Understanding Daylight Saving Time

Daylight saving time: When you change your clocks, do this too

For most of the country, daylight saving time officially begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 10, meaning longer days and brighter evening commutes are ahead.

» RELATED: Daylight saving time 2018: When do we set our clocks back?

While you’re setting your clocks forward an hour this weekend and whining about losing an hour of sleep, be sure to change the batteries in your smoke alarms, too.

According to safety experts, a good rule of thumb is to check on the batteries twice a year: when daylight saving  time begins and ends. In 2019, the phenomenon ends on Sunday, Nov. 3.

» RELATED: Smoke alarm recall: 500,000 Kidde detectors might not alert users to fire

In November 2017, more than 91 Georgians had died in 70 residential fires, according to state Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner Ralph Hudgens’ office. The AJC reported that records showed only three of those homes had a working smoke alarm.

“Smoke alarms most often fail because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries,” according to the official website of the state department of health. The department urges residents to replace the batteries at least once a year.

In a survey of more than 1,000 folks in the past six months, ServiceMaster Restore found that only 57 percent of Americans have followed best practices.

» RELATED: No working smoke alarm in home where 2-year-old died

Most conventional smoke detectors have a cover that either hinges or lifts off. A counterclockwise twist will get the cover off.

Once you remove the cover, locate the battery, which should be clipped in. When you replace the battery, be sure it’s property oriented before closing the cover.

You can also test if you installed the battery correctly by pressing the test button. You should hear a chirp if you hit the button.

If you’re unsure about your smoke alarm placement or need assistance, call your local fire department.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.