Do I Need a New Smoke Alarm?

If your smoke alarm has been around for over 10 years, is overly sensitive, or continues to beep even after the batteries have been changed, it’s time to replace the device. Staying up to date with your smoke alarms is crucial in keeping your home safe.

When your smoke detector beeps, that means it’s trying to tell you something. Does it need new batteries? Or is it dying a slow and painful (for your ears) death? Learn when it’s time to replace your device, how often you should replace it, and what kind of smoke detector is best for your home!

Why is my smoke alarm chirping?

If you have a beeping smoke detector, it could be because:

The battery pull tab is still inside.

If your smoke alarm is chirping at you even though you just changed the battery it could be because the battery pull tab is still inside. To stop your device from beeping, remove the battery pull-tab after plugging the device into AC power.

The battery drawer is open

Did you completely shut the battery drawer after changing the batteries? For the batteries to make contact with the terminal, the compartment needs to be shut completely. On many smoke detectors, you’ll need to lock the drawer shut. To do so, you push the locking pin through the small hole near the compartment.

The batter is low

If this is the case, the chirp will occur about once every minute. Only the device that needs the  new battery will chirp; your other devices should not. The batteries in your smoke detector need to be changed and checked regularly… the lives of the residents in your home depend on it.

The air in your home is unusually hot or cold

If your thermostat is set especially high or low, the smoke alarm could detect this as a problem. It might surprise you to know that detectors react to both hot and cold air. Batteries don’t operate at their best when they are too cold, which can cause your smoke detector to chirp in low temps.

Do I need a new smoke alarm?

If the reasons above don’t fit the bill, then there’s a chance the life of your smoke alarm has ended. You need to replace your smoke detector if it’s:

  • Over 10 years old. Like most appliances, smoke alarms wear out over time. It’s important to change your smoke alarm proactively  so you can keep you and your family safe. The manufacturer’s instructions should include how often you need to charge the device. If you can’t find that information, the general rule is to replace your smoke alarm every 10 years, at least. Check the date on the back of the alarm. Is it older than 10 years old? It’s time to replace your smoke alarm.
  • Too sensitive. Is your smoke alarm the boy who cried wolf? Or… the detector who cried fire? If your smoke alarm reacts to every little thing, then it may be time to replace it. This could be a sign of faulty or damaged sensors. Before replacing your alarm, dust it off. If it’s in the kitchen, try moving it to another room. If the alarm  continues to chirp after you’ve tried these two things, then you’ll need to replace it.
  • Not responding to a test. Find the button on the face of the detector and hold it down for 5 seconds. If the smoke detector beeps, it’s working! If it doesn’t, replace the batteries and try again. If it still doesn’t beep, then you’ll need to replace the alarm.

Why do I need to replace my smoke alarm?

The safety of your home depends on a working smoke alarm. When working properly, smoke detectors give your family fast and effective notice when there are signs of a fire. If your detector beeps when nothing is wrong, for example, or never beeps at all, then your home and its residents are at risk of being caught in a potential fire. This is why it’s crucial to replace all smoke alarms that are not functioning properly, right away.

What kind of smoke alarm should I get?

There are two main types of smoke alarms: ionization-sensing and photoelectric-sensing. What kind should you get? The short answer: both.

Ionization alarms use ionized particles to detect the presence of smoke. These types of alarms are known to work better with aggressive, open flame fires. They are not as effective with other types of fires, like smoldering, for example.

Photoelectric alarms use a light source and a light sensor to detect smoke. Once smoke enters the detection chamber, the smoke particles will block its light beam and reflect light onto the sensors. This will trip the alarm. Therefore, these alarms are better at early detection than the ionization-sensing alarms.

Even though both types of alarms can detect either type of fire, you’ll have optimal protection if you install both types of detectors.
If you have questions on what type of smoke alarm you should get for your home or you need help with installation, get in touch with Early Bird today! We want to help keep your home as safe as possible for both you and your family.