Do Smoke Detectors Expire?


Fire alarms are smoke detecting machines are there to alert us during an emergency.

We expect them to work and probably don’t even think about them much, but maybe we should think about questions like do fire alarms and smoke detectors expire? Yes, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), you must replace your fire alarm at least once every ten years. The reason is that with an increase in contaminants like dust, insects, and nicotine, the old smoke detectors become excessively sensitive or insensitive. These old alarms can either become a reason for increased false alarms or become unable to detect smoke.

Smoke alarms are essential for the safety of every house as they warn us to evacuate the building if a fire incident occurs; therefore, we must know more about the fire alarm and its benefits.


Advantages of Fire Alarm System

There are many reasons like cooking, heating, electric distribution, and lighting systems that cause a home fire. Moreover, the use of a fireplace during winter holidays sometimes also becomes a reason for the fire. During the incident of fire, fire alarms detect and notify the members of a house. Moreover, they automatically send your location to the fire department so that timely help can arrive.

A fire alarm system consists of many components and features that help in keeping you safe. Typical components of a fire alarm system that help us in saving our life are as follow.

  • The power supply of the fire alarm, including batteries
  • A smoke detector or a sensitive carbon monoxide
  • Flashlights, sound alerts and other notifications
  • Smoke Alarms and other initiating devices
  • A control panel that helps in continuous monitoring and communication management with the fire department

Some benefits of fire alarms are as follows:


Detect and Notify About the Fire Quickly

Fire alarms have different auditable and visual features that help us detect the fire after it starts. The features are helpful as they tell us about the fire incident, even if we are sleeping or out of our home. 

If you are at home and hear the fire alarm, you can use the fire extinguisher to protect your home, belongings, and family. Early fire detection allows you to avoid severe damage and destruction. In addition to alerting the house members about the fire, the fire alarm system dispatches the firefighters to reach your location and help you minimize the damage.


Save from Excessive Smoke Inhalation

During the incident of fire, the most common cause of death is the inhalation of smoke. People die of shortness of breath and inhalation of smoke more than the heat and flames. The mixture of different chemicals, gases, and smoke cause everything from skin irritation to inflammation, respiratory problem, and airway collapse.

If urgent help is not available, inhaling excessive smoke can lead to suffocation and death. Therefore, having an active fire alarm can help you against exposure to harmful gases like carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and other smokes.


Decrease the Chances of Property Damage

The fire can cause a lot of property damage which will take a lot of investment and time to repair. Moreover, the fire not only causes damage to your property but can also affect the property of neighboring houses. 

Therefore, installing a fire alarm system will help you in saving your property and the nearby properties. This prevention is possible as, during the incident, the fire alarm system will inform the firefighters to come and control the fire before it goes out of hand.


Reduce Insurance Premiums

By installing the fire alarm, you can save your property and belongings, which will help the insurance company to cut costs for insurance. Installation of an active fire alarm shows that you are responsible and ready for unexpected events.

By minimizing the amount of insurance claim, your fire protection device will be able to qualify for discounted insurance policies available for homeowners.


Affordable and Easy to Use

Fire alarms are easy to use and automatically sense dangerous situations. You should keep in mind that it is not expensive to hire a professional installer for fire alarm installation. It is also important to note that surely insurance can cover the damage, but it cannot replace the gifts from loved ones and the memorable photo albums.


Testing the Alarm for Expiration

Most people ask how they will know if the fire alarm is expired or in working condition. As we pay attention to the expiration date on bread and milk, we should also care about the expiration date of fire alarms.

An expired fire alarm will never be able to save your life from fire. Therefore, it is essential to look at your smoke detector. Most fire alarms last up to 10 years, but you should still check them if you do not remember the installation date. Following are the two most straightforward ways through which you can test that your fire alarm is doing a perfect job.

  1. The first thing you should do is to find out the expiration date of the fire alarm. You can see the date by twisting the detector and looking at the mounting plate. If you do not see any expiration date, the fire alarm unit is very old and needs immediate replacement.
  2. After checking the expiration, you should check if the sensor is working or not. You can use a smoke alarm test spray that simulates smoke. If the alarm goes off, it means that the alarm is working.


Investing in 10-Year Smoke Alarms

10-year battery smoke alarms are getting a lot of attention nowadays. These alarms are beneficial as you can protect your home and family for a decade by installing them. These alarms have a built-in battery that works without electricity; therefore, they will protect you even if the power is out.

You will not have to worry about replacing the batteries around the house as you do with the traditional battery alarms. It also reduces the expense of battery replacement and offers money-saving till the life of the alarm.

Similarly, the battery pack in such fire alarms is usually sealed; therefore, no one can remove it from the smoke alarms. 10-year battery alarms are becoming a requirement in the whole USA. Moreover, many states like California and New York are making it a legal requirement for homeowners to have these devices at home.


Related Questions

What Type of smoke detector should I buy?

Generally, there are two types of fire alarms: Ionized and Photoelectric. Ionized smoke detector fire alarms are good at detecting small particles of fast flaming fires, while photoelectric smoke detectors are good at detecting large particles of smoke. Photoelectric smoke detectors are poor at detecting fast blazing fires.


Where Should I Put the Smoke Alarm in My House?

You should ensure that at least one smoke alarm is present on each house floor and preferably in the hallways. You can put the fire alarms near your bedrooms and places with electrical appliances; this will provide you with an additional alert.


What Should I Do If My Smoke Alarm Sounds While I am Cooking?

Smoke detectors are highly sensitive to smoke, and the only way to stop them from going off while cooking is by covering them with a dishcloth. You can also use a shower cap or plastic wrap to disable the fire alarm temporarily. Make sure to uncover it after completing your cooking.