Do the batteries last long enough?

Here’s a simple tip that could save you just a little bit of money and stress. When you replace the batteries in home electronics (like this smoke alarm), write the date on the battery:

Smoke detector with battery

Next time you replace that battery, this date helps you determine whether the batteries lasted as long as you expected.

Besides this replacement date, you could even write an expected goal date. For this smoke alarm, I expect the battery to last three or four years, so I could have added “2019” on it.

There could be several reasons why the batteries didn’t last as long as you expected, and each has a potential solution:

  • The battery might be poor quality. Perhaps it’s worth it to buy a better quality next time.
  • The device might be poor quality and draw too much power. Perhaps it makes sense to replace it with a more efficient model.
  • The device might simply need a lot of power. Perhaps rechargeable batteries would be a smarter choice for this (better for your wallet and for the environment).

PS: A week after I wrote this post, one of my smoke alarms started signalling that the brand new battery was dead. Refusing to believe this, I replaced the alarm instead (it had gone off once on a false alarm already). The new alarm promptly beeped “low battery” too, and I had to smile at myself as I replaced the battery after all. Now it works. (And the old alarm is still retired.) Lesson learned: even brand new batteries might be faulty.

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