What You Need to Know About Smoke Detectors to Be Safe in Your Home

Jun 9, 2023

Chances are, if you live in Illinois, you need to update your smoke detectors. That’s because the law in the state changed on January 1st, 2023. Now with the change, according to the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance, any new smoke detectors, “being installed within a single or multi-family home are required to be featured with a 10-year sealed battery.

These are more effective, because the homeowner doesn’t have to remember to replace the batteries every six months. When the 10 years are up, you simply replace the entire alarm.

But if you recently changed your smoke detectors, don’t worry. The IFSA also stated that: “Smoke alarms in a single or multi-family home prior to January 1, 2023 may remain in place until they exceed 10 years from their manufactured date.” This 10-year replacement cycle is the same as it was before the law change. BTW: You may read the act 425 ILCS 60 here.

Remember, according to the National Fire Protection Association, your smoke alarms should be placed on every level of the house, particularly:


  • In every bedroom
  • In hallways outside the bedrooms
  • In the living room and, if you have one, the family room or den
  • In the basement and attic
  • Along the stairs


On the other hand, to minimize false alarms, smoke alarms should be at least 10 feet from any cooking appliance.

Ceiling mounted and closest to the center of a room is best for homes. It is preferred, however, to mount them on the wall with a mobile home or trailer (don’t forget about installing a working smoke detector in your camping trailer or van if you use it for sleeping during vacations).


So, what else should you seek in a new smoke detector? As always, you’ll be checking for the UL certification on a new smoke detector. For more information, be sure to check out my post on carbon monoxide and fire safety, which offers additional details about verifying your smoke detectors are tested and safe.


More thoughts on fire safety:

People who plan ahead are more likely to remain safe during a fire emergency. Things to think about include:

Maintain clear exits: Always ensure that your exits for each room, including windows, are not blocked. After all, you want to keep a clear pathway to any exit point of the home in case of an emergency. Then make sure everyone in your home knows about all possible exits, especially when guests are staying the night. In fact, you should have an evacuation plan and practice it regularly.

Obtain working fire extinguishers: Keeping a fire extinguisher – or even several of them – in your home. Everyone in the home should learn how to properly handle a fire extinguisher and ensure that children are trained to never touch it unless there is a fire. Of course: If the fire is spreading too fast, stop attempting to extinguish it and exit the home immediately. For more information about how to select and use an extinguisher, check out this page from the City of Evanston Fire Department, along with other key home safety tips.

Call 911 immediately if you encounter a home fire: If you ever have a fire emergency where you have to exit a home, make sure to tell the fire department where you believe other people or pets could be in the home and make sure they have a headcount. Remember: Never re-enter a burning building. It can be very scary to leave a home without everyone accounted for. But you need to make sure that you protect yourself, so you can inform the firefighters, which helps to ensure that everyone gets out of the home.

Whether you replace the smoke detector now or wait until your current ones reach their ten-year limits, you should still monitor and check them routinely to ensure they are operating (as well as regular maintenance of home heating equipment, chimneys, and other potential ignition sources such as vents to ensure they’re in proper working order). After all, you can never be too safe.

Just think: The survival rate of people in fires with working smoke alarms is significantly higher than for those without working smoke detectors. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), states that “almost three out of five home fire deaths were caused by fires in properties with no smoke alarms (41 percent) or smoke alarms that failed to operate (16 percent).” In other words, the NFPA reports that “The risk of dying in reported home structure fires is 55 percent lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes with no alarms or none that worked.”


Please let us know if you have any questions. As your Evanston Experts, we’re here to help and we can point you in the right direction to get the answers you need. Just call or email us – or just visit our list of preferred list of local vendors to find experienced electricians who’ve been vetted by myself, my team, or previous clients to help you identify the right smoke detectors for you home as well as to help you install them.











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