Why Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years?

Why should smoke alarms be replaced every decade? And why does my smoke alarm's warranty only cover 10 years of operation? 

Like most electronics, smoke alarms don't last forever. The National Fire Protection Association issued NFPA Standard 72, which states:

"Replace all smoke alarms, including hard-wired alarms and those that use batteries, when they are ten years old (or sooner if they don't respond properly when tested)."

Each smoke detector should be replaced 10 years after the date of installation. If you’re not sure when it was installed, it’s probably been longer than that. Kind of like your last tetanus shot. If you can’t remember, it’s time for another one. 

Most CO (carbon monoxide) alarms expire after 7 years, so if you have a combination smoke and CO detector, you should replace it every 7 years. 


If your house catches fire your fire department will be investigating the dates on your alarms, and your insurance provider will be requesting that report.

And don’t forget the batteries which need to be changed at least every year (though six months is recommended). 

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