Do smoke detectors need to be replaced after so many years?

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  #1  
Old 04-04-2013, 04:28 PM
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billethkid billethkid is offline
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Default Do smoke detectors need to be replaced after so many years?

I always thought they were good for ever. And how does one know they are no longer working? Maybe that is why they should be replaced every _ ? _ years?

Ours are 9 years old. The one carbon monoxide detector shows lights glowing and or blinking but does not respond when the test button is pressed. I am guessing that is a candidate for replacement.

btk
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2013, 04:50 PM
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Great question BTK......

Here is a link that answers many questions including the ones you asked from the U.S. Fire Administration;

USFA Smoke Alarms

Basically, they suggest replacing them every 8-10 years. I recently upgraded the ones in my home to the newer dual-sensor photo-electric and ionization detectors. I bought mine from Amazon.

Without getting into details too much, the dual sensor detectors "detect" different types of fires. The innards of a dual sensor smoke alarm include a photoelectric sensor and an ionization sensor. Photoelectric sensors are very good at detecting slow, smoldering fires like fires which start in mattresses, couches, carpeting, and drapes. An ionization sensor can detect a sudden burst of flame like a grease fire. The combined sensors work together to alert people to smoky conditions and fires.

The photoelectric smoke alarms in dual sensor smoke alarms use beams of light to detect smoke and fires. Under normal conditions, a light emitting diode creates a stream of light which can be read by the smoke alarm's sensor. In smoky conditions, when particles begin to obscure the beam, the sensor emits a signal to indicate that the beam of light has been disrupted, indicating smoky conditions or large amounts of particulates in the air.

These should NOT be confused with the combo Smoke Detector- Carbon Monoxide detectors- Those are entirely different.

Hope that helps!

Frank D'Angelo, ACI
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:15 PM
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About a month ago I came home to 3 of my smoke detectors giving off an alarm that I found out to be a detection of Carbon Monoxide.(4 beeps) I figured it was impossible for us to have this alarm since there was nothing that could have produced carbon monoxide. I didn't figure it was an emergency and called the fire dept for "not an emergency" I had to leave a message which was never answered. I removed the alarms for several hours and replaced them and then everything seemed normal. About 2 weeks later they went off again. This time I called 911. The fire dept arrived and informed me that the 3 detectors were linked and one or two of them were giving false readings and to call the 1-800 number on the unit. I called and they said they would replace the units since they were under warranty but warned to clean them every month.
Being I live in an all electric home and have nothing that produces carbon monoxide except vehicles which I don't keep running in my garage I've decided to in the future if there is false alarms to replace them with smoke only detectors($18. at Walmart) since we are not going to climb on an 8' ladder once a month to dust the detectors.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:43 PM
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This site has a lot of info. First Alert, protecting what matters most Our CO combo detector was going off , I called the BRK/First Alert service dept and they sent me two new ones. They have a warranty of I think 5 yrs.

As of July 1, 2008 all new construction (including residential) in Florida with fossil fuel heat, appliances, fireplaces or attached garages will be required to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed within 10 feet of sleeping areas.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:51 PM
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It is my opinion that even in a total electric home one should have one combo Carbon Monoxide / Smoke detector. This could be a battery only one if you like, installed in a place where one could get to it in a safe manner.

In my many years with the Fire Dept I have gone to countless CO calls. Most of course were from furnaces or gas water heaters with bad flue pipes, backdrafting, or cracked heat exchangers.

I did have come calls where a Senior Citizen forgot to turn off their car after pulling into the garage and closing the door. I've seen gas grills blowing into the house. I remember a family almost dying because the power went out and the owner was running a generator that the exhaust was getting into the home.

I know it is kind of off topic, but folks should know that Carbon Monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless......and potentially deadly. That being said, One's chances of having Carbon Monoxide in your home is "almost" zero in a total electric home.

I am just posting some info on the subject......not trying to "alarm" anyone. Basically, if you have a CO/Smoke combo detector in your home now it is wise to keep it that way.

Frank D'Angelo, ACI
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Old 04-06-2013, 07:00 AM
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About 6 months ago, I replaced my 10 year old smoke detectors in my home here in the Chicago area. I replaced them with the smoke detectors that are supposed to last 10 years without needing a battery change. Has anyone had experience with these smoke detectors with the 10 year batteries? Hopefully by the time these smoke detectors need to be replaced in 2022, I will be in TV and it will be the next owner's responsibility.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billethkid View Post
I always thought they were good for ever. And how does one know they are no longer working? Maybe that is why they should be replaced every _ ? _ years?

Ours are 9 years old. The one carbon monoxide detector shows lights glowing and or blinking but does not respond when the test button is pressed. I am guessing that is a candidate for replacement.

btk
If you call 352-205-8280, the telephone number for the Fire Department right here in TV, they will come to the house and check your system for absolutely no cost. It is a service they perform for TV. They are a great group of very polite young people, both male and female.

We no longer do our own battery changes, we call them and they respond almost immediately and handle everything. The very first time we asked for this service we had to replace almost all our alarms, they waited for him to return from the store with the new alarms and installed them for us. Be prepared for the big fire engine to appear outside your house and all your neighbors to be wondering what on earth is going on!

We did ask if they would accept a donation, but they would not take anything for this service.
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