Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

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HueyLD
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Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by HueyLD » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:03 pm

I am tired of having to change batteries for hardwired smoke alarms in the tall ceiling. So, I am thinking about getting a model with 10-year batteries such as this one:

https://www.firstalertstore.com/store/p ... 120lbl.htm

Does anyone have experience with this model and did the alarms and batteries actually last at least 10 years?

Thanks.

clemrick
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by clemrick » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:41 pm

While I was volunteering at the local senior center today, the Fire Department came in and made a presentation. The fireman did mention the alarms with 10 year batteries and he said that they should last 10 years because they have to comply with federal regulations.

That was the first time I heard about 10 year batteries.

ianferrel
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by ianferrel » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:44 pm

I don't think the 10-year battery ones have actually been on the market for 10 years yet, but I do have a First Alert 10-year battery smoke alarm and it hasn't died yet, or it's died in a way that I didn't notice. My house hasn't caught on fire recently, so hard to say for sure. I regret that I haven't kept up with the prescribed weekly (!) testing maintenance ritual on my seven installed smoke detectors after cleaning them with a slightly damp soft cloth.

quantAndHold
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by quantAndHold » Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:51 pm

ianferrel wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:44 pm
I don't think the 10-year battery ones have actually been on the market for 10 years yet, but I do have a First Alert 10-year battery smoke alarm and it hasn't died yet, or it's died in a way that I didn't notice. My house hasn't caught on fire recently, so hard to say for sure. I regret that I haven't kept up with the prescribed weekly (!) testing maintenance ritual on my seven installed smoke detectors after cleaning them with a slightly damp soft cloth.
I actually do the weekly testing and cleaning with a soft cloth in the motorhome, because a) I can reach it without a ladder, and b) there’s only one, and if it goes south, that could be bad.

At home, I figure if one goes bad, the other six will probably still work. I do test them at least once a year, though. Usually by burning something in the kitchen.

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HueyLD
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by HueyLD » Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:04 pm

ianferrel wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:44 pm
I don't think the 10-year battery ones have actually been on the market for 10 years yet, but I do have a First Alert 10-year battery smoke alarm and it hasn't died yet, or it's died in a way that I didn't notice. My house hasn't caught on fire recently, so hard to say for sure. I regret that I haven't kept up with the prescribed weekly (!) testing maintenance ritual on my seven installed smoke detectors after cleaning them with a slightly damp soft cloth.
Weekly testing? OMG for that because I can barely reach the ceiling with a six-foot ladder and an eight-foot ladder is too heavy and bulky to carry around the house. I am not built like a defensive tackle and would like to avoid an eight-foot ladder.

It appears that the 10-year model may actually last 10 years. Hopefully anyway.

iamlucky13
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by iamlucky13 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:31 pm

ianferrel wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:44 pm
I don't think the 10-year battery ones have actually been on the market for 10 years yet
The 10 year batteries have been around for decades.

They have about the same voltage of standard alkaline 9V batteries, but a different internal chemistry - lithium iron disulfide.

Actual battery life depends on how much power the smoke detector they're installed in draws, but the lithium-primary batteries have a shelf-life of well over 10 years. If First Alert is advertising their packaged product as lasting 10 years with the included battery, it should.

I expect weekly testing would take a few years off the battery life. The detectors will use far more energy when testing than when just monitoring.

At a minimum, lithium primary 9V batteries will be you 1-1/2 to 2 times as much useful life as alkaline 9V's. Note that the Ultralife brand uses a different internal design that gives it higher capacity than the others.

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dratkinson
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by dratkinson » Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:47 pm

Learned in a past topic that we can now get combined fire-CO detectors that plug into an outlet, have battery backup, and wirelessly talk to each other. Meaning we can conveniently place them on each floor, in each bedroom, and if one senses trouble, than all are notified.



Disclosure. My smoke detectors are hardwired to a ceiling box and interconnected on each floor. I use lithium 9v primary batteries and they seem to last ~5yrs before needing to be replaced---detector starts chirping. (Found a lightweight stepladder that makes the task easier---Easy Reach, Gorilla Ladder, Ultra-lightweight, 3-step. Day-to-day the stepladder lives in the pantry to reach top shelf items.)

But my CO detectors are individually mounted into high wall outlet boxes on each floor that are easy to reach without a ladder. They are the new 10yr-type so the whole unit must be replace after that date.

For my next round, plan to install on each floor, the line-powered battery-backed combined units that talk to each other. Should never again need a stepladder to test or replace detectors.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

Glomar
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by Glomar » Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:41 pm

We had a bad experience with the First Alert 10-year (bought from Costco). About 9 months in, both units (it was a 2-pack) started alarming for no reason (no cooking or anything, and usually in the middle of the night). They would take turns going off at different times.

