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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Anacortes, Washington

    Default Old Smoke Alarms

    Change those old Smoke Alarms.
    With Fire Prevention Week just ending I thought I would get this out

    Replacing batteries in home smoke alarms is common ritual for many people as daylight savings time changes. But if smoke alarms in your home are more than 10 years old, NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends replacing them, as well. Why? According to NFPA, aging smoke alarms don't operate as efficiently and often are the source for nuisance alarms. Older smoke alarms are estimated to have a 30% probability of failure within the first 10 years. Newer smoke alarms do better, but should be replaced after 10 years. But it is working every minute, constantly monitoring the air 24 hours a day. For example, an ionization smoke alarm goes through 3.5 million monitoring cycles in 10 years. In a photoelectric smoke alarm , a light operates 24 hours a day to check for smoke particles in the air.

    Since I have been in the fire service for almost 40 years I pay attention to smoke alarms and always amazed at the antiques I see in the homes I inspect. Why homeowners trust their lives with something that is 20 years or older is bewildering. I have a standard comment that recommends all older smoke alarms be replaced following the NFPA 72 Standard. Smoke alarms should be installed in hallways and each bedroom. NFPA recommends a mix of ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms. If the home has tall ceilings or difficult to reach smoke alarms I will also recommend installed lithium batteries. Lithium batteries will last 10 years in a smoke alarm.

    NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code
    Smoke alarms
    UL | Maximizing Safety: Proper Smoke Alarm Use

    Lets be safe out there!

    F.I.R.E. Services
    Rick Bunzel

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Caledon, Ontario

    Default Re: Old Smoke Alarms

    Thanks Rick.

    Its amazing how many houses either don't have smoke alarms and/or they have been disconnected and/or removed.

    This week a ski resort condo I inspected had the hardwired smoke alarms removed.

    Last week it was the local undertakers house that did not have any smoke alarms on the second floor, outside the children's bedrooms.

    Makes me wonder

    The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    New York

    Default Re: Old Smoke Alarms

    It is amazing that in over 50% of the inspections i perform the house has only one smoke alarm/detector. There needs to be more public service anouncments about this issue so people can understand. Just yesterday in the news a small boy was killed in a house fire - guess what? no working alarms. Its sad and pointless.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado

    Default Re: Old Smoke Alarms

    While I write up any smoke detector over ten years old, I have smoke tested many old detectors and every single one went off including some antique ones. The industry claims that they loose sensitivity but my limited testing indicates that it isn't very much.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.


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