How often should hard-wired smoke detectors be replaced?

Ensure your safety with timely smoke detector updates.

It’s a common bit of comedy – trying to find which chirping smoke alarm is waking you up at 3 a.m. Is it the bedroom, the hallway, or maybe the kitchen? And just when you think you have it narrowed down, you hear the beep behind you. This gag is often used in commercials, TV shows, and movies.

But it’s no laughing matter when that chirping saves your family’s life in the event of a home fire. That’s why whenever there is a major home remodel, it’s required to install smoke alarms in your home that are hard-wired.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half. Homes without working smoke alarms are responsible for 60 percent of home fire deaths. Making sure your alarms are working is literally a life-saving action and takes only minutes every six months.

In the past, when smoke detectors ran solely on batteries, it was advised to change out the batteries in the smoke alarms twice a year. Although the test button allows you to check if the alarm has a dead battery or not, fire safety should not be compromised.

New batteries will ensure your alarms are working properly 365 days a year. Getting your family out of the house is the most important thing you can do. Let the fire department handle the rest.

How often should smoke detectors be replaced?

Hard-wired smoke alarms have a battery backup, so you still need to replace the batteries to make sure they work during a power outage. But what about the smoke detectors themselves? Just like other appliances or equipment in your house, they do need to be replaced at some point. But how often? And will you need to know anything about wiring to do it yourself?

You’ve probably switched out the batteries before, after spending entirely too much time looking for a step stool or ladder. But when was the last time you replaced the smoke detector itself? No matter how clean you keep your home, dust will still find a way into the components. This could affect how well the smoke alarm will function.

A good rule of thumb is to change out the smoke alarms after 10 years, hard-wired or not. There are a wide variety of smoke detectors on the market, including “smart” alarm systems that send information to your phone. This can be extremely helpful if you have a vacation home or rentals and can be tied to the security system.

Many of these fire alarms detect smoke as well as carbon monoxide. For retro-fits, you can buy a single hard-wired alarm that is connected to other battery-operated alarms in the house. That means you won’t have to tie into the existing electrical system throughout the house, cutting down muss and fuss.

Still, we recommend hiring a professional electrician if you’re going to start poking holes in your wall. For more than 35 years, Prairie Electric has been keeping homes safe from fire by inspecting and replacing faulty electrical lines. If your home currently doesn’t have hard-wired alarms, give us a call.

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