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  1. #1
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    I know, it has been said 'It is recommended that smoke detectors be replaced every 10 years or so.', but ... what's the *FINAL ANSWER*?

    Here it is.

    From NFPA 72. (bold and underlining are mine)

    10.4.7 Replacement of Smoke Alarms in One- and Two Family Dwellings. Unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer's published instructions, single- and multiple-stations smoke alarms installed in one- and two-family dwellings shall be replaced when they fail to respond to operability tests, but shall not remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture.

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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Anyone make one with a recommended service life in excess of 10 years?


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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Something I didn't know till just now: "smoke alarm" <> "smoke detector"

    "Smoke alarms are defined as self-contained, single or multiple-station smoke-sensing devices (used most often in residential applications) that may be wired to operate in conjunction with each other, but are not part of a central system. Smoke detectors are defined as smoke-sensing devices that are not self-contained, but are hooked to a central control system (generally but not exclusively used in commercial fire alarm systems).

    Smoke Alarm Program - Community Safety



  4. #4
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Anyone make one with a recommended service life in excess of 10 years?
    I haven't seen one, but then again, I haven't seen them all either.

    Regarding your second post, while we (and almost everyone else) calls them "smoke detectors", here is the simple difference between smoke detectors and smoke alarms - a true "smoke detector" does not have an "alarm" built into it, a "smoke alarm" does.

    A smoke alarm (what we call smoke detectors) are both "smoke detectors" due to them having the capability to "detect" smoke, and "smoke alarms" as they also have "alarms" built in with which they 'notify' the occupants that the 'detector' as detected smoke.

    Remove the "alarm" and it is called, as you found out, a "smoke detector" as it now only has the "detector", add the "alarm" part back in and it becomes a "smoke alarm".

    The built in "alarms" could be audible (the type we typically see in a house), visible (which contains a strobe light, these are for the hearing impaired), or both.

    No one will fault you, though, for still referring to them as "smoke detectors", even though they are really "smoke alarms". It's quite different than taking about submarine panels when there is no submarine.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    I tell all of my clients to replace the smoke alarms when the home is purchased. They have no way of knowing their condition, or what they have been subjected to. Cooking smoke, grease, etc will shorten their life span.

    In my reports I tell my clients to replace them every 5-7 years just to be on the safe side.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Very good info from Jerry P and I also agree with Scott in that if one is to err it should always be on the side of safety for occupants.
    FWIW The new California Building Code 2007 calls them smoke detectors as does the 2006 IBC. However, the 2006 IRC has it right and calls them smoke alarms. Go figure?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Jerry M
    The IBC is for buildings other than homes. Those buildings would use smoke detectors connected to a fire alarm system.
    The IRC is for homes, thus smoke alarm.

    Calling either one "Smoke detector" would be correct since each is a smoke detector, one (smoke alarm) also contains a sounder and you cannot replace the smoke detector in a smoke alarm without also replacing the alarm components it contains.

    As for replacing the detectors every 10 years
    The manufacturers that make the detectors also sell the detectors.
    Since they recommended replacement every ten years, countless thousands of replacement detectors have been sold.
    It is my opinion that the manufacturers "Recommended" replacement to limit their liability.
    I'll explain:
    Building catches on fire
    Insurance company investigates and pays for damages
    Insurance company LOOKS for someone to share their loss
    Smoke detector manufacturer says " how old are the detectors?"
    >10 years old manufacturer says not our fault we recommended replacement.
    Ins co now goes to building owner ask them why they were not replaced.
    etc... You get the idea. The manufacturer said " you did not follow our recommendations..."

    FWIW I have been in the burglar/ fire alarm business for over 20 years.
    I have smoke detectors older than that, and they still work.
    That said, I do recommend to all my customers that they replace the detectors at 10 years, but if they don't, well...

    Remember, this is a recommendation not a requirement. What is required ( by the ins Co's) is proper maintenance and testing as needed.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Jerry M
    The IBC is for buildings other than homes. Those buildings would use smoke detectors connected to a fire alarm system. The IRC is for homes, thus smoke alarm.

