How Often to Replace Fire Alarms

A functioning fire alarm system is essential to home safety, but they’re often overlooked. The National Fire Protection Association reported that nearly half of all house fire-related deaths could have been prevented if the smoke detectors in the homes affected had been functioning properly or installed correctly. Having a working smoke detector is also a requirement in most states for residential and rental properties.

In this blog, we will discuss how often you should replace your fire alarms and how you can determine the best ways to practice fire safety.

How Often Should Smoke Detectors Be Replaced?

If you still have the same fire alarm that you had when you moved into your home, there’s a good chance that it’s due to be replaced. Most smoke detectors are designed to last around ten years before needing replacing, and the batteries in your smoke detector should be replaced every six months. 

Woman installing a fire alarm

For combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, they should be replaced every five to ten years, depending on their condition. Once your smoke alarm reaches that ten-year mark, they begin to lose its sensitivity to properly detect smoke, so they’re not as reliable. If you’re unsure of the age of your system, take a look at it up close to find the manufacture date

Many people move into new homes and forget to take a look at their fire alarms, and this is a result of not knowing how their system works since many properties still have older models installed. In this case, you should consider replacing your system with a newer model that you know how to operate. Having a functioning fire alarm should be at the top of your priority list when moving into a new residence, as well as having a functional fire extinguisher. It may not seem like a priority at the time, but practicing fire safety is crucial if a fire were to break out in your home. 

This is the case for all security measures, but these security measures are put in place to protect you and your loved ones during a worst-case scenario situation.   

How to Tell When Your Fire Alarm Needs Replacing

The ten-year rule isn’t a hard rule. It’s entirely possible that your smoke detector will need to be replaced before then. Here are a few signs that it is time to replace your smoke detector:

Consistent Chirping

If your smoke detector is chirping nonstop, this is a sign that your system isn’t working as it should be. Plus, as time goes on, you’ll become more desensitized to your alarm system and it’ll be harder for you to recognize when your smoke detector is going off legitimately. It may not even go off at all.

It’s possible that replacing the batteries could calm it down but if it persists then this is a cause for concern. At that point, please arrange for a replacement as soon as you can. 

Yellowed in Color

The reason why smoke detectors yellow over time is because they contain bromine, which is a flame retardant that helps the detector withstand a fire so it can alert you longer when there’s smoke present. When your smoke detector is exposed to heat or oxygen, the bromine causes it to turn yellow in color.

It’s a natural process, and it’s a gradual way for your fire alarm to warn you when it’s time to look into replacing your system. When your detector turns yellow, that means you should replace your smoke detector. 

Unresponsive to Tests

You should test your smoke detector on occasion to make sure it responds properly, preferably once a month. It’s very simple to do so. You just need to press the “test” button located on your system. If it works, it’ll beep multiple times. If it’s not working as it should be, the beeps will sound muffled, or it won’t beep at all. 

The beeping can be loud, but you want it to alarm you in the event of a fire. If it’s the middle of the night and you’re fast asleep, will a muffled alarm be enough to wake you up? If not, this is a sign to go ahead and replace the smoke detector in your home

Alarm Goes off Randomly 

Similar to consistent beeping, false alarms aren’t ideal. Sometimes your system can struggle with sensitivity and pick up on problems that don’t exist. You want it to be sensitive enough to pick up smoke all around your home, including the basement and attic. However, it should detect smoke, not dust. If you find yourself taking out the batteries in your smoke alarm constantly to get rid of the chirping, this is the time to go ahead and get new detectors installed

Fire alarm going off

Do Hardwired Smoke Detectors Expire?

If you’re wondering how often one should replace fire alarms, when your alarm system reaches past the ten-year mark or is showing any of the signs listed above, these are your signs to get a new alarm system.

Wired smoke detectors have the same lifespan as other systems. If you run into any of the issues listed above, you can replace hardwired smoke detectors before the ten-year mark. You can replace it yourself, but if you’re in the Greater Houston area, our alarm experts at Mesa Alarms can assist you. 

Fire Alarm Systems From Mesa

If you’re located in the Greater Houston area and need to install smoke alarms in your home or business, our team at Mesa Alarms is here to help if you need it. Having working smoke detectors is an important part of keeping your home and the people in it safe. With Mesa Alarms, you don’t need to worry about if your new alarm system is being installed correctly. We’ve been keeping Houston safe since 1990 with our top-quality security solutions. Request a consultation and see how we can help you enhance your security and peace of mind.