The Real Reason You Might Need To Replace Your Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are a basic part of home safety. You'll find them in your kitchen, and they may even be dotted around your house. According to First Alert, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises that you should change your smoke detector every ten years. This means changing the whole detector. Alongside that, Framework notes that you should change the batteries in your smoke detector every year. This may sound excessive, but there's a very real reason why you might need to replace your smoke detectors.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 59% of home fire deaths happen in homes where the smoke alarms aren't working or in homes that don't have smoke alarms at all. Staying on top of your smoke alarm checks every year and every ten years could save a life. A study conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, as shared by Cheshire Fire & Rescue Service, found that 97% of smoke detectors should still be working after just one year. After ten years, this dips to 73%, and after 20 years, it lowers to 54%.

You may have noticed that your smoke alarm has become super sensitive, beeps, or goes off for prolonged periods. It can be tempting to just take the batteries out, press the hush button on it, or move it into another room. However, Safelincs notes that all of these scenarios could be an indication that you need to change your smoke detector.

How to know when you need to change your smoke detector

If you've moved into a home that was previously owned or rented, then it's likely that you're not totally clued up on how old your smoke detector is and when it'll next need changing.

When your smoke detector needs a new battery, Universal Security Instruments, Inc. (USI) notes, it may bleep. Otherwise, a continuous or flashing red light may show that it's functioning as it should. However, this isn't a given on all models. And there's generally no indication when ten years is up and you need to change it entirely. Consumer Affairs explains that one of the best ways to double-check if you need to change your smoke detector is by checking the date on it. Most fire alarms should have either a date of manufacturing or an expiration date. To check the date, Consumer Affairs shares that you need to take the detector off the wall or ceiling and look on the back. If you're still within the ten-year period after the alarm was manufactured, then put it back on the wall.

Changing your smoke detectors every ten years may feel like a big task, but USI explains that, as the alarm comes into contact with dirt and grease and as time goes on, it can become less effective and may be more susceptible to false alarms at random times. You can prevent this by simply changing the smoke detectors.