how often do smoke detectors need to be replaced

Wondering how often do Smoke Detectors need to be replaced? Keep reading!

Users often can’t quite understand how often the Smoke Detectors have to be replaced, and whether there is a difference between the hardwired and the wireless units.

In this guide, we’ll learn how often Smoke Detectors should be replaced to keep us safe and secure!

The Smoke Detector device has to be replaced every 10 years, starting from the assembly date and not from when the detector has been installed. The manufacturing data is always written on a sticker under the device, for users’ orientation.

Let’s next learn more about the smoke detectors’ life span and how they operate:

About Smoke Detectors Lifespan!

about the smoke detectors lifespan

The Smoke Detector device, such as any other piece of technology has an approximate life span, that guarantees the best performance.

However, we can’t risk this device in particular when its operation is related to critical situations such as fire hazards.

The Smoke Detector’s lifespan varies from 8 to 10 years since the device’s production!

The devices might be able to last longer than the aforementioned period, but it’s unsafe to keep using a device that is officially declared “out of date”. 

Let’s next learn how to tell if our Smoke Detector has to be replaced and when:

How Often Do Smoke Detectors Need To Be Replaced?

According to the United States Fire Administration, the Smoke Detector devices have to be replaced a maximum of 10 years after the assembly date.

how often smoke detector need changed

The general misconception here is that the device itself can last up to 10 years, but this is not always the case!

It’s not safe to use a Smoke Detector that is more than 10 years old.

Even when the device appears to be working well, after 10 years have passed, it’s strongly recommended to replace the device with a fresh unit.

This will ensure that the Smoke Detection will not fail at a critical time, exposing the environment to deadly smoke.

My Smoke Detector Assembly Date?

At the bottom of each Smoke Detector, there is a sticker that provides information such as Assembly Date, Serial Number, Model, Web Information, and more…

What you need to know is the Assembly Date, and whether the detector was made 10 years ago or more recently.

According to your findings, you’ll know whether your Smoke Detector is due for replacement or you can continue using the device normally.

In some rare cases, there is no Assembly Date on the writings and instead, you should copy the Model and Serial Number.

Then, using Google you’ll be able to find out when your Smoke Detector series were first assembled and whether they are still good for use.

Tip: On the bottom sticker of each Smoke Detector, there should be a support number for you to call and acquire more information about the device’s history.

Do Fire Alarms Have To Be Replaced?

fire alarm need to replace

In case you’re wondering what’s the difference between a Smoke Detector and a Fire Alarm, the main distinguisher is just one. The answer could be formulated really simply!

The Smoke Detector only alerts when there is a fire while the Fire Alarm also acts!

This is one more reason to make sure that your Fire Alarm is not due for replacement. 

Now when we know the difference, let’s learn more about when Fire Alarms should be replaced:

How Often To Replace A Fire Alarm?

The Fire Alam such as the Smoke Detectors has to be replaced once every 10 years!

You can tell when the Alarm device has been made by looking at the bottom sticker.

Keep in mind that such devices often have a lot of dust and cobwebs, making it harder for users to read the labels.

In such cases, you can either clean the device or check the Serial Number online!

Note: The main reason for replacement is that the device’s sensors degrade over time!

How To Recognize A Faulty Smoke Detector?

recognize a faulty detectors

In case your Smoke Detector is emitting sounds in a weird behavior or manner, here you’ll learn whether your device is due for replacement or not.

It’s important to understand that inspecting and testing your device is extremely important for such a life-critical detection.

Here are the top “6” signs of a faulty Smoke Detector:

  1. Uncontrollably Chirping
  2. Flashing RED Light
  3. The Detector Cover is Yellow
  4. The TEST is Not Working
  5. Smoke is Not Detected
  6. Constant False Alarms

The first course of action is always to replace the batteries. However, when the weird behavior continues even with a fresh pair of batteries, the Smoke Detector has to be replaced. 

It’s important to remember that even when your smoke-detection device is hardwired to the AC line, the same rules and recommendations apply.

Keep your devices regularly maintained.

Let’s next answer the question that comes to mind, shall we?

How Often To Replace Smoke Detector Batteries?

how often to replace batteries

Perhaps that is the most frequently asked question that Smoke Detector users are often wondering about and in most cases, the answers are all wrong.

One should not wait until the smoke detector starts the “low-battery” chirping to replace the external or backup battery.

For ALL types of Smoke Detectors, the batteries should be replaced every 6 months!

This is the safest option since it will guarantee that the fire-detection device won’t give up while you’re on a vacation or simply out of town.

Waiting for the “low-battery” chirp appears unsafe and not necessary when you can purchase a fresh pair of batteries for a couple of dollars.

Some Smoke Detectors can last a lot longer with a fresh pair of batteries but according to the United States Fire Administration, 6 months is the best replacement duration!

Note: Most wireless Smoke Detectors use 9V AA batteries!

How To TEST A Smoke Detector?

how test smoke detectors

When you replace the batteries or the entire Smoke Detector device, performing a TEST is mandatory to ensure that the device is working properly.

The test only requires a couple of seconds and users do not need to light anything on fire to ensure the functionality of the device.

Here’s how to perform a TEST on a Smoke Detector device:

  1. Locate the TEST/HUSH button on the device.
  2. Press and hold that button for a few seconds.
  3. A loud and piercing alarm should start.
  4. Release the button to stop the siren.

There are only 2 possible outcomes:

  • When the siren is weak, you should replace the batteries.
  • When the siren is nonexistent, you should replace the device!

How To Replace A Smoke Detector?

Now that we’ve learned how often Fire Detectors need to be replaced, it’s time for a quick guide on how to replace the actual device.

We’ll discuss the replacement of wireless smoke detectors which are often installed in households and small controlled environments.

Tip: The hardwired Smoke Detectors should be replaced with the help of a technician.
how to replace the smoke detector

Here’s how to replace a wireless Smoke Detector in easy steps:

  1. Remove the old Smoke Detector from the ceiling.
  2. Unpack the brand new fire-detection device.
  3. Either use the already existing holes or choose a new position.
  4. Use the screw openings to attach the Smoke Detector to the ceiling.
  5. Insert the batteries.
  6. Use the TEST button to make sure that the device is working!

When you’re ready with the Smoke Detector replacement you can have peace of mind that your family is secured.

It’s important to remember to check the Assembly Date to be aware of when you should replace your Smoke Detector in the future. Keep track to be safe!

Note: A healthy Smoke Detector should not chirp without proper reasoning!

Quick Recap:

Thus, the Smoke Detector has to be replaced before or shortly after 10 years have passed since the device has been manufactured. The Assembly Date can be found on a sticker on the bottom of the fire-detection device, clearly indicating when it was made.

Final Thoughts:

Now that we’ve learned how often do Smoke Detectors need to be replaced as well as their batteries, we now have more knowledge about our devices.

This will keep us aware of when the device is no longer safe to use and when to replace the entire detector for good.

After all, Smoke Alarms are life-critical devices, and taking the time to understand how they work is a number one priority.

For more relevant guides, check out our tech blog!

Nicole B