Most of us know you have to perform annual battery changes in your smoke detectors, but did you know your smoke detectors have a lifespan. Ten years is the life span of most smoke detectors, and after ten years it’s time to replace the unit. If your detectors are interconnected, meaning when one goes off they all go off, then when replacing them you need to replace all of them.
This can add up, I know in my home we have 8 smoke detectors and two carbon monoxide detectors. So replacing them can be costly.
Did you know there are different types of smoke detectors? Ionization and photo electric are the two different sensors. The ionization is the most common in homes. The ionization detectors have shown in testing to have a delayed alert during smoldering fires while the photo electric alarms alert much quicker. It’s recommended to have dual sensing detectors in the home. You can even buy a combination detector which will have the ionization, photo electric and carbon monoxide detection all in one unit. I have seen in some new construction homes the builders are installing detectors which have ionization, carbon monoxide and natural gas sensors all in one unit.
One of the big problems with older smoke detectors is false alarms. The alarm will trigger for no reason and becomes a nuisance so it gets disconnected and removed which leaves you unprotected. I have seen this in many homes while conducting home inspections and it is a major safety hazard.
So it’s best not to just change your batteries in your smoke detectors, but know what type of detectors are protecting you. Check to see how old it is, they should have a date stamp on the inside if it doesn’t have a date it’s time to replace it. If you have gas appliances in the home, a fireplace or an attached garage make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors in the home.