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We rely on smoke detectors to protect our home and loved ones. They can let us know of a fiery threat while we sleep and alert us to danger before we even notice anything is wrong. That’s why it’s so important to make sure that your smoke detectors are in top condition and ready to do their job.
You probably already know that you need to regularly check and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors—but what about when it’s time to replace the whole thing? Keep your family safe and look out for these two signs that you need new smoke detectors.
Your Smoke Detector is Too Old
Smoke detectors do not get better with age. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that household smoke detectors be replaced every 10 years. Because there’s so much at stake, you need the smoke alarms in your home to be as reliable as possible.
Even though smoke detectors are built with finely tuned parts that pass rigorous testing, over time those parts become more likely to fail. To make sure that you’re not relying on potentially faulty equipment to save your life in the event of a fire, simply change out all the smoke detectors in your home every 10 years.
If you’ve purchased a new home or rent an apartment, find out when the existing smoke detectors were purchased. If you can’t get reliable information about their age, it’s best to go ahead and get new ones. It’s better to err on the side of caution than to find out too late that your smoke alarms should have been replaced.
Your Smoke Detector Goes Off for No Reason
It may seem counter-intuitive, but sometimes too much noise from your smoke detector is a bad sign. If your smoke alarm seems to be extra sensitive—giving off false alarms—it could indicate that the sensors are damaged or faulty.
However, not all false alarms are cause to replace your smoke detector. Before you head to the store, conduct these checks to make sure a new detector is needed.
- Dust them off: Cleaning smoke detectors should be part of your regular routine. Dust and dirt can collect inside the cover of your smoke alarm, which can block the sensors. Gently wipe them down when you dust or use a soft brush attachment on your vacuum to keep smoke detectors dust-free.
- Keep them out of the kitchen: Smoke detectors can be triggered by smoke from cooking or even steam from boiling water. If your smoke alarm goes off regularly when you cook, you might want to move it at least 20 feet from the stove. If it still goes off after being moved, you could be dealing with an unreliable sensor, which means you should replace the smoke alarm.
- Check the connections: If you have a hardwired smoke alarm system, loose connections can lead to false alarms. Another cause for random alarms is power outages. Be sure that all connections are solid and that there hasn’t been a recent loss of power in your home. If neither of those are the cause for your false alarms, it might be time to get new smoke detectors.
The bottom line is that you need smoke detectors that you can depend on. If you have any reason to suspect that your alarms may not be in prime operating condition, you should replace them. When it’s time to replace or upgrade your home’s smoke detection system, contact the experts at American Alarm Systems. We know how to keep you and your family safe from fire, carbon monoxide, and other household environmental hazards.
About American Alarm Systems
American Alarm is a full-service alarm company in Southern California serving Los Angeles & Orange County. We design, install and support cutting edge security systems for your home or business. Contact us today for a free consultation.