We contacted the company and they sent us a replacement pair. Those also lasted less than a year before one of them also started waking us up at night. The company also said that we should spray the units weekly with compressed air...have never had to do that before with any smoke alarm...

Giving up on First alert and are going to try the Kidde brand next.

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HueyLD
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by HueyLD » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:23 pm

Glomar wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:41 pm
We had a bad experience with the First Alert 10-year (bought from Costco). About 9 months in, both units (it was a 2-pack) started alarming for no reason (no cooking or anything, and usually in the middle of the night). They would take turns going off at different times.

We contacted the company and they sent us a replacement pair. Those also lasted less than a year before one of them also started waking us up at night. The company also said that we should spray the units weekly with compressed air...have never had to do that before with any smoke alarm...

Giving up on First alert and are going to try the Kidde brand next.
My goodness. That experience is terrible.

A question on spraying the alarm units with compressed air: do you live in a dusty area such as a desert?

Glomar
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by Glomar » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:59 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:23 pm

My goodness. That experience is terrible.

A question on spraying the alarm units with compressed air: do you live in a dusty area such as a desert?
Nope, I thought maybe pollen but we rarely open windows. And no problems with any other smoke alarms in the house (various ages). First Alert's suggestion to use compressed air weekly IMHO is not reasonable and makes me think I was not the only one to have this problem.

I did try compressed air on the replacement unit when it acted up, but a week later it went off again in the middle of the night.

Time will tell, my hope is just a problem with this particular First Alert model and not anything to do with 10-year battery per se.

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MP123
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by MP123 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:21 pm

Be aware that there is a small switch on the back that you can use to disable the unit, similar to removing a battery from a traditional smoke detector.

However, once you flip the switch it breaks an intricate piece of plastic that prevents you from reinstalling the detector even if you re-enable it. It's similar to the little catches that require a battery be installed except permanent just like the battery.

This can easily happen when you're trying to figure out which #@#& detector keeps chirping in the middle of the night. In my case it wasn't the 10 year one but I rendered it inop by troubleshooting it.

I'm sticking with the regular ones for now.

jeff1949
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by jeff1949 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:45 pm

Glomar wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:41 pm
We had a bad experience with the First Alert 10-year (bought from Costco). About 9 months in, both units (it was a 2-pack) started alarming for no reason (no cooking or anything, and usually in the middle of the night). They would take turns going off at different times.

We contacted the company and they sent us a replacement pair. Those also lasted less than a year before one of them also started waking us up at night. The company also said that we should spray the units weekly with compressed air...have never had to do that before with any smoke alarm...

Giving up on First alert and are going to try the Kidde brand next.
We had the same issues with our 10 year First Alert purchased at Costco. We got replacements from First Alert and then we were told to use a hair dryer to blow the dust out every 6 months or so. Have had no problem since then and we live in a sometimes dusty farm/rural area in Oregon.

Housedoc
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by Housedoc » Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:57 am

If you read the small print on your detector it will say replace after 10 years. Been that way for years. I guess it is a CYA of manufacturer. I change mine out myself, hardwired models not hard to replace. One less thing for insurance company to ding you for should you have to file a claim. I would hate to have claim issues over out of date detector.

JackoC
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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by JackoC » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:11 pm

Housedoc wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 5:57 am
If you read the small print on your detector it will say replace after 10 years. Been that way for years. I guess it is a CYA of manufacturer. I change mine out myself, hardwired models not hard to replace. One less thing for insurance company to ding you for should you have to file a claim. I would hate to have claim issues over out of date detector.
Yes and that's something I wouldn't try to save extra pennies by extending. I have our detector dates in a spreadsheet, but we replaced the smoke detectors all at the same time. The current crop of smoke detectors at least have a more convenient way to replace the 9V battery without unscrewing the whole thing from the ceiling, inevitably in the middle of the night after being woken by the beeps. :happy

Recently we bought a CO detector with 10 yr battery, but one we bought in 2011 with regular battery signaled 'end of life', for the detector, in 2018. If the new one lasts that long, detector or battery, it's not the end of the world. It's often somewhat a leap of faith to go with the long life electrical devices. Sort of like LED bulbs (so far so good) and CFL bulbs (which usually didn't last, for us, nearly as long as the savings examples on the packages, quite a few of the first brand we used, Feit, didn't last to the 1 yr fine print warranty).

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Re: Smoke Alarms with 10 Yr Batteries

Post by mikemikemike » Fri Jun 21, 2019 12:29 pm

Not sure about the exact model, but I have a combined smoke & CO detector on my boat with 10 yr internal batteries. I test it regularly to make sure its working right. I like it because it stays active even if I shut down my boat's house battery and engine.

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