Smoke And Carbon
detector manufacturers recommend replacing smoke detectors at
least every 10 years. Research shows 30% of
detectors fail after 10 years, 50% after 15
An excerpt: (NFPA 72 Sectdion 10.4.7, emphasis added)
10.4.7 Replacement of Smoke
Alarms in One- and Two Family Dwellings. Unless otherwise recommended
by the manufacturer's published instructions, single- and
multiple-stations smoke alarms installed in one- and two-family
dwellings shall be replaced when they fail to respond to operability
tests, but shall not remain in service longer than 10 years from
the date of manufacture.
We're used to getting calls occasionally to replace
detectors, now we know why. This should become a planned
item. How old is your house and your detectors? .
Enjoying life ? How about ensuring that you and your family
are around to enjoy more? Reports have shown that over half of
smoke detectors in homes are not functioning properly. Sometimes , it's
as simple as a dead battery, or sometimes, people have even removed the
battery all together!
There are 3 basic types of smoke detector
Battery only (9 volt) which are simply attached to
are usually found in homes built before 1980 or so and NOT something you want to bet your life on.
'Hard-wired' 120 volt smoke detectors. Homes
These are wired similarly to lights, etc., but they are also
so that if 1 detector senses smoke, all the detectors go off.
is so you hear the alarm even if you're in another part of the
In case of a power outage during a fire or even something as simple as a rain storm, this type of fire alarm is renderd useless
'Hard-wired' low voltage smoke detectors.
( Homes With
Systems.) These are part of the household burglar alarm
The back-up rechargeable power supply of the alarm system provides power to the fire alarm system in case the
goes out. These systems are best maintained by your alarm company.
If you have 120 volt powered smoke detectors, now would be a good time
to find out what circuit they are on and label it. You don't want
to try to figure out what breaker it is if you get a false alarm in the
middle of the night. Have someone watch the power LED while you
breakers off until the LED goes out.
What do you do if your smoke
First, check to be sure everyone is safe and there is no fire.
don't want to assume that it's a false
If it is a false alarm:
For battery or single detectors
(non-interconnected), you can try
the alarm by blowing or vacuuming around the detector in case dust is
a problem. Your last resort is to remove/disconnect the power or
For interconnected smoke detectors, you need to
is causing the alarm and disconnect it.
Different models of smoke detectors have
different methods of
which detector is initiating the alarm and thereby activating all the
The key is the red LED indicator lights. On some systems, the
detector will show no red LED while the others all have steady on LEDs
or blinking LEDs. Some systems are the opposite. What do
do for your situation? The answer is simple; "it's odd man
out." Simply look at the detectors and see which one detector has
a different LED pattern than the others. The one that is
is the one that needs to be replaced.
If you know what circuit breaker powers the
detectors, turn the
off. The battery back-up will still keep the detectors alarming.
Then, usually a simple counter clockwise twist
of the smoke
allow you to detach the unit from its mounting plate. Then
the plug connector on the back. Be careful if the circuit breaker
is not off since you have 120 power at the plug connector. At
point, the other detectors should stop alarming and be silent. If
not, you haven't found the problem detector.
Finally, remove the 9 volt battery and the
Low voltage detectors are wired as a zone to a Master Control Panel... Call Cherry Hill Alarm Company LLC at (856) 333-6120 for assistance.
Test your system monthly. For
interconnected units, it
helps to have someone else to tell you if the other detectors also are
when you press the test button. Usually, they start 1 or 2
after the first one. Be sure to press the test button on each
If you've had a lightning strike or surge, be sure to test the
to verify their electronics have not been damaged..
Replace all the batteries every 6 months. An
indicates low battery. Be sure the battery back-up of your smoke
detector system is working properly.
If you're getting an occasional chirp and you've
changed all the
also check your carbon monoxide
detectors to see if their batteries
Fire Protection Association)
If your detectors are over 10 years old, it's
of them. See the UPDATE at the beginning of this Smoke Detector
1984 BOCA requires 1 detector per floor and 1 in every bedroom.