My house has hard-wired 120v smoke detectors. One went off today for a few
seconds. So I climbed up to take a look, and I noticed on the plastic
housing it says replace by year 2005. I tried the test button and it
worked, I actually tried the test button on all the detectors and they all
worked. Should I replace all the detectors? They seem to be working, based
on the test button. I know there are recommendations on replacing battery
operated ones but not hard-wired ones.
All kinds sound be replaced. BTW many if not all hard wired detectors
have backup batteries as well. Even if you already know this maybe some
others don't and that could have been why it sounded, the backup battery may
be going low.
Some of these don't have battery backups. I took all mine down and put
a flat metal white cover you can buy at Home Depot over the opening and
then I installed all battery types. You wouldn't want to take a chance
if the power should go off before the smoke arrived.
Jeff Guay wrote:
I would replace them as suggested by the manufacturer. One possibility
to look at is whether your hard-wired detectors are interconnected.
When I was rehabbing a 3-story house, I put detectors on each floor,
hard-wired, and interconnected. One went off - they all went off.
(Yes, it was LOUD). I couldn't find battery backup detectors at the
time - early 90's - either they weren't available or I didn't search
enough. So I also installed battery-powered detectors on each floor
(not interconnected). Even for all those detectors, I spent less than
$200 - cheap protection for multiple lives and a $150K house.
But I would think that hard-wired, battery-backup, interconnected
detectors would be the best. Overly cautious perhaps, as I've never
set a house on fire, but you never know.
Statistically what you did had just the opposite effect. I've never
read a story or heard of anyone dying in a fire because the power to
the AC smoke detectors went off. But I read and hear frequently about
people dying in fires because the batteries were dead and had not been
replaced periodically. The latter is the far more common occurence.
Why didn't you just replace them with units that are AC plus battery?
The probability that the power will be off during a fire is pretty low. I'd bet
lower than the chances that the batteries will be dead in a battery-powered
detector, which is probably why hard-wired smoke detectors are mandated by code.
If you're really worried, either replace the AC smoke detectors with ones that
battery backup, or keep the hard-wired detectors and add a couple of
detectors to your home.
I wouldn't replace hard-wired with battery- could be a code violation,
depending where you live. I would use those with back-up battery for
sure. They do wear out and need replacement- forget why exactly. I've
also read that smoke testing them 1-2 times a year is advisable- try
not to set house on fire in the process!
The "Test" button tests whether the sucker can make a noise, not whether it
can detect smoke. (Unless, of course, pushing the "test" button on your
device generates smoke not connected with electing a new Pope.)
The radioisotope may have decayed thereby exceeding its half-life by the
"best if used by" date. You may just need fresher radioactive material -
which means a new detector.
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