How Long Do Smoke Detectors Last (Could Save Your Life)

One of the most common questions about home protection is how long smoke detectors last.

Knowing how long your smoke detector will last is crucial. Many smoke detectors have an electronic part lifespan of 8-10 years, while their batteries can last from 6 months to 1 year.

Type of Smoke DetectorAverage Life Span
Ionization10 Years
Photoelectric10 Years
Dual-sensor10 Years
Battery-powered1 Year
Hardwired10 Years

Replace smoke detectors if they have expired! Usually, it’s good practice to write your installation date inside the cover, so you know when to replace them; if you can’t find this, you can use the manufacturing date inside the device.

carbon monoxide detectors

There are several types of smoke detectors, including:

  1. Ionization smoke detectors: These use a small amount of radioactive material to detect smoke particles. They typically last for about ten years.
  2. Photoelectric smoke detectors: These use a light sensor to detect smoke particles. They typically last for about ten years.
  3. Dual-sensor smoke detectors use ionization and photoelectric technology to detect smoke particles. They typically last for about ten years.
  4. Battery-powered smoke detectors: These run on batteries and do not need to be connected to an electrical circuit. The batteries typically last for about one year.
  5. Hardwired smoke detectors: These are connected to an electrical circuit and have a backup battery. They typically last for about ten years.

The Lifespan Of Carbon Monoxide And Smoke Detectors

Most people don’t realize that the smoke detectors in their homes are only suitable for ten years. It is helpful to know to change smoke detector batteries yearly to keep them in prime working order. An ideal smoke detector uses a 9-volt battery, which lasts about a year, although some models use AA, C, or D batteries depending on the alarm model. (1)

A carbon monoxide detector lasts about seven years. We suggest changing it every five years to detect carbon monoxide due to rust and corrosion after that time.

When this happens, you may not notice it because the battery smoke detectors have a design to work as long as possible. But, when a carbon monoxide detector stops working correctly, it is essential to replace it immediately. That’s why it is helpful to remember that they need a change every five years.

change smoke detectors

Symptoms To Substitute The Smoke Detector

Your smoke detector is speaking to you. It’s telling you the battery is low and needs a change. As a responsible homeowner, you should go to the store immediately and purchase new smoke detector batteries.

Keeping your smoke detectors properly maintained is essential. It may not work during an emergency if you don’t replace the battery. There are many reasons that appliances start making strange noises, including a loose wire or a dirty motor coupling or overloading them by starting multiple appliances simultaneously.

Keep your family safe by testing your dual-sensor smoke alarm monthly. It’s helpful to open windows and doors before testing the unit to ensure you hear the dual-sensor smoke alarm. Testing it regularly is essential because if something is wrong with your unit, whether a low battery or a burned-out smoke alarm photoelectric sensor, you won’t know until you test it (the smoke alarm photoelectric sensor is fragile). (2)

Do you plan to be home today? If not, remember that your home should be safe from fires while you’re away. Prevention is the key when it comes to protection. The main indications that you need to substitute the smoke detector are:

  • Constant battery replacement chirp
  • Late operation
  • Too frequent false alarms
  • Rusty smoke detector parts 

How To Check The Smoke Detector

Are you looking for an easy way to test your smoke detector? If you’re a homeowner, you should check your smoke detector and alarm monthly to ensure they are properly working. The process is simple.

1. Choose a time when children are in school or otherwise occupied and tell the family where you will do the testing. You may even want to test the alarm at dinnertime so you know it will work properly.

2. Any member of the family should be at a great distance from the house. This step serves to check if the sound of the alarm reaches every corner of the house. There is a good solution in those places where the sound is too weak. You need to install additional smoke detectors to increase the sound in those problem areas.

3. Press and hold the test button on the device for a few seconds. The user should begin to hear a piercing, loud sound as the user presses the button. It is helpful to add new batteries when the sound is too weak or no sound is present. The user can install new batteries even if a smoke detector has wires. Cleaning the grilles of debris and dirt that blocks proper operation is also helpful. 

outdated smoke detector

How To Get Good Use Out Of A Smoke Detector

You can test your smoke detector by pressing the button that triggers the alarm. Damage or dirt can impair the detector’s sensitivity, and you want it to work correctly if there’s a fire. Regularly check that all electrical connections are secure in case of water damage from flooding or high humidity.

Tips for Maintenance

Everyone needs new batteries from time to time; paying attention when the smoke alarm emits some intermittent sound is helpful. Avoid removing the cover but implement a proper cleaning of the smoke detector. A vacuum cleaner may be sufficient for this purpose.

Every month the user needs to test the alarm to check the correct functioning of the device.
Usually, the regular battery life of the smoke detector provides six months of use. They are adding high-quality batteries once every six months may be sufficient.

If you plan to cook in the kitchen or a separate area, make sure you have 20 pounds ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher. If you are not planning to cook, make sure you have a 5-pound “K” class fire extinguisher. Ensure at least one extinguisher on every floor, including the basement and attic space.

Great Set-Up

Smoke detectors are a necessity in every home. You should have at least one hard-wired smoke detector installed inside each bedroom or next to the sleeping area door, which is usually a hallway.

A smoke detector is functional on each floor and should be set up near each bathroom and stairwell. There should be a smoke detector in the kitchen, near any common area where cooking occurs (including the den or living room), and in the laundry room.

Fire Evacuation Plan And Smoke Detectors

To improve the fire evacuation plan, install smoke alarms in bedrooms and outside each separate sleeping area. Don’t forget to install alarms on every level of your home and basement. Then, stay on top to change the smoke detector batteries!

You may not realize it, but a fire could start anywhere and spread quickly through your home. By installing smoke alarms, you give yourself a chance to get out alive.

(1) AA, C, or D batteries –
(2) photoelectric sensor –

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