    Oh, then Rick, please explain this???
    IBC 2006
    Listed single-and multiple-station smoke alarms complying with UL 217 shall be installed in accordance with the provisions of this code and the household fire-warning equipment provisions of NFPA 72.
    [F] 907.2.10.1 Where required. Single- or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in the locations
    described in Sections 907.2.10.1.1 through 907.2.10.1.3.
    [F] 907.2.10.1.1 Group R-1. Single- or multiple-station smoke alarms shall be installed in all of the following locations in Group R-1:
    1. In sleeping areas.
    2. In every room in the path of the means of egress from the sleeping area to the door leading from
    the sleeping unit.
    3. In each story within the sleeping unit, including basements. For sleeping units with split levels and without an intervening door between the adjacent levels, a smoke alarm installed on the upper level shall suffice for the adjacent lower level provided that the lower level is less than one full story below the upper level.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Jerry M
    I was wrong, that was a statement of fact that I should not have made. "The IBC is for buildings other than homes."
    I said that based on what you posted.
    "The new California Building Code 2007 calls them smoke detectors as does the 2006 IBC"
    I was trying to offer an explanation ( opinion) as to why there is a difference in terminology.
    Thank you for reminding me why it is important to be correct when making a statement of fact. ( I'm not being sarcastic)

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Jerry M
    The IBC is for buildings other than homes. Those buildings would use smoke detectors connected to a fire alarm system.
    Not quite right.

    The "smoke detector" in a dwelling unit in a high rise condo building, for instance, is really a "smoke alarm" as it both has the capability to "detect" and "alarm".

    The IRC is for homes, thus smoke alarm.
    The use has no bearing on its correct term. Only that it contains both 'the ability to detect' and 'the ability to alarm/notify'.

    Calling either one "Smoke detector" would be correct since each is a smoke detector, one (smoke alarm) also contains a sounder and you cannot replace the smoke detector in a smoke alarm without also replacing the alarm components it contains.
    Calling either one a smoke detector is *not* "correct", as one is actually called an "alarm". Calling either one a smoke detector is 'typical and normal' and one would, with the exception of very rare instances, not be questioned for calling a "smoke alarm" a "smoke detector". There is a difference between being "correct" and 'using accepted terminology'.

    As for replacing the detectors every 10 years
    The manufacturers that make the detectors also sell the detectors.
    Since they recommended replacement every ten years, countless thousands of replacement detectors have been sold.
    It is my opinion that the manufacturers "Recommended" replacement to limit their liability.
    I'll explain:
    Building catches on fire
    Insurance company investigates and pays for damages
    Insurance company LOOKS for someone to share their loss
    Smoke detector manufacturer says " how old are the detectors?"
    >10 years old manufacturer says not our fault we recommended replacement.
    Ins co now goes to building owner ask them why they were not replaced.
    etc... You get the idea. The manufacturer said " you did not follow our recommendations..."

    FWIW I have been in the burglar/ fire alarm business for over 20 years.
    I have smoke detectors older than that, and they still work.
    That said, I do recommend to all my customers that they replace the detectors at 10 years, but if they don't, well...

    Remember, this is a recommendation not a requirement. What is required ( by the ins Co's) is proper maintenance and testing as needed.
    Hmmmm ...

    What part of the following do you NOT UNDERSTAND?

    From NFPA 72. (bold and underlining are mine)

    10.4.7 Replacement of Smoke Alarms in One- and Two Family Dwellings. Unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer's published instructions, single- and multiple-stations smoke alarms installed in one- and two-family dwellings shall be replaced when they fail to respond to operability tests, but shall not remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture.

    I will repeat that part for you "From NFPA 72. (bold and underlining are mine) but shall not remain in service longer than 10 years from the date of manufacture."

    That ain't no "recommendation", that is a "SHALL NOT REMAIN" requirement.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Jerry P
    The information I have ( System Sensor smoke detector) does not say they must be replaced, so I called them (System Sensor (smoke detector manufacture), he said he thought that portion of the NFPA code was from 1999 and was removed in 2002.

    But either way it concerned smoke alarms not smoke detectors

    My experience is with "smoke detectors" on burglar/ fire alarm systems and may not be pertinent with regard to residential smoke alarms.

    On Smoke detectors, as long as they have proper maintenance they can remain in service. ( per System System )
    System Sensor does not even recommend that detectors be replaced at 10 years, however they do include a pamphlet from NFPA that does recommend it. " It is recommended that residential smoke detectors shall be replaced every 10 years."

