I've read that fire alarm systems need to be replaced on ten year
intervals. I was wondering if all components need to be replaced in
my wireless system. The system includes smoke detection as well
sending alarm to local fire dept.
Included are smoke detector/transmitter, keyboard, and panel. The
system is 12 years old. My initial thought was to replace all the
detector transmitters now. Over the past year two of the detector/
transmitters (I have 4) have malfunctioned. Should I replace the
I doubt that the whole system would need replaced. Read the manual for
your particular system. At most I would replace the smole detectors.
Smoke detectors can build up dust and debris inside them.
Agree. It's the smoke and any carbon monoxide detectors
that need to be replaced about every 10 years. The reliability of the
rest of it is dependent on what system
you actually have. For example, many home security
systems that include wireless have a feature where if
the main console with the receiver hasn't heard from a
sensor in some period, like the last day or two, it will
issue an alert. It also monitors for low batteries in the
wireless units. If your fire system has those feature
then you can be more secure knowing there is some
level of supervision. If it doesn't, then I would not
rely on it.
Typically the recommendation is for the heads themselves, as they can
degrade with age, especially the ionization type ones as they rely on
a small amount of radioactive material (Americium if I am not
mistaken.) But whether or not to replace the rest of the system
really depends on whether it is obsolete or not, e.g. if a component
were to fail, would you be able to buy replacement parts quickly and
Sadly, this is kind of a weasel answer, but my response is "it depends
- ask your dealer."
Finally, keep in mind that current code likely requires more than four
detectors unless you have a very small house, and also would require
that those detectors be hardwired with battery backup and
interconnected. Don't quote me on this because I'm going off memory
(in other words, do your research) but I believe that you are required
to have at a minimum one detector per floor, and then also one
immediately outside and one inside each sleeping room. Basically you
would rough in an octagon box at each location, and connect them all
with 14/3 (or 12/3 if you are using a 20A circuit) and then at the
location closest to your panel - I'm ASSuming that this is really a
residential security panel with FA capabilities - use a detector in
that location only with a relay base and tie the relay contact to a
hardwired zone on your panel and program that zone for "fire
alarm." (the last part is not required by code, but you might as well
use the capabilities of your system.) You don't *have* to do this -
in most places there is no requirement to bring an existing structure
up to current code unless you're remodeling - but I'm just throwing it
out there because it might prove to be a selling feature down the
Carbon monoxide detectors have a finite lifetime - maybe 5 years.
I've got a smoke detector that must be 20 years old and still works - my
wife occasionally checks it by not adequately venting her cooking;)
I think it's one of those erring on the side of caution things.
They're not expensive, and the consequences of one not working when
you need it to aren't particularly pleasant. I imagine that it's more
that 10 years or so is all the designers expect them to be in service,
so nobody wants to go on record as stating that they will still work
acceptably after that time period.
I would advise that you replace the whole system with a better and
reliable one. What happens if you replace the smoke detectors and then
another different part fails? Will you be replacing parts for the rest
of the systems life? Considering that technology has also evolved, I
think you need to look into systems that don't rely on internet
systems; try looking into cellular and wireless-type systems. I have
been using the FrontPoint system that I can monitor off my iPhone
since it's cellular. No wiring, no technicians (if you can do it
yourself) all you need is to call them for activation. In case yu
consider full replacement you may want to take a look at other
options. I started by requesting for a quote from their website. I am
adding the link to this reply in case you consider it helpful;
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