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How Often Should Smoke Detectors Be Replaced?

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Close up of hand changing battery in smoke detector

We all know how important smoke detectors are. They keep yourself, your loved ones, and your home protected in the event of a fire. 

You’ve probably changed the batteries in your smoke detector or had them tested, but did you know that smoke alarms can expire? 

In reality, there is much more to smoke detectors than most people think. To be effective, it is crucial to install and maintain the smoke detectors in your home correctly. But what kind of maintenance do smoke detectors require beyond battery changes and testing?

Keep reading to learn more about how to keep your smoke alarms working properly to ensure they’re protecting the things and people most important to you.  

Types of Smoke Alarms

Most people don’t know that there are different types of smoke detectors. Knowing which type of smoke detector you have in your home can help you take proper care of them. 

Ionization Smoke Detectors

The most popular type of smoke detector uses ionized particles to detect smoke in the air. 

Inside an ionization smoke detector, there are two electrically charged plates that create a current. When smoke gets into the detector, the current is disrupted, triggering the alarm. 

Ionization smoke detectors work better with flaming fires compared to smouldering fires. 

Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

The second most popular type of smoke detector is the photoelectric detector. Instead of using particles to detect smoke, a photoelectric smoke detector used a light sensor.

Once the smoke enters the detector’s chamber, the smoke will block the light sensors, triggering the alarm.

Because smouldering fires fill the room with smoke before they produce flames, photoelectric smoke detectors are more efficient in detecting a fire early on.

Battery-Powered Detectors

Battery-powered smoke detectors are the most common smoke alarm. These detectors need to be maintained regularly to keep you, your loved ones, and your possessions safe. 

Hard-Wired Smoke Detectors

The alternative to battery-powered smoke detectors are hard-wired detectors. While they still use batteries in the event of a power outage, these detectors are also hooked up to your home’s electrical system, making them more reliable. 

Things to Consider when Buying a New Smoke Detector

If you need to buy a new smoke alarm, there are a few things you should consider:

  • Buy different types of detectors depending on where they’ll be located in your home
  • You should have at least one smoke / CO detector on every level of the home
  • Building code requires that all of the smoke detectors in your home are interconnected 

If you are unsure of what type of smoke detector to buy or how many you need for your home, contact us at 4-Star Electric today.

Smoke Alarm Maintenance

Each year, many Canadians experience loss from fires that could have been prevented if they had a working smoke alarm. Smoke alarm maintenance is crucial to ensure your detector will work properly if there is a fire in your home.

To help keep your home safe, we recommend following this smoke detector maintenance guide: 

Every Month

  • Test your smoke detector by pressing the button until the alarm sounds
  • Check the expiration date on hard-wired smoke alarms 

Twice a Year

  • Change the batteries in all smoke detectors in your home

Every 2 Years

  • Carefully clean your smoke detector 

Every 10 Years

  • Completely replace your smoke detector
Electrician on top of ladder fixing smoke detector in home

What Do I Do if My Smoke Alarm Isn’t Working?

If your smoke alarm isn’t working, you may notice that it is beeping every few minutes or the alarm doesn’t sound when you press the button. If this happens, you should:

  • Check the expiration date on your detector and try replacing the battery
  • Call an electrician to see if there is an electrical problem in your home

In addition to making sure your smoke detector is always in proper working order, you should always have an updated emergency plan.  

The Takeaway 

Smoke Alarms are a crucial part of your home that keeps you and your loved ones safe. However, proper maintenance is needed to keep your smoke alarm up to date and working correctly. 

Even with proper maintenance, you need to replace your smoke alarm at least every 10 years. 

If you have any questions or concerns, contact us at 4-Star Electric today! Our expert team is always happy to answer any questions you may have.

Written by 4-Star Electric

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