You can be notified of a problem with push notifications when you are away from home (can indicate if it is smoke or CO2)
- You can silence false alarms from the app
- Send notification when battery needs to be changed; no annoying constant chirping
- Available in wired and battery powered versions
- Work with a wide range of smart home devices
As a Realtor® I’ve seen many homes where one or more of the smoke detectors is disconnected or missing. In some cases, it was probably because the battery was chirping, and they didn’t have a spare. But often it is because the alarm goes off on its own. This can be caused by a build up of dust, spiders, or a bad sensor.
If you’re not an early adopter and haven’t given much thought to smart home products, this could be the one to get started with. Especially if your current smoke alarms are more than 10 years old.
If staying with old style smoke/carbon monoxide alarm for now, let’s look at the one problem we all have had to deal with – changing the batteries. Unless you have all 8’ ceilings, it usually requires climbing a ladder or hiring a handyman. Now there is a wifi enabled replacement battery for your smoke alarm, by Roost!
- Notifies you before the battery runs out
- Sends out a push notification when your alarm sounds
- Rated to last 5 years
- $35 each ($28 on Amazon)
Sticking with old tech a while longer? Last Option: Look into Lithium Ion batteries as a way to cut down on how often you need to change your smoke alarm batteries. These longer lasting batteries work in most units and can last about 5 times longer (rated for 10 years shelf life).
Tom Ward, Realtor
CLA, CSA, CRS, e-Pro, GRI, SRS
Full-time agent with Jess Reid | Christie’s Intl Real Estate since 1994, with a passion for the art & science of home resales, and a track record of delivering results that “move you”. Don’t hesitate to contact me for information regarding the selling process. It’s never too early to start preparing for a sale!