Homeowners and landlords may soon have no choice but to swap out their smoke detectors for upgraded 10-year sealed models next time they go to the store. It’s thanks to a new New York State law going into effect this year.
The law says that starting April 1, 2019 all businesses must sell smoke detectors that are either a 10-year, sealed, non-removable battery or hardwired detector.
The Clifton Park Fire Department says that while these 10-year smoke detectors have a larger upfront cost than traditional alarms powered by replaceable batteries, the lack of yearly battery changes makes them cheaper over the life of the device.
The smoke detectors run about $20, but the Red Cross gives them out for free. Volunteers say when they install the detectors that they find the one’s being replaced are often old or have missing batteries.
“The benefit of these sealed units is that you can’t do that. You can’t accidentally take the battery out and forget to replace it,” said Kimmy Venter.
“People say, ‘Well I change the battery and it still works.’ Well it beeps but it doesn’t work anymore,” said volunteer Tommy Smith.
Like all safety alarms, 10-year sealed smoke alarms should still be tested at least once each year using the button on the front of the unit to ensure they are working properly.
According to the Clifton Park Fire Department, all smoke detector units, both with and without replaceable batteries should be replaced after 10 years. Detectors with sealed battery compartments and 10-year lifespans ensure detectors are removed and replaced once they become outdated.