Smoke detectors are a great tool to alert you to a fire in your home so you can evacuate safely. But like any little gadget, they only have a limited working life. Chesterfield Service answers the question of how long smoke detectors last and how you can ensure your smoke detector is working correctly to ensure it can help save your life.
What is the Average Life Span of A Smoke Detector?
The National Fire Protection Agency recommends replacing your smoke detectors every ten years. This is because, over time, dust can settle inside your smoke detector and make them less effective. Dusty smoke detectors are also more susceptible to electrical corrosion. When you decide to replace your smoke detectors, make sure you replace all of them, even if some are working fine. Do not replace smoke detectors one at a time. It’s best to replace them all at once to ensure they’re all the same age and compliant with each other to provide the best protection for your home.
When installing smoke detectors throughout your home, make sure that there is one on every floor, including the basement, every bedroom, and kitchen. Smoke detectors should be mounted on the ceiling or high on a wall as smoke and heat rise. To avoid false alarms, make sure smoke detectors are 10 feet away from all cooking appliances and three feet away from bathrooms with a shower or a tub.
Different Types of Smoke Detectors
When looking for smoke detectors, you might be overwhelmed by all the options available. The team at Chesterfield Service explains some factors that may come into play when shopping for a smoke detector.
Ionization and photoelectric are different types of a sensor within smoke detectors. Photoelectric sensors are better at detecting heat, like from a smoldering fire, while ionization detectors are better at sensing flames. You can purchase smoke detectors containing one of the other sensors, or some new models include both.
Many smoke detectors, especially older ones, rely on batteries for power. You can often tell when the battery is running low in your smoke detector because you’ll hear a constant chirping until the battery is replaced.
Many building requirements today require that smoke detectors be hardwired into your home’s electrical wiring. This means you don’t have to worry about the batteries in your smoke detector very often. One good thing about hardwired smoke detectors is that when one goes off, all of the smoke detectors in the house go off. So if a fire starts in the basement, you’ll know right away, even if you’re sleeping on the top floor of your house.
If you’re renovating an older house and want to replace your smoke detectors but can’t hardwire them, this could be an issue. Luckily, there are new WiFi-connected smoke detectors that work similarly to hardwired smoke detectors. This WiFi connection ensures that your smoke detectors can communicate with each other, so when one goes off, the other will also. Make sure when investing in WiFi-connected smoke detectors that they are all the same brand so they can communicate effortlessly with each other.
Combined CO2 Sensors
You can also get smoke detectors that have carbon monoxide sensors in them as well. Since your home will also need carbon monoxide detectors, this one sensor can cover you in both areas. This is especially useful during a fire because there is carbon monoxide in every fire. Your sensor will be able to communicate with each other to determine what kind of emergency is present to alert you.
Testing Your Smoke Detectors
It’s a smart idea to get into the habit of changing the batteries in your smoke detectors every six months or every daylight savings time. It would be a terrible shame to have a fire in your house, but your smoke detectors never notify you because the batteries are dead. Changing the batteries regularly ensures that your smoke detectors are always ready to alert you to an emergency situation.
If your smoke detectors are hardwired, you should still test your smoke detectors every six months as well. Every detector has a test button. Press and hold the button to make sure the alarm sounds. If you find that your smoke detector alarms don’t go off, replace them right away.