We’re often asked about the new 10-year smoke alarm revolution. The importance of having a 10-year alarm cannot be understated, and the fact that in California, a new law requires that all alarms sold after July 1, 2015 be of the ten year type supports that value.
For the homeowner, the answer about 10-year alarms is convenience and security. With most battery-powered alarms sold during the past 30 + years, the internal 9-volt or AA batteries would only last a year or two. After that, the batteries would fail and need to be replaced. That often meant getting a ladder and doing a bit of climbing, removing the alarm, replacing the batteries, replacing the alarm, and then testing it. Many people’s perspective on this was, “who needs this nonsense?”
Having a ten year alarm solves that problem. Most alarms are of little value functionally after eight to ten years. The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing smoke alarms every 10 years. The new 10-year alarms are powered by sealed, long-life lithium batteries. There’s no fuss, no muss.
Several studies have noted that ten-year alarms have fewer false alarms, but that in part depends on proper placement. That’s one reason our installers go through some important training prior to coming into your home.
What about older style alarms? Do they need to be removed?
If you have an alarm with replaceable batteries, don’t worry – they still work as described by the manufacturer. In fact, we’ll continue to distribute and install 2-year battery powered alarms until July 2015. Typically, when we do a home installation, we’ll put ten-year alarms in the hallways and two-year alarms in bedrooms.