What you don’t know about smoke detectors could kill you.
Smoke detectors have a shelf life. They expire after 10 years, or about 87,000 hours. If your smoke detectors are older than that, you could be putting you and your family at risk.
If you’re not sure when your smoke detectors were installed, you should replace them. Better safe than sorry. Additionally, if your smoke detectors run on batteries, a good practice is to replace the batteries twice a year (unless you’re using lithium batteries). An easy way to remember is to replace them in the Spring and Fall when the time shifts to and from Daylight Savings Time. You should also test your smoke alarms monthly.
Where should you place your smoke detectors?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 66% of households do not have the recommended number of smoke detectors. You should have one smoke alarm in each bedroom, and one on each floor of your home.
Types of smoke detectors
There are two kinds of smoke detectors. As explained on the NFPA website, ionization smoke alarms are quicker to warn about flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms are quicker to warn about smoldering fires. NFPA recommends you use both types in your home. Some companies make a single alarm that uses both technologies. And some units (Nest Protect is one) combine smoke and carbon monoxide detection in a single unit.
The NFPA has more helpful information and tips about the selection, placement and use of smoke alarms on their website.