Replace Fire Alarm Smoke Detectors Every 10 Years?

So, you’re supposed to replace smoke alarms every 10 years. Is this the same for photoelectric smoke detectors? Are buildings supposed to have their commercial smoke detectors attached to their system replaced every 10 years? So, should I be hesitant when buying an ionization smoke detector off of eBay (since it might be old).

Since you’re only using it for demonstration, you shouldn’t be too worried about it.

I have plans for a new system that will be powered up 24/7, and will be used for fire detection. Although I will still be still playing with it, it will be for fire detection. Consider it a play system that will be for real use. It will not call the dispatcher, and it will be installed in conduit, using the appropriate wire type and gauge. It will use 18 gauge unshielded copper FPL cable, it will be installed in 1/2" EMT, the power source is a 14 gauge appliance power cord that I found made by Coleman Cable, and it will have a surge suppressor. Seems legit, right?

Anyway, does anyone know the answers to my questions in my first post?

It is up to you but I would not use a hobbiest system for life safety

Mine will be like NewAgerServerAlarm’s system.

Does anyone know the answers, though?

Ok… I googled it and it says that for the most Sensitive detection replace it every 10-15 years but it will not Completely loose it’s Detection if you want the URL were I found this info please feel free to ask me

I know, I have seen videos about this. What do you mean by “sensitive” detectors? Does this include photoelectric detectors. I am wanting the detector to perform at a good level.

When did the production of the current series of Fire-Lite addressable smoke detectors start? I’m thinking the series might be new, so any detector within the series should still have good sensitivity.

What series are you looking at on fire-lite website it has four different kinds

I wouldn’t see how a photoelectric detector would be up for replacement in ten years with as high a chance as an ionization detector. The only thing I would be concerned about is if the IR LED still lights. But then again, LEDs do last a long time and both my System Sensor 2400’s still work and they’re from the late 80’s/early 90’s.

In my opinion, go with photoelectric. They’ll last a very long time and not lose sensitivity like an ionization detector.

Yeah, I figured photoelectric would last longer, since there is just a laser inside, but I was wondering how often they are supposed to be replaced (if at all). I will have one photoelectric, and one ionization, because they both detect different types of fires.

I was looking at all of the detectors in the current series [SD355(A) / SD355T(A), CP355(A), H355(A), and the AD355(A)]. So all of the current Fire-Lite brand detectors (excluding the duct and beam detectors). I was assuming that these all came out at once to replace the legacy detectors.

Here are my questions:

  • [*]Are photoelectric detectors supposed to be replaced often?
  • [*]When was the current series of Fire-Lite detectors released [SD355(A) / SD355T(A), CP355(A), H355(A), and the AD355(A)]?
  • [/list]

    Well, the data sheet for all of the detectors are all dated for around the first month of 2012, or the last month of 2011. So, I guess I should assume that is when they were released. I should also assume that any of the detectors in the current series (listed above), is no more than a year and a half old.

    If anyone knows for sure when they were relased, please post the date(s).

    Also, if anyone knows the answer to my question about the photoelectric smoke detector, please post it, that would be appreciated.

    Moderators/Administrators NOTE: Sorry for all of the posting, I found new information. I checked to ensure that I was not bumping (this topic was already at the top).

    I’ve doing more research and thinking, and I have just realized that if a fire were to start in my house, it would be because of an electrical fire, or a match/candle, as I have no gas appliances or anything nearby. My car is left in the driveway. So, electrical and match fires start off slow, which photoelectric detectors are best for detecting. Since I do not have anything that would produce a fast flaming fire, I do not see a need for an ionization detector. (If the gallon of gasoline for my lawn mower were to randomly ignite in the garage, there is an ionization smoke alarm in the hallway that would sound first.)

    If anyone knows if photoelectric detectors are supposed to be replaced, please post the information. I can’t find anything mentioning it on the Internet, so maybe they aren’t supposed to be replaced.

    Oh my bad I misread and thought it was inazation not photoelectric

    Ok, I know of no requirement to replace system-connected smoke detectors - outside of the MANUFACTURER’S RECOMMENDATION. ionization detectors do not lose sensitivity - the halflife of the radioactive element is over 400 years. Both photo and ion have limitations. Photo is the standard, just go with that. It’s not common for any type of conventional or analog photo detector to “lose sensitivity”. I would also be very leery on anything purchased from ebay.

    Single-station detectors are recommended after ten years, but these units also integrate a piezo (which I’ve seen fail) and an internal power source. I recently came across the old square Black and Decker ion smoke detector that was installed in my father’s house when I was a kid (late 80s-early 90s) that still seems to work - hold it over a small flame, the ion chamber picks up the particles.

    You still have local codes you must follow, so don’t toy around with it. You might want to keep whatever detectors you already have in place. It never hurts, though I have i3s for system protection, I still have single-station ionization detectors. If your existing detectors are 110v hardwired ones, don’t touch them. leave them there. Codes aren’t something you can play with, if there is a fire and an insurance claim is filed, you could be in for a world of problems. Aside from an annual detector cleaning and battery testing, I don’t touch my detectors or the panel, at all. I only recently had my first false alarm since 2005, and that was due to a broken furnace pipe blowing smoke into the basement.

