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The Difference Between Replacing And Upgrading A Fire Alarm System

The Difference Between Replacing and Upgrading a Fire Alarm System

Fire prevention is a serious concern for commercial buildings and because of this, fire alarm systems are one of the most critical components in terms of building safety and code compliance. Fires are a persistent danger and every year, they claim valuables, property, and even lives.

Is it Time to Replace or Upgrade Your Fire Alarm System?

Like most building components, fire alarm systems don’t last forever. Periodically, they must be replaced or completely upgraded due to old age, nuisance alarms, lightning damage, or because of a variety of other reasons. But, how do you know when it’s time for you to consider replacing or upgrading your fire alarm system?

If you’re unsure, don’t worry, you’re not alone. In a national survey conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 7 out of 10 Americans admit they don’t know how often their fire alarm systems need to be replaced. The correct answer? Every 10 years from their date of manufacture.

Do you think it might be time to upgrade or replace your fire alarm system? Let’s take a look at a few things to consider.

What Does it Mean to Replace a Fire Alarm System?

fire-alarm-in-hallwayAs we mentioned earlier, as a general rule of thumb, fire alarm systems need to be replaced every 10 years from their date of manufacture, but they should also be checked periodically every five years. Even though your fire alarm systems may have only been used a few times in the past 10 years, device malfunction and wear and tear may still occur. Replacing it means replacing the whole device. Regardless of how much or how little it is used, it will pay off to completely replace older fire alarms for new ones.

What to Consider Before Upgrading Your Fire Alarm System

There are potentially significant cost differences when upgrading or replacing your fire alarm system and there are generally different requirements regarding the replacement versus the upgrade of existing fire alarm systems. When replacing a fire alarm system, local code requirements for existing buildings may allow a device-for-device replacement without making any major changes to the functionality of your current system so simple replacement may be an option if your existing fire alarm system meets local accessibility requirements. However, a fire alarm system may need to be upgraded to meet current code requirements if there have been major changes in the building or changes to local ordinances.

How Do I Know if I Need to Replace or Upgrade?

A common question people have in regards to their fire alarm system is whether or not it’s time for a change. For starters, some jurisdictions permit a fire alarm system to remain unchanged if that system met the code that was in place at the time the system was installed. However, a fire protection professional will tell you that you should always question whether a system actually meets the requirement of that older code to perform its intended function. The good news is that there are certain signs that indicate it might be time to upgrade and replace your current fire alarm.

  • If your current component fails, you must replace it as soon as possible to stay up to code and ensure a safe building environment.
  • If you find that you frequently have to call a fire alarm company to repeatedly repair your system, replacing the entire system may save your company more in the long run.
  • If finding replacement parts become nearly impossible, it’s time to upgrade your fire alarm system.
  • If your building recently added any elevators, adjusted room sizes, or made any other modifications, those changes could also require a fire alarm replacement in order to remain code compliant.
  • If you find that your fire alarm system is not code compliant or if small alterations were made to your jurisdiction’s code, you may need to upgrade the system to meet current legislation.

Fire prevention is a serious concern for commercial buildings. If you’re at all worried that your fire alarm system may not be up to standard, then it’s a good idea to call a local professional about replacing or upgrading your current system. An industry professional can help ensure that you get the right type of equipment to protect yourself and your business.

If you are looking to upgrade or replace your fire alarm system, contact the experts at TED Systems. They will be able to evaluate if you just need an upgrade or a new installation.

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