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Fire Safety: Have Your Smoke and CO Detectors Reached The End Of Their Useful Life?

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors have a life expectancy. Therefore, you should always replace the unit(s) at the end of their useful life.  As they age, the alarm sensors begin to lose sensitivity. You want any alarm in your house to be at peak sensing, to ensure your safety.


Smoke alarms the main part of your fire protection plan. 3 of every 5 home-fire deaths result from fires in homes with no smoke alarm or a non-working one. Smoke alarms have a life expectancy of 10 years, unless otherwise suggested by the manufacturer. Any smoke detector which are over 10 years old should be immediately replaced. (*older modeled smoke alarms have a 30% probability of failure within the first 10 years). Replace any detector which continually beeps, even after a battery change.

In conclusion, write the date of installation or the manufactured suggestion expiration date on the back of the detector in permanent marker. Also, complete a monthly test of your detector. Replace all batteries twice a year (excluding units with a 10 year guaranteed lithium battery). Finally, remove and dust or build up on your detectors regularly.


Most CO detectors are good for 5-7 years, depending on the manufacturer recommendations. Consequently, CO detectors should be replaced once they have reach their life expectancy.

Usually, the units have a date stamp on the back, showing the unit’s age and/or expiration date. Presently, many systems are equipped with an alert. The system chirps and signals when it is nearing the end of it’s useful life. Systems which have digital reader may display an “ERR’, “E09” or “end” error code to alert you. Whichever system you purchase, read the owners’ manual to see what safety measure are specific to your make and model.

Finally, it is essential that you check you system monthly and follow proper care procedures. Remember, the test button will only tell you whether the alarm is working, not the sensor. To check the sensor, use a test kit, which you can purchase at a local home store.

If you would like to learn more about having professionally installed smoke and CO detectors. Please call DTM Installations at (845) 429-7100.