Don’t forget, this weekend we turn our clocks ahead an hour.
As Daylight Saving Time nears, many homeowners switch their batteries in their smoke detectors and alarms. Like any good home maintenance habit, this one ensures the safety and protection of your family and property.
But were you aware of the hazards associated with Daylight Saving Time and batteries in particular?
Verbiage, whether you care of not…
Let’s start with the most mundane of mistakes. The Spelling. Most of us say, “Daylight Savings Time” (savings with an “s”), and spell it the same. Actually, the proper spelling is Daylight Saving Time (no “s”). Sounds weird doesn’t it? No matter. Everyone gets a pass on this one.
Your heart health
The next point has more impact. According to a study from the University of Colorado, your risk of a heart attack increases 25% on the Monday following the beginning of Daylight Saving Time. Heart attacks are more common on any Monday, due to change of sleep patterns and the stress of a new work week, however that one hour in spring made a significant difference at a hospital in Michigan, where the data was compiled.
One hour less in a weekend means people are getting one hour less of sleep, which contributes to heart failure. If you thought sleep was important, now you have proof. Allow yourself more sleep this weekend — for your health!
By the way, the Monday following the end of Daylight Saving Time correlates to 21% fewer heart attacks. So when you turn your clocks back an hour in the fall and gain an extra 60 minutes of shuteye, your body is happy.
Replacing your batteries
Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors pull a long, slow drain from the installed battery. Most of these small appliances chirp when the battery is nearly depleted, however changing them every six months ensures peak performance from these important devices. Most require a 9-volt battery.
If you’re like most homeowners, this is the most common need for a 9-volt battery in your home. With a device in every bedroom and in most hallways and kitchens, the replacement costs can add up. If you’ve ever wondered why 9-volt batteries are so expensive compared to the other batteries you typically buy, here’s an explanation. So why would a homeowner buy a top of the line battery when they can pick one up for less than $4 at a home store?
Scott Ego, manager at Batteries Plus Bulbs at 7915 Burnet Rd. Explained that all batteries are not created equal. The 10-year Lithium Power Ultralife battery cost a little more ($7.99) but Ego gives a convincing personal testimonial. After several “Scott, can you help me” requests from his mom, he decided to install the pricier battery and save himself the trouble of climbing on the ladder to change yet another smoke alarm battery in his mother’s house. Try one and compare its duration for yourself.
Storing your 9-volt batteries
Finally, the top hazard you can easily prevent is a house fire caused by improper storage of batteries.
Have you ever tested a battery by touching the contacts to your tongue? You can instantly tell whether a battery has any juice left in it by the tiny zap you feel. That same little current is enough to start a fire if the exposed battery comes in contact with the wrong material.
Any metal, like aluminum foil or steel wool, or even the contacts of other batteries create the perfect environment for a spark to occur. And where there’s a spark, there’s fire. A fire caused by improper storage of batteries, while destructive and deadly, can be avoided with the right storage solution.
The basket picture above presents “Exhibit A” of worst possible ways to store your batteries, especially 9-volt batteries. If you must store them with other batteries, keep them upright with electrical tape covering the contacts or with the caps that sometimes come with the batteries. For maximum safety keep them in their original package until you need them, or purchase a battery storage center. Bonus points for organization!
Disposing of batteries
“Batteries Plus also recycles batteries,” says Ego at the central Austin location. You can drop off any battery – from a tiny watch battery to a car battery – and the shop will safely dispose of it, and replace it with a new one during the same visit. Any of their three Austin locations provides the same service. You can even safely dispose of light bulbs.
New meaning to the phrase “Rest assured.”
Now that you know all the possible hazards associated with Daylight Saving Time, you’re equipped to safely navigate your weekend.