Smoke/CO Detector questions

(1) Do hard wired detectors also have a back-up battery? Sometimes when I actuate detectors, even in relatively new homes, they keep beeping every few minutes after the main alarm.
(2) Do detectors have an end-of-life alarm that goes off after 10 years?

Read the cover instructions…some models require YOU to push the test button a second time to shut OFF the alarm. NOTE: Pushing the test button DOES NOT check the unit ability to detect smoke, only that the audible circuitry is functioning. In order to check for actual smoke detection “smoke” is needed. The answer to your second ? is NO.

Remember…Smoke Alarms are different than Smoke Detectors in the overall scope of products. Remember in new homes they may not have the tab pulled out on them just yet which will in effect beep as if the battery needs replacement.

Smoke Alarms do not have a “end of life meter” on them but should be checked yearly and batteries replaced and replaced at the least every 10 years or sooner if needed. Nothing like a little preventative maintenance to save a life.

About a year ago I stopped checking smoke/fire detectors based on the fact that onyl a ‘smoke test’ was a valid test. I put comment in each inspection that says this and I check the N/A box on my inspection template (not/applicable).

But realtors and buyers seem to expect me to check them. It saves about 10/15 minutes on each inspection to not have to check them but I like to do a quality inspection. Should I continue in not checking them and add the disclaimer?

I really don’t want to buy one of those $65. kits that come with a can on pole that blows smoke into the detector.

Need an opinion.

I do not check them either.

I stopped years ago…too many are tied into security alarm systems and once activated alerts the Fire dept, Police Dept not to mention the siren blaring in the attic or one of the eaves…I tell them if they want to test them…be my guest. I tell the customer all this and recommend them having the sellers demonstrate the entire system to them as it typically requires a code to turn the damn things off.

I do check their audible circuit and verify they are interlocked. I have numerous times found faulty alarms. I also recommend them when they are nonexistent and quote the NFPA guidelines in doing so. A few more minutes to help educate the client in their importance and value is time well spent as far as I’m concerned.


I check the alarms for audible function; however, my report contains a default recommendation to change batteries and test the alarms.

I don’t check them, but all of my report say that the client should replace the batteries and test the alarms when they move in. Even if I did check it, and it works the day of the inspection; how can I say that it will work in 30-90 days when they actually move in? Better to be safe than sorry.

Beep test is just that…testing if it beeps.
Tells you it is energized and not if it will work .

Good for about 5 years C/O and 8 years smoke.

I tell them where to place but do not test unless they want me dragging my ladder all over the place.

I tell my clients essentially all of the above. I let them know that I do not test the alarms “just because it tested ok on the inspection 2-3 months later they may not”. I put a reminder in every report summary that tells them to test them all when they move in.



I don’t test them but my reports read in part:

Smoke Detectors
· **Safety Tip: **You should replace your smoke detector every 10 years. That is over 87,000 hours of service! Replace the batteries in your existing unit (if equipped). Ionization technology responds first to fast, flaming fires while photoelectric technology responds faster to slow smouldering fires. Having both types would be ideal. It is recommended that a smoke detector be installed on every floor and every bedroom of the home for improved safety.

Texas requires us to manually test the accessible smoke alarms by use of the manufacturer’s approved test or by the use of canned smoke

I check them every time and use a painter’s telescopic extension pole. Got tired of getting my ladder out…