Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years
Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15, 2016. For the third year in a row, the campaign’s focus is on smoke alarms, more specifically:
- Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.
- Make sure you know how old all the smoke alarms are in your home.
- To find out how old a smoke alarm is, look at the date of manufacture on the back of the alarm; the alarm should be replaced 10 years from that date.
Equally as important is to purchase a smoke alarm that has been approved by a nationally recognized third party testing laboratory, such as Underwriter Laboratories (UL) or Intertek/ETL. During the past few months, it has been discovered that online businesses have been selling inexpensive smoke alarms manufactured in China, that lack the proper testing. These untested products may not accurately detect fire, alert you properly, or perform other critical functions. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently conducting an investigation into these untested products, but have not yet released an official recall.
Frequently Asked Questions about Replacing Smoke Alarms
Why do I need to replace my smoke alarms every 10 years?
It is required that smoke alarms be replaced within 10 years according to NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. They are not permitted to remain in use longer than 10 year from the date of manufacture. Also, the manufacturer’s instructions for most smoke alarms state they are to be replaced when they fail to respond or after 10 years. Combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms must be replaced when the end-of-life signal sounds or 10 years after the date of manufacture, whichever occurs first.
How do I identify my smoke alarm’s date of manufacture?
Remove the alarm from the ceiling or wall. Look at the back or side of the alarm for the date of manufacture.
How do I replace a battery-powered smoke alarm?
Remove the smoke alarm from the ceiling by twisting the alarm to remove it from the ceiling plate. It is best to replace the alarm with the same manufactured alarm. The new alarm from the same manufacturer can be placed on the ceiling or wall plate. Twist to secure the alarm. Test the alarm to be sure it is working.
If you are replacing with an alarm from a different manufacturer, you will need to remove the old ceiling plate and install the new ceiling plate included with the new alarm. Place the alarm over the ceiling plate and twist to secure the alarm. Test the alarm to be sure it is working.
How do I replace a hard-wired alarm?
If you know how to work with electrical wiring, follow manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you have turned off the electricity to the smoke alarm before you begin replacing the alarm. Otherwise, contact a qualified electrician to replace hard-wired smoke alarms.
How do I install a hard-wired smoke alarm?
Contact a qualified electrician to install hard-wired smoke alarms.
For more information regarding Fire Prevention Week go to the National Fire Protection Associations Website.