Smoke Detectors have a Shelf Life

Each year we work diligently to communicate the life-saving value of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.   The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) cites that the risk of dying in a house fire is cut in half by having working smoke detectors in your home. The NFPA also notes that audible carbon monoxide detectors are the most reliable method for alerting a resident to the presence of toxic carbon monoxide gas in the home.  In short, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors provide early warnings of dangers in your home allowing you time to escape.

While the value of these devices is clear, it is important to recognize that these devices do not last forever.  The sensors inside these devices become less sensitive as they age.  A typical residential smoke detector lasts about 8-10 years while a typical residential carbon monoxide detector lasts about 5-7 years.

We encourage all citizens to check detector batteries twice per year.  When changing the batteries, also check the age of the device. Most smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will have a date of manufacture printed on the back of the device.  Replace a smoke detector if it is more than ten years old and a carbon monoxide detector if it is more than seven years old.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are available at most home improvement or home goods department stores.  Some brands offer a ten-year battery: when the battery runs out, the entire detector can be replaced.   Other brands offer WiFi connectivity and integration with home automation applications that will provide reminders when it is time to replace the detector.

Remember, working detectors save lives.  Check the batteries and check the date to ensure your detectors are working reliably!