Day 31 – Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Happy Halloween! Trick or Treat, smell my feet! Now, give me something good to eat. Are you ready for the trickery tonight? Ahhh, good. What about the time change in the US? On Sunday, November 2nd be sure to turn your clocks back one hour. Are you ready for that? What’s to be ready for? Well, this is one of two times a year you need to maintain your smoke detectors.

I don’t have to tell you how tragic not having a working smoke detector can be. All you have to do is read the news to hear many stories about homes burning to the ground and many lives consumed by the fire because they slept through it. Let’s commit to each other that we will reduce the statistics of fire fatalities.  All you have to do is maintain your smoke detectors twice a year when you change your clocks.

Day 31 - Smoke Detector Maintenance Tips:

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

First, gather a few supplies and then we can whip through this maintenance task.

Materials:

  • Can of compressed air
  • NEW 9 volt batteries
  • Permanent marker
  • Hearing protection
  • Electrical tape (or other tape)

Instructions:

Put on your hearing protection. (I finally got smart this year and wore hearing protection while replacing the batteries and testing the smoke detector. No need to damage my hearing or get a headache from listening to the alarm one foot away from my head!)

Begin by removing your smoke detector. Don’t forget to check your hardwired smoke detector, it might also use a back up battery.

Open the battery compartment and remove the old battery.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

If you want to reuse that 9 volt battery, mark the month and year on the battery. That way you know that this was removed from the smoke detector. Don’t EVER reuse the battery in your smoke detectors, but it’s fine to use for your toys and electronics.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

If you are going to throw away the battery, it’s important to cover the terminals with tape. If you don’t a fire could start if something metal touches both terminals at the same time.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

Put a new battery into the smoke detector (pay attention to where the + and – terminals go.)

Use the can of compressed air to blow out around the sensor and inside the smoke detector. Keeping a clean detector is important for it to function properly.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

Replace the smoke detector and press the test button. After the alarm has stopped you can take off your hearing protection.

Smoke Detector Maintenance | Pretty Handy Girl

Move on to the next smoke detector.

Okay, tell me honestly, am I the last human being to figure out wearing hearing protection while maintaining your smoke detectors is a great idea?

That’s it! Day 31 of Nester’s 31 Days Challenge! I’m done and have to let out a big breath of air. Posting for 31 days straight was tough, but I’m glad I made it. Did you enjoy the series? How many other series did you follow?

I’m planning on taking it easier in November, so I hope you’ll excuse me if I miss a day or two out of my normal 3 day a week schedule.

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Day 30 – Seal Gaps Around Pipes

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you have an open door policy for drafts and bugs?

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Of course not! Wait… you might and not know it. Have you looked under your sinks around the water pipes? If you have gaps around the pipes, you have the welcome sign up for cold air and bugs. Take a few minutes to seal around pipes with GREAT STUFF and you’ll stop them from entering your home.

Before GREAT STUFF approached me about writing a sponsored post for them, I was already a huge fan of their product. And between you and me, this post was already on the list of 31 Days of Handy Home Fixes! But, let’s keep that secret, because we don’t need GREAT STUFF to get an inflated ego. Ha, ha. Get it? Inflated. Oh yes, GREAT STUFF expands!

Two Headed Handy Girl

So much so, that I created a second head when I was working on my kitchen renovation. (I think my Halloween costume is complete, right?!)

But seriously, this is GREAT STUFF! It will fill in any gaps and holes in your home and foundation to prevent bugs and drafts from coming in. GREAT STUFF is easy to use, simply shake the can for 30 seconds. Add the spray nozzle. Don’t forget to put on gloves and eye protection. I created a super quick video to show you how to use GREAT STUFF.:

Spray GREAT STUFF into the gaps around your pipes. Do not overfill as GREAT STUFF expands as it cures.

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Keep a wet wipe or paper towel nearby to wipe off the nozzle and wipe up any drips.

Once the GREAT STUFF has cured, trim off any excess with a serrated blade if necessary.

