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Smoke alarms and detectors are a staple in every home, so you might ask yourself, “How often should you replace smoke detectors?” Understanding when to replace these devices is integral to the safety of your family and property. The good news about smoke detectors is that they will display warning signs to let you know when they need replacement.
Restorerz-Emergency Services is here to help you stay on track with your property’s smoke detectors. We provide fire damage restoration in Los Angeles, CA, so we understand the importance of having reliable detectors and alarms. The guide below will tell you what you need to know about replacing smoke detectors.
Importance of Functional Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are lifesaving because they emit a loud noise when their sensors identify smoke particles in the air. Fires can start at any time in any room in a house. Without the noise alerting you immediately to danger, the flames can quickly spread and make it more difficult to escape to safety.
These fire safety devices offer battery-operated or hardwired models that connect into the home’s electrical system. Though a backup battery can keep the equipment functional if the power goes out or the primary battery fails, eventually, you’ll need to replace the entire smoke alarm to ensure your safety.
How Often Should You Replace Smoke Detectors in Your Home?
How often should you replace smoke detectors? Generally speaking, these devices last for about a decade before their reliability decreases. After ten years, smoke detectors lose their sensitivity to detect smoke, leaving your home and family vulnerable to smoke and fire damage.
Though the design of either type of alarm will let them function for years, dirt, dust, and grime buildup can also weaken their sensitivity to smoke particles. One of the best safety tips regarding smoke alarms is to replace them no later than ten years from the manufacturer’s date. Replacing combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every five years is ideal.
Warning Signs Your Smoke Detector Needs Replacement
Sometimes, a smoke alarm will degrade before the end of its average lifespan. Part of understanding the answer to “how often should you replace smoke detectors” is quickly identifying the warning signs of trouble.
It’s time to replace your smoke detector if the device displays any of the following signs:
1. It Goes Off Without a Reason
A functional smoke alarm can quickly pick up on smoke particles from a fire. The sensitivity will alert you to possible danger before the flames get out of hand. With a sensitive smoke detector, you’ll have a better chance of escaping to safety or putting out the flames with a fire extinguisher.
However, detectors can be too sensitive. An overly sensitive smoke alarm will go off frequently when no fire is present. For instance, it may have false alarms every time you cook, even if you have control over everything in the kitchen.
It may be tempting to disconnect or remove the batteries from an overly sensitive smoke detector. However, the increased sensitivity may be a sign that it’s time to invest in a new device.
2. It Chirps Constantly
A smoke alarm that always chirps can be annoying. However, some models produce high-pitched chirps when something is wrong with them, such as a low battery. Instead of ignoring the noise, try replacing its battery.
If the alarm is still chirping with fresh batteries or is a hardwired model, the persistent sound might indicate something else is wrong with the device. Replacing it is the best solution.
3. It Has a Yellowish Discoloration
Smoke detectors start as white but will develop a yellowish color over time. The discoloration is due to bromine, which helps the equipment withstand flames and blare its alarm. It takes years for bromine to turn a smoke detector yellow, so you can use color to know when to replace the device.
4. It Won’t Respond to Testing
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, everyone should test their smoke detectors at least once a month. Testing ensures that the equipment can detect smoke and produce a loud sound to alert the household of possible fire danger. The test will also tell you if something is wrong with the device.
To pass its test, a smoke detector should beep several times when you press the “test” button on the equipment. If something is wrong, the detector might emit a muffled beep or not make a sound. Replace the smoke detector immediately to avoid jeopardizing the household’s safety in case of a fire.
5. It Has Paint on its Surface
Paint is a common problem with smoke detectors. Sometimes people fail to temporarily remove or cover smoke detectors when painting walls and ceilings. As a result, paint gets on the device.
Unfortunately, smoke particles will have a tough time bypassing layers of paint to reach the smoke alarm’s sensor. If someone accidentally paints over a smoke detector in your home, replace it immediately.
How To Replace Smoke Detectors
Replacing a battery-operated smoke detector is relatively simple. You can purchase a new device and hang it in the same location as the outdated model. Test the new alarm once it’s in place to know it’s working correctly.
However, if you have a hardwired system, contact an electrician or alarm service company to replace the device. Because these detectors connect to the property’s electrical system, you’ll need professional assistance to install the equipment without damaging wires.
Turn to Restorerz-Emergency Services If Disaster Strikes
Fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, and other fire protection systems will help protect you and your household against dangerous fires. However, if a fire occurs, you can count on the IICRC-certified professionals from Restorerz-Emergency Services to provide prompt fire damage restoration services. Our team is available 24/7 and can respond to any emergency in an hour or less.
Now that you know the answer to “how often should you replace smoke detectors,” call (323) 970-4792 to request assistance from Restorerz-Emergency Services in Los Angeles, CA.