Daylight Saving Time: When You Change Your Clocks, Recycle the Batteries in Your Smoke Detector Email March 10 is the beginning of Daylight Saving Time, which means we have to move the clocks forward an hour. But Daylight Saving Time is also the perfect time to test your smoke detectors and change the batteries! When it comes to fire safety, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Here’s how to take care of your smoke detector: Test it once a month. Change its battery once a year. Replace the smoke detector every 10 years. When you change your batteries, remember to recycle your old ones. Most smoke detectors rely on 9 volt batteries, which need to be taped with clear plastic tape or bagged before they can be recycled. If your smoke detector uses a single-use AA battery, you don’t have to tape it or bag it unless it is damaged (see below). Find out how to dispose of single-use batteries. If your smoke detector uses a rechargeable battery, it needs to be taped or bagged for disposal. Find out how to dispose of rechargeable batteries. Never throw batteries in the trash! Some batteries can explode if they happen to strike against other metal in your garbage, in a garbage truck, or on their way to a landfill. These explosions cause dangerous fires. Additionally, batteries contain dangerous metals and corrosive chemicals that can leach into the environment if they are not processed properly. If you have a battery that is damaged — if it is swollen, leaking, corroded (you will see a powdery white substance) or showing burn marks — do one of the following: Place it in a clear plastic bag and take it to a hazardous waste facility, or contact a Call2Recycle drop-off site to see if it accepts damaged batteries. Damaged batteries are highly hazardous, so do not place a damaged battery in the trash for any reason. Use traditional, single-use batteries in your smoke detectors. Why? These alkaline batteries can hold a charge for years when not in use, and their charge isn’t sapped very quickly. They are a better choice than rechargeable batteries for items that may sit unused for long periods of time, such as smoke detectors and emergency flashlights. If you wish to use rechargeable batteries anyway, make sure to choose ones that are labeled low-self discharge (LSD), and test your smoke detector manually once a month.