In early February, we had a new addition to the Nichols Electrical family. Our technician Tim and his wife
welcomed their new baby daughter, Lucy, into the world. Tim shared that, before the hospital discharged
them, the staff had to give them some basic parental information on how to care for the baby. With their
tips, they asked about the age and working conditions of the fire and carbon monoxide detectors in their
Why is that such an important question? What does age have to do with smoke detectors? When do we
need to replace them and why?
First of all, the risk of not surviving a fire in a home is cut in half if there are working fire alarms in the
home. We don’t like to really think of that happening, and to prevent this there are safety codes to help
prevent the worse outcomes in case disaster happens. Among these safety codes set in place, is the
regulation that smoke detectors and CO’s are to be installed on every living floor. While smoke detectors
are also required in bedrooms, the code may soon change requiring CO’s in bedrooms as well.
When should I change smoke detectors? The recommended age of changing a smoke or C/O detector
varies around 7-10 years. Even if you test the devices, it doesn’t ensure the sensors are working
correctly because the circuit boards in the device get old and become unreliable over time. One simple
way to know how old your device is, is by looking at the coloring of the device. If it’s yellowing, chances
are it’s old enough to change out.
In new houses, the detectors are all hard wired together, meaning that if one detects smoke or C/O they
all go off. In older houses, this is just not feasible. At Nichols Electric, we suggest using a 10-year battery
Smoke/CO combo device in areas where you can’t hardwire all your detectors together.
We hope this article has been informative and helpful. If you think you may need to update your Smoke
and Carbon Monoxide systems in the Greater Rochester NY, please give us a call. We’d love to help
keep you and your family safe.
Administration has more in-depth information on their site. For more information please visit at:
The Town of Brighton, NY has a great web page with information about the Safety codes for both
Smokes and CO detectors, how they work and where to install them. This is a great example of the
codes in the greater Rochester area. For more info please visit their web page here: