Installing smoke detectors isn’t a one-and-done task. They have a lifespan and need to be replaced eventually. Let’s go over the signs you can look out for to know when you need a smoke detector replacement.
Why Smoke Detectors are So Important
Smoke detectors are invaluable, and replacing them when the time comes is crucial. Here’s why.
Every year in the U.S., over 2,500 people lose their lives in residential fires. About two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with inadequately working smoke detectors. A properly working, reliable smoke detector is one of the best and least expensive ways to save yourself from a deadly fire. They will always stand guard, and if ever needed, they will alert you of a fire, allowing you and your family the precious but limited time needed to escape.
There will come a time when you need to replace the smoke detectors in your home. To keep you and your family safe, here are signs to look out for so you know when to replace them.
It’s Around 10 Years Old
A good rule of thumb, as suggested by the National Fire Protection Agency, is to replace your smoke detectors every 10 years. This is because dust accumulates in your detectors over time, degrading their sensors. Due to the unstable sensitivity of older smoke detectors, you may not have sufficient time to evacuate in the event of a fire. Not to mention, older detectors are more prone to electrical corrosion.
We recommend that if you’re replacing one connected smoke alarm, to go ahead and replace them all so you can be sure they’re all in tip-top shape.
Your Detector is Old-Looking
Have you noticed a smoke detector looking a little old and yellow? This isn’t from dust or grease buildup but rather a sign of age. Fire retardant bromine is frequently injected into the plastic of residential smoke detectors by manufacturers. This serves two functions – first, it protects the unit in the event of a fire, and second, it acts as a visual indicator that the smoke detector is likely outdated and should be replaced.
So, if you aren’t sure how old the smoke detectors are in your home, check to see if they’re yellow. If they are, you’ve likely got some older alarms on your hands.
Goes Off Unexpectedly
While you want the detectors in your home to be sensitive enough to pick up on a whiff of smoke, you don’t want them so sensitive they go off unexpectedly when there isn’t a problem.
As we mentioned, as smoke detectors age, they can have unstable sensitivity. This can lead to them missing smoke cues or picking up on problems that don’t even exist. When this happens, your smoke detector might go off randomly, causing you to take it down and remove the batteries just to keep it quiet. If you’re dealing with this – it’s a sign you need to get your detector replaced pronto. While removing the batteries will stop all the annoying commotion, it also means you have one less device to keep you and your family safe.
It Won’t Stop Chirping
Typically, the “chirp” from a detector means there’s a problem with the batteries or improper wiring. If you replace the battery or fix the wiring, then the chirping should stop.
But if it’s chirping all the time (even after replacing the battery and checking the wiring), this isn’t something you should ignore. If you leave the chirping, you’re going to be putting your home at risk, as this is a sign a smoke detector is on its way out. Arrange with an electrician to replace your smoke detector right away to make the chirping a thing of the past.
It Doesn’t Respond to Testing
In case you didn’t know, an essential habit to get into as a homeowner is to test all your smoke detectors at least once a month. All you need to do is press the “test” button located on the smoke detector to make sure it’s working. It should beep loudly to let you know you don’t have anything to be concerned about.
However, if your detector isn’t working the way it’s supposed to, it won’t beep at all when you test it. Or if it does beep, it will sound muffled. With reactions like these, you should consider replacing your detector to ensure you and your family’s safety.
Let Speck Family Electric Help You Keep Your Family Safe
Smoke detectors perform an essential function in defending both property and life. And without properly operating detectors, you could put family members, pets, and yourself in serious danger.
If you notice any of these signs in your own detectors, it’s time to call in our team at Speck Family Electric. Our electricians are happy to handle your smoke detector installation and replacement services. We promise to complete the job with your safety and the safety of your home in mind. After all, our experienced team takes pride in performing reliable services and getting each job done safely and efficiently. We service those in Sparta, Spencer, Smithville, Pikeville, McMinnville, Lebanon, Crossville, Cookeville, and Baxter.