This could be the cause of your smoke detector going off.
Optical smoke alarms should be replaced every 12 years unless the manufacturer recommends otherwise.
According to a new study by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), dust and grime build-up increases increased sensitivity in smoke alarms over time, resulting in more false alarms.
The inconvenience of determining whether a false alarm is a true fire, according to the BRE, increases the possibility of complacency and individuals disregarding alarms, even when a real risk exists.
There is now no mandated replacement time for domestic smoke alarms in British regulatory standards, therefore many families in the UK are likely to have devices that are more than 12 years old.
The study’s findings will be incorporated into UK standards and recommendations on recommended replacement intervals for optical smoke alarms.
The Fire Industry Association, which helped fund the research, and the British Standards Institutions (BSI) Committee will both actively support this.
“To make for a safe built environment, it is critical that smoke alarms operate at optimal sensitivity and deliver a prompt reaction in the event of a fire,” BRE’s Raman Chagger stated.
“The BRE is urging customers to check their smoke alarms on a regular basis, including the date of manufacture, to verify they are fully functioning, responsive, and within the suggested replacement period,” says the organization.
“This is a step that individuals may take to ensure that they are safe in their own houses.
“We are really pleased that the findings of our study have been included in official recommendations, and that the research will hopefully result in tangible change,” says the author.