SoundVision

How often should you replace your smoke detectors?

What you may not know about smoke alarms

We get this call all the time.  You begin to hear "beeping" from  the smoke detectors in your home.  Inevitably, you believe it is your security system that is setting off this event.  We wanted to both clear this up, and provide you with some guidelines on when to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.

Below, on the left, is a picture of a smoke detector supplied by your electrical contractor.  This type of detector requires a 9 volt, back up battery that must be replaced.  It is this battery, when it begins to get low in power, to cause the smoke detector to beep to let you know it is time to replace the batteries.  As an aside, most smoke detectors are tied together so that if there is a smoke event ALL detectors would sound as this is a life-safety event.  That means that all of the sounders might sound when a battery starts to go low.  Because of that, we always recommend to change EVERY smoke detector battery when you go to change one.  Bite the bullet, bye 15 9 volt batteries and spend an hour on a ladder changing them all out.  :-)

On the right is a smoke / heat detector that we install.  Because it's back up battery resides at the alarm panel itself, there is NO back up battery at the physical detector.  As such, this type of detector NEVER makes sound.  Should it detect a smoke or heat event, the sound would come from the alarm siren.

Years ago you made a wise decision to install smoke detectors throughout your Lake Norman home or business, keeping your family and property safe in the event of a fire. As the seasons rolled past, you’ve changed the batteries as recommended, but did you know that those trusted detectors actually have a shelf life?

It’s not just the batteries that need to be replaced

Smoke detectors have an expiration date and many currently in use have exceeded their full functionality as dust builds up over time, desensitizing the sensors.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years.  The date of manufacture can be found on the back or side of the smoke alarm. Wired or wireless, all alarms should be replaced 10 years from that date and not the date of purchase or installation. Making sure they are in good working order is critical because, according to Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA, “Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire in half.”

Interconnected smoke alarms offer an added measure of safety. Instead of just one sounding when smoke is detected, all units will be triggered, signaling every section of the home. When replacing an alarm within a connected system, experts recommend replacing all units within the system, even if some are still working. In addition, any alarm that continues to chirp after its batteries are swapped needs to be replaced, regardless of age.

Resolve to put safety first in the New Year! 

If you’ve got any questions about home life-safety and security or are interested in updating your current system or integrating a new system into your home automation system, please give us a call. We wish you and your family a happy, healthy and safe 2018!

For more safety tips for your smart home, visit: https://www.control4.com/blog/2016/12/5-easy-updates-for-a-safer-and-smarter-home-in-2017