Smoke detectors & service life

Smoke detectors don't last forever!

Isn’t this just a way to sell me more smoke detectors?  Maybe, but consider these facts before drawing conclusions:

  • Smoke detectors contain electronic components that can fail without causing an alarm. Testing has shown that the possibility of component failure increases dramatically after 10 years in service.  There is no way to know if the detector is working other than to test it.
  • Smoke detectors are affected by the environment that they are installed in. Areas with high humidity or corrosive atmospheres such as near the coast can affect the sensing chamber of the detector and render it ineffective.
  • Smoke detectors are “on” all the time, not just when the alarm is sounding- this means all of the electronic devices inside are also on- 10 years of continuous operation is almost 90,000 hours!  If you worked for 90,000 hours without a day off you’d be tired too!
  • Other factors can affect how a smoke detector works, such as insects inside the sensing chamber, increase or decrease of sensitivity over time, causing either false alarms or worse, no alarm. 
  • Finally, smoke detectors made in the last few years are much better than just a few years ago. Most even modestly-priced units contain a microprocessor that is able to make very accurate decisions about real and false alarm sources. An added benefit is that newer detectors have features that make them faster to inspect which saves customers money over their service life.

For another opinion, Read this