A functional smoke detector can be the difference between tragedy and everyone making it out safely. Smoke detectors are your warning sign that there’s smoke in the home. And where there is smoke, there is fire.
Although your smoke detector may never go off, which is a good thing, that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Modern smoke detectors have several mechanisms that allow them to tell you when it needs new batteries or to be replaced altogether. Look out for these signs to help prevent fire damage to your property and harm to you and your family.
How Long Smoke Detectors Last
When was the last time you replaced your smoke detector? This isn’t about changing the batteries but changing the device itself. The National Fire Protection Association recommends homeowners replace their smoke detectors after 10 years.
The older a smoke detector gets, the less sensitive it is to the presence of smoke. Dust and other air particles can collect in the smoke detector, wearing down its sensors. Without a fully functioning sensor, you could be alerted to fire too late.
5 Signs That It’s Time To Replace a Smoke Detector
1. When Your Smoke Detector Is Turning Yellow
Not sure how old your smoke detector is? Here’s an easy trick to tell if your smoke detector needs to be replaced without grabbing a ladder to check its manufacture date. Older smoke detectors tend to turn yellow over time.
But why does it turn yellow? Smoke detectors contain a flame-retardant material called bromine. It helps the smoke detector last longer during a fire so that you’re alerted to smoke. Over time, the bromine is exposed to heat, oxygen, and UV light. Eventually, these factors will change the color of your smoke detector to yellow, giving you an easy indication that it needs to be replaced.
2. It Chirps Often
Is there a loud, periodic chirping sound coming from the smoke detector? As annoying as it is, ignoring it will not make it go away. Your smoke detector is trying to tell you that it’s near its end. Changing the batteries could be the solution to making it stop. However, if you’ve changed the batteries recently, then it’s time to replace the smoke detector.
3. It Is More Than 10 Years Old
Smoke detectors should not be used if they’re over 10 years old. By then, they’ve likely collected dust and are less sensitive to the presence of smoke. Even if your smoke detector is near the 10-year mark, it’s safer to replace it before it’s too late.
4. It Doesn’t Respond When You Test It
Smart homeowners will periodically test their smoke detectors. There should be a button on the face of the smoke detector that you can push. It should make a sound, letting you know it’s still functioning. If it doesn’t make that sound, you have a problem with your hands. It could be a wiring or battery issue. But if you rule both of those out, then it’s time for a replacement.
5. It Goes Off Unexpectedly
There are only two instances in which your smoke detector goes off. When it detects the presence of smoke or if you are testing it. So if it is going off unexpectedly, it’s probably detecting dust or other air particles that aren’t smoke. This is common in smoke detectors that have gone past their service life.
Call DRIRITE® for Fire Damage Restoration
Smoke detectors are one of your first defenses against fire damage. However, smoke detectors can’t put out the flames. After contacting emergency responders to put out the flames, you could be left with devastating damage. That’s when you should call DRIRITE® for fire damage restoration services.
Our technicians understand how hard it can be to see your home damaged. That’s we make it a priority to get your property back to its pre-loss condition. No matter the time or day, you can reach out to technicians for emergency services whenever you need them. Homeowners in the Tampa Bay area should call (813) 796-7797 or contact us online to get started.
CEO of DRIRITE.
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