Smoke detectors are a critical safety feature in your business and home. Functional fire alarm systems save lives. Therefore, it’s pivotal that your smoke detectors and alarms are in good working order.
In this post, we’re going to explore the necessity and importance of smoke detectors as well as how to know when it’s time to replace them.
How Often Should You Replace Smoke Detectors?
Fire specialists recommend replacing your smoke detectors every 10 years. If your fire alarm systems and smoke detectors are 10 years or older, it’s probably high time you replaced them.
It is also advisable to carry out monthly tests to make sure detectors are working correctly.
Non-functional smoke detectors pose a serious threat because they won’t be able to alert you if a fire breaks out. This compromises the safety of your family, employees and clients.
The leading causes of smoke detector failure are missing or dead batteries. Today, most professional fire system specialists will recommend installing a hard-wired smoke detector with a battery backup.
Smoke Detector Routine Maintenance
- Smoke detectors should be tested every month by a qualified person.
- Ensure the building is regularly dusted and swept of cobwebs as these can obstruct the detection of smoke in the atmosphere incapacitating your detectors.
- If your smoke detectors are outfitted with regular batteries, swap these out for a new set at least every 12 months.
- Smoke detectors can wear out, consequently, it’s best to have them all replaced once every 10 years.
If you’re not sure of the last time the smoke detectors in your building were replaced, it’s possible to verify by looking at their labels. These labels will indicate when the detectors were made. A missing label is a good sign that the smoke detector might be old and past its replace-by-due date.
When to Replace Your Smoke Detectors
You might be wondering, but how do you know when it’s time to replace your trusty detectors? Here are five tell-tale signs.
1. Your smoke detector looks yellow
One of the fastest ways to know if it’s time to overhaul your smoke detectors is by quickly scanning them for a yellow tinge. The change in colour of smoke detectors is attributed to bromine, a flame retardant substance coating the outer part of the detector.
Through wear and tear, exposure to the elements and oxidation, bromine begins to change the original colour of the smoke detector. This reaction happens over a long period of time, which is an insider tell-tale sign that it’s replacement time.
2. Repetitive chirping that won’t stop
Smoke detectors are not supposed to chirp constantly without cause. If they’re chirping it’s either the batteries are low, the detector itself is about to die, or there’s a real fire! Whichever way you look at it, chirping noises from your detectors isn’t a sound that should be ignored.
Before you rush to replace the smoke detector, you might want to have a technician hardwire the device. If the chirping still persists in spite of this, then it might be an indicator that the detector is on its way out and you should schedule a replacement.
3. Fails the monthly test
Provincial Building and Fire Codes recommend homeowners and building managers test their smoke detectors at least once each month. This test affirms working detectors and draws your attention to the smoke detectors in need of replacement.
Fortunately, the test is quite straightforward. All that’s required is pressing the “test” button that’s on each smoke detector. If the device is working correctly, it should let out a loud siren (you may want to step back because it can get very loud!).
If, however, after pressing the test button there’s no beeping sound or the sound is muffled then this must be addressed by replacing the faulty smoke detector.
4. Incessant alarm without cause
Smoke detectors are designed to be robust, home safety devices, however as they age, they can begin to sound for no apparent reason.
This does get on the nerves of many people to the point that they remove the batteries in their detectors altogether. This is of course counterproductive and leaves your home vulnerable in the event that a fire actually does break out.
So, instead of popping out the batteries, consider uninstalling all your old smoke detectors and installing a new batch.
4. It’s faulty and the product was recalled
It does sometimes happen that batches of smoke detectors are recalled by the manufacturer because of a faulty part. If this happens it can be quite a big inconvenience, but it does give you the chance to re-install a new lot of smoke detectors.
How can you know whether your smoke detectors have been recalled? Typically, a quick internet search using a keyword like ‘faulty [insert brand name] smoke detectors in [insert name of town/city]’ will provide you with the answers you need. Alternatively, the store that sold you the products might also ring you up to alert you of a product recall.
Where Should Your Smoke Detectors Be?
Firstly, you’ll want to hire a professional fire expert to install your smoke detectors. They will scope the area in need of protection and identify the best places to set up smoke detectors.
Ideally, there should be smoke detectors on each level of a multi-story building. If it’s a residential space, detectors can be installed within every bedroom and hallway.
Smoke detectors should not be installed close to windows, drafty locations, and vents.
They must be mounted on the ceiling at least 10 cm (4 inches) from the wall. If you’ve opted to have them situated on the wall, they should be placed at a distance of 10-30 cm (4-12 inches) from the ceiling.
Smoke Detector Installation Near You
Nutech Fire Prevention is a leading smoke detector installation service provider. We also offer a comprehensive line of emergency backup generators, fire alarm systems, fire warning systems, fire extinguishers, emergency lighting, exit lighting, fire safety plans, sprinkler systems, and gas detection services.
Request a free quote today.
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