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Mister Sparky Electric Blog

How Long Do Smoke Detectors Work?

Answering the question “How long do smoke detectors work?” lets you make the informed decisions that can keep your family safe from a dangerous house fire.

A modern day smoke detector is rated to work for 10 years. After that, the entire unit needs to be replaced.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are two of the most important pieces of home safety equipment. Learn more about the lifespan of smoke detectors and the lifespan of carbon monoxide detectors.

The Last Line of Defense against Home Fires

The National Fire Protection Agency reports that more than 300,000 home fires occur every year in the US alone.

Tragically, more than 2,000 people die every year from home fires. Furthermore, the likelihood of death from a home fire more than doubles if smoke detectors are absent or not functioning.

These crucial safety devices require electrical power to work. The source of that electrical power comes from one of three places:

  • Powered by being hardwired to the home’s electrical system
  • Powered by replaceable batteries
  • Powered by sealed lithium ion batteries

Smoke Detector Batteries

However, removing their source of power causes them to stop working immediately.

If your smoke detectors are hardwired to your electrical systems, you’ll never need to remember to change batteries. You’ll still need to call an electrician every 10 years to have your new smoke detectors installed.

smoke detectors need battery changes

The most common smoke detectors run on simple disposable batteries. If your smoke detectors run on batteries, you need to replace the batteries every 6 months to a year to ensure you’ll be protected.

A popular and new style of smoke detector, lithium ion battery smoke detectors contain a sealed lithium ion battery. This style of battery possesses a ten year lifespan, meaning you never need to worry about swapping your smoke detector batteries. Simply replace your entire detector every decade (as is recommended anyway), and you’ll be in the clear.

How Long Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, undetectable gas that kills hundreds of Americans every year.

A carbon monoxide detector is the only way to successfully detect this deadly gas. The majority of carbon monoxide detectors are powered by a sealed lithium ion battery or by being plugged directly into an outlet.

carbon monoxide detector

That means replacing disposable batteries isn’t a concern with you carbon monoxide detector. However, like a smoke detector, a carbon monoxide detector has a limited lifespan.

The lifespan of a carbon monoxide detector spans between 5 years and 7 years.

Check Your Detectors Often

In addition to replacing your detectors and batteries at the proper intervals, you need to test the individual detectors on a regular basis to ensure they are functioning properly.

Both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors have test functions that simulate the alarm state. If you attempt to test your detector without a response, you need to replace it immediately!

Mister Sparky Home Safety Inspection

Mister Sparky Electric is all about keeping your home safe. One of the primary ways we do that is through a home safety inspection. During a home safety inspection, the Mister Sparky Electrician will check your electrical panel, breakers, outlets, and the rest of your home electrical system for signs of fire.

Having a professional set of eyes take a look at your electrical system is the number one way to identify problems.

In addition, since Mister Sparky is all about safety first, you can ask our any of electricians to test your smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors.

Contact Mister Sparky Electric for a home safety inspection and for all of your electrical needs.

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