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Hints From Heloise: Smoke-detector maintenance 101

Dear Heloise: Since SMOKE DETECTORS should be replaced every eight years or so, I found it helpful to put a piece of masking tape or a label on the bottom when installing new ones. I write “smoke detector installed” and the date. That way, I know when the entire detector should be replaced.

Also, every year I replace the smoke-detector batteries on or around Jan. 1. Before I replace the batteries, I get all the replacement batteries together, and I put a label on each battery that says “new battery in January” and the year. That way, I know when the battery was replaced, and, most importantly, I don’t mix up last year’s battery with the new year’s battery. -- Lena H., via e-mail

Very good safety hint for all my readers. The battery for a smoke alarm should be replaced every year. Most battery-operated smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, experts say. You can use these “old” batteries in a clock or other low-battery-use appliance.

All batteries need to be recycled. Recyclable as well as regular single-use batteries should be taken to a household hazardous-waste facility. Call your garbage company or city office to find out whether there is one in your area. You also can check online for information about recycling. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I recently returned from a trip. After settling down and getting back to the normal routine, I discovered that I had misplaced my “keys” (I have a keyless ignition for my car).

I contacted our car dealer and was told that it would cost $350-$400 to replace the keys. Luckily, I found them after searching for more than 12 hours. A lesson well learned. Always be extra careful where you set your keys down, because it could be costly to replace them. -- L.A., Colorado Springs, Colo.


Dear Heloise: When I am getting ready to go out to dinner, I change to a smaller purse. Instead of taking my wallet (which contains everything), I include only my driver’s license and insurance card, plus lipstick and money. In case of an emergency, my license and insurance card are readily available. -- Michelle T., Eureka Springs, Ark.


Dear Heloise: It is a hassle to pack perfume bottles when traveling. I save perfume samples from magazines and take those with me instead. They are flat, and do not leak or break. It also is a great way to try out new scents to see whether I like them. -- Katie in New Hampshire


Dear Heloise: When I have pillowcases that don’t fit, I buy a bigger size and cut them down to fit, or buy material that matches the bedding and make my own. I like small-size pillows, and most cases are too large. -- Faith in Nebraska

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

, King Features Syndicate

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