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Here are just a few places you can use GREAT STUFF:

Around plumbing pipes under your sink:

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

In the openings and gaps in your floor vents:

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Around pipes and wires entering your home’s foundation:

Seal Gaps Around Pipes with GREAT STUFF | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you checked under your sinks or around your foundation lately? Buy a can of GREAT STUFF and seal all the gaps. Then enjoy your winter draft-free and your summers bug-free ;-).

Check out the Dow GREAT STUFF Pinterest board for more ways to use GREAT STUFF.

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Disclosure: This post was sponsored by GREAT STUFF. I was compensated for my time. As always, I’m extremely picky about the products I promote. If I don’t like a product, you won’t see it mentioned. All projects and opinions are my own. I was not told what to write or say about GREAT STUFF.

I’m participating in Nester’s 31 Days Challenge. Check out all the other bloggers who are participating!

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Day 29 – Caulk Cracks in Siding and Trim

31 Days of Handy Home Fixes | Pretty Handy Girl

One of the best thing you can do to save money is to prevent water from getting through your home’s exterior. Now is a good time to walk around your home and look for gaps and cracks around doors, windows, trim and siding. If you see any, I’ll show you super quick way to caulk and fill them.

Here’s a big crack over our front door.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Gah! Two more gaps:

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Clean off around the crack with a wet rag dipped in mild soap and water. If there’s mold or mildew, a water and bleach solution should get rid of it.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Thanks to my reader, Susan Cole, for this tip. If you are caulking upside down or the tube keeps slipping out of the gun, slip a rubber band around the tube and gun to hold it in place.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

Here’s a quick video tutorial to show you how I breeze through caulking cracks and gaps:

That’s all there is to it! Now our home is protected from water and insects.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

In case you were wondering, I was able to lean out the dormer window while keeping my feet on the floor.

How to Caulk Cracks | Pretty Handy Girl

If I had needed to lean out any further, I would have used a sturdy ladder or hired someone to do it for me. Recently I’ve been leaning (pun intended) toward hiring out any task that involves climbing higher than one story. Falling from a ladder is just too risky for this DIY Mom. Just because I can do it doesn’t mean I always will.

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Day 28 – Keep Old Toothbrushes for Cleaning

Use Your Old Toothbrush for Cleaning | Pretty Handy Girl

Never throw away your old toothbrushes again! These worn out dental tools make fabulous scrub brushes for cleaning. First be sure to mark the old brush with a permanent marker so no one will use it in their mouth again. Then use this mini scrub brush on hard to reach spots like between the faucet […]

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Day 27 – Put an End to Fireplace Drafts

You may sense a theme here, yesterday I talked about weatherstripping the garage. But, as the temps are dropping, it’s important to take some time to seal your home and eliminate drafts wherever they are lurking. One of the biggest offenders in our home was the fireplace. On cold nights, it is cozy to light a fire. […]

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Day 26 – Weatherstrip Your Garage Doors

  Do you have a garage? Are your garage doors insulated or weather stripped? Or do you have big gaps in the sides like this: If you don’t have weather stripping on your garage doors, you could be throwing away money on heating spaces above and/or next to your garage. Not to mention, making it uncomfortably […]

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Day 25 – Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents

Do You Open or Close Crawlspace Vents | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you leave your crawlspace vents open or closed? The great debate ends now. If you guessed open, you are right. If you guessed closed, you are also right! Crawlspace vents should be opened in the spring and closed in the fall. The reason being that you want to preserve any heat in your crawlspace in […]

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Day 24 – Two New Tips using a Flashlight

find-pill

Do you have a flashlight? Silly me, of course you do. But, if you only use it when the power goes out or to send your child out trick or treating, you are missing out on two additional uses for a flashlight. Day 24 – Two New Tips using a Flashlight 1. Before you prepare to paint […]

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Day 23 – Remembering to Change Your Air Filters Regularly

Get Reminders to Change Your Air Filters | Pretty Handy Girl

I’m sure you already know how important it is to change your air filters in your home. As a Filtrete Ambassador, I’m happy to remind you why you should replace your Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Reduction MPR 1900 filters on a regular basis: Helps improve air quality in your home Allergen reduction from air passing through the filter Clean […]

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Day 22 – Is Your HVAC Choking?

