(Incidentally, it amazes me that stories have not been written about how this tax break inspired one of the largest mass waves of "living in sin" cohabitation in American history, as innumerable young couples delayed marriage and instead used their carefully-saved wedding money as downpayments on their houses, but let me not digress.)
So a lot of first-time couples rushed not into marriage but into home-buying with perhaps less planning and due diligence than they might have under more normal circumstances.
You can occasionally see one of the downstream residual effects of this when you walk into one of Section 9's now-2.5-year-old houses and hear a smoke detector chirping in some distant room. Don't laugh, but not everybody knows how to deal with these things. It's not been more than about a month now since I helped one such family to isolate the cause of their incessant chirps and remedy it. 2.5 years post-construction is just about the right amont of time needed for all those batteries to start going bad. The neighborhood-wide chirp-a-thon is now beginning!!
On November 4, Daylight Savings time will end and at that time, we'll all be bombarded with PSAs about replacing the batteries in our smoke detectors.
The trouble with that is, owners of newer houses that have hard-wired smoke detectors (as opposed to the free-standing battery-operated kind) tend not to do it. If, in their youthful innocence, they even realize that their detectors contain batteries at all, they'll snap to the realization that the batteries are simply there as back-up in case of power failures. Given that power failures almost never occur, this battery-replacement task can lose a sense of urgency.
But all you will need to inspire you to take it seriously is one detector to start chirping like an auditory version of Chinese water torture at 3:00 a.m. and you'll never make that particular deferred maintenance mistake again. They never start chirping at a convenient time like 6 p.m. They always seem to wait until the dead of the night and then you're forced to stumble like a zombie into your garage to fetch a ladder in order to deal with it. Not fun.
They start chirping because, even though they run on household electricity, the newer models are designed to warn you with chirping when their back-up batteries run low. So rather than having to get awakened in the middle of the night, here's what I suggest instead: replace the nasty little things now and enjoy your well-earned future period of uninterrupted sleep. Here are some suggested common steps to accomplish the replacements, although you need to consult with your manufacturer's user manual for your particular smoke detector to be fully sure you're doing this correctly. My short-hand tips are not a substitute for any manufacturer's instructions. Your builder would have left that manual in your house along with every other appliance manual. If you don't have one, look at the brand name of your units and contact the manufacturer.
Remember, these statements above are just some tips that may or may not be appropriate for your brand and model of smoke detector - these comments and opinions are not intended to be a substitute for your manufacturer's operating instructions.
|These are the batteries that came out of the seven smoke detectors that Meritage installed in our house. Note how their advisory wording discourages trash disposal because, although they are mercury-free, they do contain lead. If possible, dispose of them at a household hazardous waste event like the one behing held today at Gulf Greyhound Park.|