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Care and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Batteries

Aug 17, 2007
We have fire alarms in our homes and offices to ensure the safety of others and ourselves who share our space. In order to keep the units functioning at maximum efficiency, we need to periodically check on the fire alarm batteries. Here is a short list of things to check when you examine the fire alarm batteries that power your system.

It is important to schedule regular checks of your fire alarm batteries. Most experts recommend that the cells be checked at least once a month. Even in situations where the alarm has not been used for any length of time, it is a good idea to change out the battery at least once a year. Replacing your fire alarm batteries twice a year is preferable.

On the monthly examination, check the condition of the terminals on your fire alarm batteries. They should be clean and free of any type of corrosion. Should you encounter any corrosion, the battery is not working properly and is damaged in some manner. Replace it immediately.

In like manner, the terminal clamps on your batteries should be clean and free of any rusting. Lubricate both the clamps and the terminals themselves to help guard against the collection of any residue that could interfere with the flow of the current. You may want to make it a part of your routine maintenance to lubricate the terminals every three months.

Test your batteries for the level of current it is producing. The electrolyte level should be within manufacturer specifications. Even systems that remain dormant for months at a time will begin to wear and need replacing. Don't wait until the battery is showing almost no charge; replace it when the level falls below recommended safety perimeters.

If you have any questions about the type of battery or the standards they are required to meet in your community, there are several good resources of information. Your local fire inspector can give you specifics about fire alarms and fire alarm batteries that meet local codes. Your home insurance provider will also know exactly what is required to meet standards, as chances are you are getting a discount by having the fire alarms in place. And of course, details about what meets standards for fire alarms and batteries can be obtained from your local city or town hall.

Caring for your power cells does not take a great deal of time, and is a sure investment in the safety of everyone who occupies the space. Set up your schedule and check your fire alarm batteries on a consistent basis. Your efforts will be rewarded the very first time the system alerts everyone to a possible danger.
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