Does your Smoke Alarm Still Work?

Last Updated: 09-27-18

We all know the value of smoke alarms and the feeling of comfort knowing that they will alert us to dangerous conditions. But can we rely them when the time comes? We all know that we need to replace batteries every year, but did you know that these devices can wear out?

Most smoke alarms have a lifespan of eight to 10 years. After their usable life, their sensors can begin to lose sensitivity and need to be replaced. The test button on these devices only confirms that the battery, electronics, and alert system are working; it doesn’t mean that the sensors are actually working.

Both battery operated and hard-wired smoke detectors need to be replaced after they exceed their usable life, typically 8-10 years. How old are the ones in your house? If you are like most of us, the hard-wired smoke detector in our houses may be 25-50 years old – well past their useful life and likely useless in warning us of smoke or fire. If your smoke alarms are older than 8-10 years, it is time to replace them. Do yourself a favor and don’t wait – your life might depend on it!