How Often Should You Replace Smoke Detectors?

When it is time to change the battery in a smoke detector it becomes evident rather quickly when it starts emitting a high-pitched chirping noise that can’t be ignored. It is not as evident when it is time to actually replace the smoke detector itself.  Professionally installed detectors do not generally have an auditory alert to change the battery.  These systems send a signal to the central monitoring station that the battery needs replaced.

Many people do not realize that smoke detectors have a recommended lifespan. Using them beyond that recommended lifespan could endanger lives and property. So, when is it time to replace them? The National Fire Protection Agency, FEMA, and Consumer Affairs all recommend that smoke detectors be replaced no later than 10 years of service.  Sensors could lose sensitivity and not work properly in expired detectors.

FEMA Recommends Taking Matters into Your Own Hands

Since there is no auditory reminder, FEMA recommends taking matters into your own hands and checking your smoke detector and replacing it at the appropriate time.

  • If your smoke detector is part of a security system, contact your security provider. A security system professional can confirm your product’s age and replace it properly. Do not try to remove a smoke detector that is part of a professionally monitored system. Doing so could result in a signal being sent to your monitoring provider.
  • For smoke detectors that are not part of a monitored system:
    • Remove the smoke detector from the ceiling.
    • Look on the back of the device for the date of manufacture.
    • Remember that smoke detectors should be replaced 10 years from the date of manufacture.
    • If it’s less than 10 years old, put the smoke detector back on the ceiling or wall.

ASI professionals can help evaluate the working order of your smoke alarm as well as provide an assessment of your entire security system. Your security system is made of many components and each of them needs the proper care to remain optimally effective.

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