Daylight savings time is hereDaylight Savings Time is just around the corner (it’s Sunday), so I thought I’d take a break from discussing Sisters real estate and focus on something else close to home (actually, inside the home).
Oregon State Fire Marshal Randy Simpson has  a great suggestion for all of us: When you sit down to reset your clocks, take a moment to check your smoke alarm, too. Take note, however: He didn’t recommend that everyone change their batteries.
That’s because smoke alarm laws in Oregon are different from many states. As of 1999, law requires all ionization-only smoke alarms sold here to have a hush feature. Also, if an ionization-only smoke alarm is also solely battery-operated, it must also have a 10-year lithium battery.
That’s why Simpson recommends that Oregonians should first test their smoke alarm batteries before automatically replacing them: “Long-life lithium batteries have a life span of up to 10 years, and if your alarm has one of these batteries, it may not need replacing every time you change your clock,” he says. “However, if your smoke alarms are 10 years old or older, you should replace them entirely.”
Here are a more few smoke-alarm maintenance tips from the state fire marshal’s office:
* Test smoke alarms monthly.
* Vacuum smoke alarms regularly to remove dust and cobwebs.
* Never disconnect or remove smoke alarm batteries for other uses.
* If you have an ionization-powered alarm with 10-year batteries: replace the entire unit every 8-10 years.
* If you have a photoelectric or combination alarm: replace the batteries at least once per year, and replace the entire unit every 8-10 years.
* If you have a hard-wired alarm with battery backup: replace batteries at least once per year, and replace the entire unit every 8-10 years.
Aren’t sure of the difference between an ionization-only smoke alarm and a photoelectric smoke alarm? Here’s a detailed FAQ sheet that answers many questions about smoke alarms.
Below are a few more fire-safety tips from the fire marshal:
* Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside each sleeping area.
* Replace smoke alarms 10 years old or older.
* Hard-wired alarms (those wired directly into home electrical systems) should have battery backups.
* Never disconnect or remove batteries from smoke alarms for other uses.
* Make a home escape plan and practice it.
For more fire safety information, visit the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal website or call (503) 378-3473.

About the Author:
Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE
is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Redmond and Bend.