Least Safe Smoke Detector We Have Found

We inspect a lot of smoke detectors, and the one smoke detector that we see as the least safe is the older (and discontinued) Firex Smoke detector. The serial numbers will vary. They were installed in homes in Southern California around in the 1970 – 1990 range. They are no longer sold. They are about 30-40 years old, and need to be replaced.

Problem here is these were good in their day, but they are old. Dust collects on the alarm horn inside of the detector, and even though the detector may detect smoke, the sound alarm is barely audible or silent. Or they are just too old and they do not sense smoke anymore. Vintage is good but not for smoke detectors. Plus they are not CA compliant if they do not have a working 9volt back up battery, which most do not.

The Met condos in Woodland Hills is a good example. One out of two older Firex detectors we test at the Met do not work, or are silent when triggered. Many units have these replaced, but the original Firex consistently fail. They were the original ones when the Met was built in 1987 as apartments, and later converted to condos. During the condo conversion, the smoke detectors apparently were not replaced with newer ones.

Firex smoke detectors are especially unsafe in attached homes like apartments and condos, because no matter how safe you are, your neighbor can still set the building on fire. Highly recommend you replace these 40 year old smoke detectors if you have one in your home.

Call us with any questions you may have at 310.800.4418.

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