    This is where it becomes “NOT a hobby”.

    I’m not installing a full house system, just a room system. I have battery-operated smoke alarms, that I never said I would be removing.

    Thank you for answering my question, although, I have heard from so many sources and companies that smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years, you haven’t? Ionization ones don’t lose sensitivity over time?

    Yes, the ionization detectors can and WILL lose their sensitivity over time. It just happened that Magnum Alert got lucky with a great detector. If it’s just a room system that is not your only source of protection against fire, son’t worry about the detectors as to how old they are. Just keep in mind, this is for fun and should NEVER assume full responsibility for your protection. Let you 9 volt detectors do their job and just get a couple of decent detectors. With my smokes, I really don’t care how old they are or if they even work. Enjoy having a system and forget about it having to do all the life safety here.

    To sum it up, it’s your decision. Now I would strongly recommend that if you’re serious as to this system being on 24/7 and being the primary source of early warning that you just bite the bullet and get a real system installed but ask that the phone connection be removed. Please please please, just be smart about what you do. You may think you know everything about the alarms and feel confident, but there are some things that could go wrong if you’re not careful.

    Consider the risks…

    the issue with ionization vs. photoelectric is not sensitivity, but in that an ionization detector is not a true “smoke” detector, so they tend to fail a lot of tests where aerosol smoke is used. Certain types of aerosol smoke will trip an ionization detector, where other brands - like the Solo stuff that the Simplex guys use - will not. it’s not a problem with photoelectric, since the detector “sees” the aerosol particles. Sensitivity testers and aerosol smoke do not always give off the combustion particles needed to cause the change in the ionization detector. For this reason, a lot get replaced.

    ionization detectors are really better at detecting the small, invisible “smoke” particles from a clean-burning fire that is openly flaming and spreading (solid combustibles like paper, curtains, etc). a fire like this may not put out, initially, smoke particles needed to trip a photoelectric detectors. these kinds of fires, although large, aren’t the most deadly ones. Take a $5 BRK ionization detector, hold it over a very clean flame that is producing zero smoke. the detector will alarm. However, if you look up “ionization smoke detector” on youtube, you’ll see dozens of demonstration videos where ionization detectors didn’t give early warning of a smoldering fire in a sofa, even when the room was full of smoke and impossible to get through.

    photoelectric detectors “see” visible smoke particles from fires that are producing large smoke particles, but don’t have a very big (if any) open flame. These fires are the most lethal, because the burning material is producing carbon monoxide, cyanide, and other lethal gases, that will spread in the house long before the flame becomes a threat. The smoke is also black, and will make the room impassable during the fire. This is the type of fire that occurs when a cigarette is dropped into a sofa.

    it’s typically safe to assume that a fire will eventually give off the smoke needed to trip a photo detector.

    the test burn videos on ionization vs. photoelectric are eye openers, check it out. The $5 BRK and Kidde detectors are indeed fine and functional, for what they are. Mine are $5 BRK models that are installed next to my i3s. While I’ve never had a false alarm on a photo detector from my kerosene heater, I would reliably get an alarm on the ionization detector in the hallway from the very clean, controlled flame (no visible smoke) of the heater. It’s not wise to predict the type of fire you’ll have in any given room of your home, but you’re fine with photoelectric detectors.

    No, this system is not the primary source of fire detection in my house. I figured, it would be nice the leave it on 24/7, so I should get a couple of smoke detectors. The smoke detectors will be the only source of fire protection in my room, but there is a smoke alarm on the opposite side of the door.

    When I was “predicting” the fire, I wasn’t trying to predict what will catch on fire, and the outcome of the smoke/particles, I was trying to predict what starts the fire. Unless someone pours gasoline in my room, then lights a match, doesn’t it seem pretty hard for a gas fire to start? Also, I don’t cook in my room, so a grease fire would also be hard to start. That leaves me with electrical and match/candle, etc. You do make a good point that different materials produce different types of fires, though.

    As far as the fire alarm system, I am going to grab the conduit to check for any heat buildup within the first couple of days the system is installed. I will also upload a video of the completed system, and the different phases of the installation, and you guys can check it out from there. Now, a year or two ago, I would have been concerned for myself, but I have learned so much since then.

    As far as the ionization detectors go, I think all of these websites and firefighters are trying to say that ionization smoke alarms will still detect a fire after 10 years, just not quick enough to meet expectations. Btw, Magnum Alert, we are not talking about commercial smoke detectors being replaced, we are talking about why residential smoke alarms are supposed to be replaced.


    Typically photoelectric = 10 years.

    why do you need conduit?

    So photoelectric is supposed to be replaced as much as ionization?

    I need conduit to keep everything organized, and to keep it from looking ugly. I would also like to get experience with bending. Technically, I also need it to protect the wires, but I don’t think anything will happen to my wires.