    So today wasn't a total loss*, I learned something.
    * Cannot work as I'm still sitting at the office with a hurt back

    PS
    Jerry
    I come here to give help when I can, and to get advice when I need it, I read all the post so I can learn and better myself. I appreciate it when you or anyone else points out when I'm in error especially if I am giving advice, but I am not dense nor am I stupid. The " what part of... do you not understand" was/ is not advice nor does it help.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Jerry P
    Actually it did help. Had you not had that " look here stupid" attitude, I would not have looked further.
    Thanks doesnt seem to be right but, you still helped me, so...
    Thanks
    And I am not being sarcastic, I really mean it.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I appreciate it when you or anyone else points out when I'm in error especially if I am giving advice, but I am not dense nor am I stupid. The " what part of... do you not understand" was/ is not advice nor does it help.
    The thread *was about* "10.4.7 Replacement of Smoke Alarms in One- and Two Family Dwellings."

    The NFPA states "shall not remain in service".

    You stated:

    "FWIW I have been in the burglar/ fire alarm business for over 20 years."

    Implying, at least to me, that your knowledge over ruled that of the NFPA. It does not.

    You also stated:

    "Remember, this is a recommendation not a requirement."

    Yes, it is a "requirement".

    We ALL come here to help and learn, but when a person, any person, says they know more than the collective knowledge and PRINTED REQUIREMENTS of the NFPA standards, that needs a bell ringing.

    I know you would do it for me (others have). We ALL need an adjustment now and then.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Cool Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Rick, we all, that is most of us, have learned to leave our egos at the door along with other information we thought we knew. The old expression that "knowledge is power" is true, but it must be tempered with respect along with an intellect that can patiently confirm what you believe to be correct. You appear to have this attribute thank goodness and I applaud you for it.

    A few years back Jerry P and I crossed swords, but after some pondering came to respect each other’s opinions formed by a combination of our own mistakes and the sweat lessons of many years of experience even if we did not always agree in total. As a wise man once said, “Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.”

    Most of the folks on this bulletin board come here to share and learn, but there's always a few obnoxious hard heads that make fools of themselves by picking fights with anybody who doesn’t agree with them. After a while you learn to tune those morons out because the good here far outweighs the bad.
    Stick around..

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Rick,

    Here's another case of where I was typing and pondering what to say, posted, and, between the post of yours I was replying to and my posting my reply, you posted another post, making my later post seem like overkill now.

    Sorry about that, I did not have the benefit of your in-between post at that time.

    We all need the proverbial '2x4 upside the head' now and then.

    Only sometimes it turns out to be a 4x4 and other times it turns out to only have been a 1x2, but, in this case, I guess it was a 3x4.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

    Jerry P
    Sorry about the delay in responding, I had a meeting to attend.

    Implying, at least to me, that your knowledge over ruled that of the NFPA. It does not.
    I apologize if I sounded boastful or like I am " the authority".
    That is not what I wanted to do, I was telling of my experiences and yes of my qualifications, not as boasting but as a background for what I was going to say.

    The thread *was about* "10.4.7 Replacement of Smoke Alarms in One- and Two Family Dwellings."
    I see that I was posting off topic. Although very similar (smoke detectors/ alarms) not identical.

    Yes, it is a "requirement".
    The information that comes to me from the manufacture with every smoke detector says recommendation, not requirement. (Note: I have since learned that the manufacture does not even recommended it, but they do include a pamphlet from NFPA that recommends replacement every 10 years.)
    Again this only applies to professionally maintained " Smoke detectors" but the topic was about Residential Smoke Alarms.

    "but when a person, any person, says they know more than the collective knowledge and PRINTED REQUIREMENTS of the NFPA standards, that needs a bell ringing."
    I was going by the manufactures printed instructions that I had in my hand.

    "The use has no bearing on its correct term. Only that it contains both 'the ability to detect' and 'the ability to alarm/notify'."
    Yes I understand that

    We all need the proverbial '2x4 upside the head' now and then.
    I'm sorry, are you saying I need a 2x4?

    Jerry M
    No ego here, if there was would I have said "I was wrong, that was a statement of fact that I should not have made"?

    "but there's always a few obnoxious hard heads that make fools of themselves by picking fights with anybody who doesn't’t agree with them."
    I think it's a lack of manners and no respect for others.
    I would say more but...

    Stick around..
    Not going anywhere

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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