How many batteries does your house have?

As electronics move into every corner of our lives, most of them require batteries to operate. As these batteries die the consequences can be from a minor annoyance to a catastrophic failure in your house when the heat goes off and the pipes freeze. In order to avoid these problems, large and small, you need to know where all the batteries are located and when to change them.

Garage door keypad: A number of years ago my wife and I went for a walk. When we returned I punch the number into the garage door keypad. Nothing happened. Again, and nothing. My wife tried, and nothing. I opened the keypad and removed the 9v battery and licked across the two terminals and did not feel the tingling of a fresh battery. I went next door and borrowed a 9v battery. I now change the batteries in my smoke detectors every two years (January 1 on even Number years). I take one of the used ones and install it in the keypad.

Remote for TV: If you don’t change the batteries in your remote every three years or less you will be forced to get up and change the channel manually or watch a program you would not have chosen.

Thermostat: Two people in our neighborhood have reported that their heat went off. The cause was that the batteries died in their programmable thermostat. Some of them had to pay for a service call to put new batteries in their thermostat. If they had been away for any length of time when their heat went off, their pipes could have frozen and their house flooded. Anyone going away in the winter to Arizona, Florida, Texas, or a cruise should put fresh batteries in their thermostat. Neglecting normal maintenance can be expensive.

Smoke alarms / carbon monoxide alarms: If you neglect putting fresh batteries in these alarms, they will start to beep to remind you. My experience is that they only start to beep at 3 a.m. This just happens to be my least favorite time to wake up, so I change the batteries every two years. Some people change them every year, but you should choose one of these. Remember also that if your smoke alarms are over ten years old or your carbon monoxide alarms are over seven years old, they may no longer be working. That is the useful life of those devices.

Clock radios: Many clock radios have batteries to maintain the time should the power go out. If you let these batteries die, you may be late for work or your yoga class the next time the power goes out. Different radios put different loads on these batteries, but you are probably ok changing them every two years.

Flashlights: Most houses have a few flashlights around in case of a power failure. They are also good to find dropped items in a dark corner. If you need to fix something under the kitchen sink, a flashlight could come in handy. I check all of our flashlights once a year by turning them on. If they are dim, I change the batteries. Tip: Walmart has small LED flashlights that are four inches long and one inch in diameter. The best part is they cost $1.00. I have several scattered around the house and use them more than I ever thought I would.

Digital camera: used to have AA or AAA batteries, but most now have rechargeable batteries. If you store your camera for months at a time and have AA or AAA batteries you should remove them to avoid corrosion that can ruin a camera. If you have rechargeable batteries, you need to charge them the night before you plan to use the camera.

Remote for ceiling fan: These batteries will last three years or more, but since they are rather easy to change let them go until they will not operate the fan and then just install new ones. No serious inconvenience or catastrophic failure will occur.

Bicycle computer: their batteries should be changed at the beginning of each season. They are usually button batteries. There is one in the speedometer unit on the handlebars and for wireless units there is one in the sending unit mounted on the fork. Before changing the batteries get the manual so you will know how to enter the wheel size, date and time. If you don’t have the manual that came with the unit you can find it on the internet. Just Google the model number and brand.

Portable GPS unit: These units should be stored without the batteries to avoid corrosion.

Land line phone: If you are old enough to have a land line Phone, check to see if it has batteries for such things as storing the address book. Generally, these batteries will last two years.

Cell phones and tablets: these devices have rechargeable batteries and your usage will determine how often they need to be charged.

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