This is a frequently asked question. Are the smoke detectors expired? Yes, they lose their sensitivity over time. The last thing you need is a weak smoke detector in your room while you sleep at night.
Here’s what you need to know….
The smoke detector works in the background, on the ceiling or wall, while continuously and continuously measuring the ambient air – just waiting for an alarm (hopefully never!).
It takes hours, days, weeks, months, years – endlessly.
At least until one of the following two things happens ….
1. The batteries are dead.
2. It decomposes – disintegrates – through effective shelf life.
Tip: Good habit: Replace smoke detector batteries at a highly visible time of year, such as New Year’s Day or 1. January.
Otherwise it could happen to you:
My husband keeps putting off buying new batteries even though I buy them, leave them lying around and remind him.
He seems to prefer waking up in the middle of the night to respond to the incessant chirping.
Did you know that smoke detectors lose their function over time?
According to the U.S. Fire Department, most smoke alarms installed today have a lifespan of about 8 to 10 years. After this time, the entire unit must be replaced.
Tip: Mark the purchase date on the inside of the Smoke Detector (battery compartment) with a marker so you will know when to replace the battery. Some new detectors already have a stated purchase date.
Someone asked why there is a 10 year lifespan when the Americium 241 Ionization Smoke Detector lasts half as long as the 400 year one. That’s a good question.
The NFPA recommendation may be related to sensor electronics degradation and/or reliability. A dual sensor smoke detector is also equipped with a photoelectric cell that can degrade over time.
These are sensors that fail over time, not electronic circuits or a radioactive ionization source. The sensor modules are based on an electrochemical reaction to smoke/COO, they saturate over time as a function of exposure and also simply begin to decompose.
There are many different brands of smoke alarms on the market, but they can be classified into two main types: Ionization and photoelectricity.
The IONIZATION alarm will sound faster in a burning, fast-moving fire.
PHOTO ELECTRICAL alarms detect smoldering and smoking fires faster.
DUAL SENSOR alarms combine ionization and photoelectric signals in one device (recommended).
Because ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors better detect significantly different but potentially deadly fires, and because homeowners cannot predict what type of fire may break out in a home, consider installing ionization and photoelectric or dual-sensor smoke detectors.
Each type is better at detecting a particular type of fire.
Ionization detectors work best on fast-moving or burning fires. Photovoltaic, works best on smouldering fire.
Instead of guessing or rationalizing what kind of fire might be in YOUR home where YOUR family lives, you are better protected if you have detectors that do both! That’s the reason!
Also CO (carbon monoxide) detectors. The commander won’t go up in smoke. Just place them on a floor or in a part of your home where you live, especially in or near the bedrooms, and you’re covered.
~ Fireman Brian
I have installed the following smoke detectors in my home. I have several AC units (wired), and I also have a couple of battery powered smoke alarms mounted elsewhere.
Dual sensor >> Battery
Dual sensor >> AC power supply (wired) with battery backup
[ Reading: Dual sensor smoke and fire alarms and why they are the best ]
I replaced two sensors in January. Brand new. And thank God! Last Thursday, in the middle of the night, my pellet stove broke down and caused a fire. Fortunately, the smoke detectors were working properly and I was able to get the fire under control. Things could have been very different if I hadn’t replaced my old one!
~ MSB Commentator
One commentator said: I don’t need to test my smoke detectors, it seems I randomly trigger them quite often when I’m cooking! I’ve never lit anything, but I think the occasional light smoke is enough to cause them. At least I know they work!
Another said: The joke’s on us. The alarm has gone off and dinner is almost ready!
I am a firefighter and owner of a smoke alarm installation company. Most of the key issues have been addressed.
In case no one has read the instruction manual for the new detectors, most major brands (Kidde, BRK, First Alert, Fire X, etc.) have a mute function, so if food has burned, just press a button on the lid and turn off the alarm for 10 minutes. Let’s hope that’s enough to clear the air, otherwise you’ll have to stop cooking.
~ John D.
I thought my two smoke detectors worked well, because every time I make toast, they explode! Everyone joked that it was an automatic dinner conversation!
But then my dishwasher caught fire. There was a metre of smoke hanging from the ceiling and flames leaping from under the cupboard!
CICKETS! Not a sound from them! (But they came out the next day when I fried) The batteries are good. Test button – it works! The smoke alarm was seven years old. We replaced them all immediately.
PLEASE REPLACE THE OLD SENSORS! They can’t be trusted.
~ MSB Commentator
You should have evacuation plans and make sure everyone in the house knows about them.
There are several fire extinguishers available!
Consider putting one in the bedroom and one near the kitchen (at least!).
[ Reading: How to put out a grease fire]
[ Reading: Carbon monoxide – the silent killer of winter
Clarification: I (like many of us) use the terms smoke detector and smoke alarm interchangeably. Although, technically, it’s not the same.
Smoke detectors are connected to a security system installed by a security company in an apartment or condominium building with a large commercial security and fire alarm system. It is clear that the rule of replacement every ten years does not apply in this case, unless the manufacturer decides otherwise.
The others are typically equipped with a 120-volt smoke detector that must be replaced every 8 to 10 years. I’m just saying…
frequently asked questions
Does the smoke detector go off after its service life has expired?
Smoke alarms, like coupons and cans, have an expiration date. They have a lifespan of 10 years, says Mr. Roux. … If you have a battery operated smoke alarm, it may start to beep to warn you that the battery is low. If you hear chirping, replace the batteries immediately.
Should smoke detectors be replaced every 10 years?
10-year requirements for smoke detectors. … The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that all smoke alarms be replaced after ten years and that common batteries be replaced every six months. With a 10-year sealed alarm, battery replacements and night beeps are a thing of the past for 10 years.
How do I know if my smoke alarm is faulty?
Signs that your smoke detector is malfunctioning (or not working at all!) The smoke detector sounds intermittently for no reason. Irregular chirping even after replacing the battery. The test button does not work on the smoke detector.
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