Smoke Alarm Life Span

Sentence 5.4.1 of CAN/ULC-S552-13 (Standard for Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Smoke Alarms) which states:

“A smoke alarm or a combination device (smoke/carbon monoxide, smoke/heat alarm, etc.), shall be replaced and installed in accordance with CAN/ULC-S553, Standard for Installation of Smoke Alarms, if:

  1. The device doesn’t not sound an alarm during testing;
  2. The device is physically damaged, altered or tampered with;
  3. The exterior case has been painted that would prevent smoke from entering the device;
  4. The detection capability of the device is compromised due to foreign material;
  5. The device causes frequent false alarms that are not eh result of cooking or steam;
  6. The device terminals are corroded;
  7. Batteries are leaking or corroded;
  8. Recommended by the manufacturer’s published instructions (e.g., replacement date indicated on the device); or
  9. The end-of-life signal activates.”

NOTE:  Smoke alarms should be replaced within 10 years from the date of manufacture.  See Appendix A, Explanatory Material, Clause A5.4.1”

Appendix A5.4.1 is headed “REPLACEMENT OF SMOKE ALARMS AFTER 10 YEARS OF SERVICE”

“Smoke alarms contain electronic parts that may fail and components that can deteriorate over time.  Therefore, smoke alarms have a limited service life.  In order to prolong the service life and to provide optimal performance, smoke alarm should be tested and cleaned periodically.  (Refer to the user manual provided by the manufacturer for instructions on caring for smoke alarms).  It is strongly recommended that smoke alarms be replaced within 10 years of original installation.”

It should be noted that the intent of the Appendix is to clarify replacement criteria for smoke alarms that do not employ a “replace by” date on the device.

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