Life Saving Detector Facts

Posted on Mar 23, 2015

Almost everyone knows that they should replace their smoke/carbon monoxide batteries annually, but do you know…

    • According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) your smoke or carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every 5, 7 or 10 years depending on the manufacturer. Yes, that’s right. Every detector unit should be replaced based upon the manufacturers’ recommendation. (See each specific model number for details).
    • All detectors manufactured after the year 2000 are required to have the manufactured date listed on the back side of the detector. If you do not have the original manufacturers’ instructions, you can go online to determine the replacement date based upon the model number. If there is no date listed, rest assured that your detector is older than 2000. That means it is out of date and needs to be replaced right away.
  • Do you know what type of detectors you need? It is very important to have the right type of detector and also the proper number and placement. NFPA 72 requires, as a minimum, that detectors be installed inside every sleeping area. Additionally, it requires them to be installed outside every sleeping area on every level of the home including basements. (Note: Some larger homes may require additional locations). Homes with natural gas appliances such as furnaces, ranges or cook tops and dryers should have a minimum of one carbon monoxide detector on every floor.
  • Homeowners of older homes should take proactive steps to upgrade their system. Fire research has proven that with today’s modern furnishings fires can spread much more rapidly than in the past.
  • Is your system interconnected? The best scenario for today’s homeowner is to have all units interconnected. This simply means when one detector alarms itself it signals all detectors to sound. This requires a third wire (generally colored red) that is part of the integral house wiring running between outlet boxes. If there is no red wire present a licensed electrician can rewire the outlets to accommodate this interconnection. Another way to install detectors is with wireless technology. These use a radio frequency signal to interconnect with any of the existing detectors.
  • 4 Things that you don’t want to do.


  1. Don’t install detectors near open windows, bathrooms or HVAC vents as these may have an effect on their operation.
  2. Do not paint your detectors.
  3. Do not run a gas powered generator inside your garage.
  4. Do not use a gas or charcoal grill inside your garage.
  • 5 Things that you do want to do.


  1. Test your detectors once a month.
  2. Vacuum around your detector every three months to remove dust buildup which may interfere with the sensing unit.
  3. Replace your alkaline batteries only with the manufacturers’ approved listed battery.
  4. If you have a newer 10 year detector with sealed non-replaceable battery and it chirps indicating a low battery, replace the detector immediately.
  5. If your carbon monoxide combination detector alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door and call for help.

For more information and a detector safety evaluation of your home contact Holzmacher Electric at 513-339-9870 or schedule an online appointment (see website) for more details.