RESIDENTS are being urging to have their hard-wired smoke alarms replaced if they have been in place for more than 10 years.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service are recommending that people living in homes built between 1992 and 2008 to have their hard-wired smoke alarms replaced, as research suggest they should be replaced after a decade in action.

Nick Evans, head of prevention at Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, says that countless Cheshire homes are being protected by smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old, with a ‘misguided faith’ in hard-wired alarms being a concern.

He said: “Smoke alarms save lives - they detect fires in their early stages and give a loud audible warning and they help you to save your home and the lives of your family. But simply having smoke alarms in your home is not enough - you have to be sure that they are working.

In 1992, the building regulations were amended and require every new build to have mains-wired interconnected smoke alarms installed.

So, all homes built in Cheshire between 1992 and 2008 have smoke alarms that need replacing, unless the homeowners have already replaced them over the past decade.

Nick added: “Some of these homes have smoke alarms that are now nearly 30 years old and desperately need replacing.

“With contaminants such as dust, insects, grease and nicotine, over time the smoke alarm chamber is susceptible to becoming excessively sensitive or insensitive. This may lead to either an increase in nuisance false alarms, or to it eventually becoming unable to detect smoke.”

Similarly, as smoke alarms get older faults are more likely to occur.

Corrosion of electrical circuitry and disconnected power supply is another possible problem with hard-wired alarms.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service insist that smoke alarms should be tested regularly, but the tests may not be reliable with old alarms.

While you may get a bleep when you press the test button, this may give a false impression of fully functioning alarm. The only way to be sure that a smoke alarm over 10 years old will work properly, when you need it to, is to have its smoke detector head replacing.

This needs to be done by a qualified electrician with mains-wired alarms, but the cost is a small price to pay for knowing that the alarm will alert you should a potentially life-threatening fire start in your home.

For more advice on taking care of your smoke alarms, go to