Posted on: June 2nd, 2019 by All Protect Systems

Smoke Alarms

Replacing your smoke or carbon monoxide alarm batteries is one of the most important household chores. It’s not something we often think about, but we know that ignoring it for too long could have very negative consequences.

For smoke and carbon monoxide alarms to do their job, they need to have working batteries. Once a year, old batteries should be replaced with new batteries. Even if your detector is powered by regular hydro they often have a back-up battery which must be maintained.

Don’t let your warning system expire on you. A smoke alarm is often your first warning when a fire starts. Ensuring it’s fully functional is crucial to providing as much time as possible to escape safely.

However, smoke alarms don’t last forever. Even when you replace batteries, the alarm itself still must be replaced every 10 years, from the date of manufacture.

Install Smoke Alarms It’s the Law

Working smoke alarms are required on every level of your home and must be located outside all sleeping areas. For new homes The Ontario Building Code requires smoke alarms with visual indicators be installed in all bedrooms. To survive a fire, you need to be provided with an early warning and know what to do when the smoke alarms sound.

If you are a tenant, it is the responsibility of your Landlord to ensure that their rental property comply with the law. If you are a tenant and don’t have the proper number of detectors or the detectors do not work, contact your landlord or property manager immediately. Adversely it is against the law for tenants to remove batteries or tamper with smoke or carbon monoxide detectors.

Tampering with or removing the batteries from your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms is against the law. Failure to comply with the Fire Code can result in a ticket for $360 or a fine of up to $50,000.  

The General 10-Year Rule

Every smoke alarm has manufacturer’s recommendations for when you should replace it. This should be used as a guideline, but the actual date may vary based on the product installed. You should also consult the company who installed your smoke alarm system for their recommendation based on your organization and the alarm system you have installed.

For most standard smoke alarms, the average lifespan is 10 years. Once again, double-check the manufacturer’s warranty details as to the maximum lifespan. Most residential systems only last for a max of 10 years, even those wired in.

Backup batteries should be replaced at least twice a year with fresh batteries. While most smoke alarms are now wired in, backup batteries are still required in the event of a power outage.

While the 10-year rule works for some smoke alarms, different types of systems may last longer or for less time.

Have Smoke Alarms Inspected

A good way to tell if it’s time to replace your smoke alarms is to have them inspected. For multi-unit dwellings, All Protect Systems Inc. will tailor a maintenance program to inspect your alarms on a regular basis. If this hasn’t been done, contact All Protect Systems Inc. to schedule an inspection.

If any abnormalities are found, you’ll be advised to replace your smoke alarms immediately. Even if the alarms are new, it’s still recommended to replace any alarms that aren’t working properly 100% of the time. The last thing you want is to have your alarm fail when you need it most.

Perform Regular Tests

You can also perform regular tests to ensure your alarms are working as they should. Test them as part of your emergency plan at least monthly. Not only does this help you to stay on top of your smoke alarms, but it also helps everyone practice fire escape strategies so if the worst does happen, everyone is as prepared as possible.

Structural Changes

If you’ve made major structural changes, you may need to also replace, relocate or add smoke alarms. Construction and changes to the wiring could result in your alarms not working as planned. Have all alarms inspected after the changes are complete. Plus, you’ll likely need to re-do your system to account for the changes for optimal fire safety.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Once you’ve learned the regular date to replace your smoke alarms (either by the manufacturer or the installation company), stick to that schedule unless an inspection advises you to do otherwise. You should never wait past this recommended date. Even if the alarm still appears to be working, it could quit at any time. Ideally, you should replace the smoke alarms just before the recommended date to be safe.

Not sure when to replace your smoke alarms? Learn more about All Protect System’s fire alarm services and how we help maintain your alarms.I