Is Your HVAC Choking? | Pretty Handy Girl

  Is your refrigerator running? Then go catch it. Is your HVAC choking? Time to administer CPR! When was the last time you looked at your HVAC unit? Specifically the condenser which is the big box usually located outside the house.  At first glance it doesn’t look too bad, but if you peek around the back… …you’ll […]

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Day 21 – DIY Laundry Detergent

DIY Laundry Detergent | Pretty Handy Girl

Today’s tip is one that is gentle on your washer (HE and regular), but most importantly it will save you money! If you’ve ever looked at the cost of laundry detergent, you may have choked at the cost. I have a wonderful recipe for DIY Liquid Laundry Detergent that will cost you 20¢ for 75 […]

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Day 20 – Scrub Away Hard Water Stains

Scrub Away Hard Water Stains | Pretty Handy Girl

  Do you have hard water? If you do, you probably understand when I say, “It’s the bane of my existence when it comes to cleaning sinks!” However, I have a trick to scrub away that stubborn hard water crusty stain in no time! And I use a little power to save myself from fatigue. […]

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Day 19 – Drill Holes to a Certain Depth

  Occasionally you need to drill a hole to a specific depth. Or you want to drill a hole into but not through your wood. This simple trick helps you do just that! Day 19 – Drill Holes to a Certain Depth When I was drilling the top of the new closet doors, I marked […]

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Day 18 – 5 Ways to Find a Stud (without a Stud Finder)

locate-nail-in-moulding

Using a stud finder is the quickest and easiest way to find a stud. But, if you don’t have one or are too lazy to find yours (I’m often guilty of this), you can use one of these ways to find a stud. Day 18: 5 Ways to Find a Stud (without a Stud Finder) 1. […]

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Day 17 – Two Ingredient Ant Killer

2 Ingredient Ant Killer | Pretty Handy Girl

It’s no picnic when you realize your home has been invaded by sugar ants. Instead of spraying your kitchen (or wherever you find them) try this Two Ingredient Ant Killer. Photo by Stephen Ausmus – http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/graphics/photos/dec04/k11622-1.htm Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons Day 17 – Two Ingredient Ant Killer Mix equal parts sugar and Borax into […]

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Day 16 – Holes in Your Trash Can

Take out the papers  and the trash…ummm take out the trash? Grrr, don’t you hate when the trash bag gets stuck in the trash can? No worries, I have an easy fix that will make taking out the trash a much easier chore. It may sound a little crazy, but it involves drilling holes. Day […]

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Day 15 – Use Good Wall Anchors

Good & Bad Wall Anchors | Pretty Handy Girl

Curtain rods, towel bars, and other wall mounted accessories are relatively easy to hang. The trick is securing them to a stud so they can hold up to the abuse. But, how often have you found that you don’t have a stud where you want it mounted? Probably 98% of the time, right? That’s where it is important to […]

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Day 14 – Non-Toxic Drain Opener

Non-Toxic Drain Opener | Pretty Handy Girl

A clogged tub or sink is an inevitable situation for any homeowner. Before you reach for the toxic drain cleaner, try this easy and inexpensive Non-Toxic Drain Opener. All you need is a box of baking soda and cheap white vinegar. Day 14: Non-Toxic Drain Opener Remove the drain pop up and pour a LOT of baking […]

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Day 13 – Remove Your Shoes at the Door

  Want to cut down on your vacuuming? Want to make your carpets last 10 times longer? Want to keep bacteria out of your home? Wow, sounds like a miracle product right? Actually you can accomplish all of the above by simply training yourself and your family to remove their shoes at the door. Day […]

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Day 12 – Protecting Spigots from Frozen Burst Pipes

Protect Spigot from Frozen Burst Pipes | Pretty Handy Girl

Winter is coming and this year I want to help you protect your home from a burst pipe because it froze. Much like your water pipes (which should have foam insulation sleeves on them,) it’s important to protect your spigot on the outside of your house from freezing. Luckily, Frost King makes this handy dandy […]

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