The U.S. Fire Administration says most alarms installed today have a life span of about 8-10 years. After this time, the entire unit should be replaced. It is a good idea to write the date of purchase with a marker on the inside of your alarm so you will know when to replace it. Some of the newer alarms already have the purchase date written inside. In any event, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for replacement.
Many people change their smoke detector batteries during the New Year (an easy way to remember), so this year while you think about it, it may be a good idea to figure out how old your detectors are, and replace them if they are approaching 8 to 10 years.
Ever wondered how a smoke detector works?
A typical ‘optical’ smoke detector uses an infrared LED beam of light that shines through a lens that will collimate the beam (make it parallel and bring it in line) which then projects in front of, and past, a photoelectric sensor (without hitting it). When smoke enters the collimated beam of light, some of it will scatter and direct some of the light at the sensor, which in turn triggers the alarm.
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