Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Smoke Alarm Lifetimes

Did you know that smoke alarms are only good for 10 years then you have to get new ones. The following is why alarms are only good for 10 years;

  • 10 years of dust and dirt have accumulated inside your smoke detector.
  • Even if your smoke detector has never sounded, it has performed over 3.5 million “air sensing” cycles over 10 years.
  • The most common type of smoke alarm (ionization) utilizes a radioactive element and this type of alarm detects fast flaming fires quicker.
  • Photoelectric smoke detectors use a beam of light to detect smoke which also loses its effectiveness over time. It is good at detecting slow smoldering fires.


It is also extremely important to test your smoke detectors monthly to make sure that are in working order. Untested detectors are half as dependable as tested ones. To test your detectors do the following;

  • Hold the test button in on the alarm until it beeps. Do this once a month to all alarms.
  • If the alarm fails to sound, replace the battery to see if that remedies the problem.
  • Never use real smoke to test an alarm such as cigarette smoke or smoke from a match or candle. Smoke contains carbon which can deposit inside your smoke detector essentially making it “dirty” inside.
  • Replace any alarms that fail to sound immediately if they are found to be faulty.
  • When replacing alarms, make sure both smoke alarm sensing technologies (Ionization and Photoelectric) are present in your home.