When it comes to fire safety in your home, fire extinguishers are valuable, but smoke detectors are essential.
If you want the security of knowing your family is safe, you’ll need the peace of mind and protection a smoke alarm offers in the event of a fire. Here are 10 interesting and important facts about smoke alarms so you can keep your family safe.
1. There are different types of smoke detectors
There are two main types of smoke detectors: – those that use photoelectric detection – those that use ionization detection
Ionization detectors are more common because they are generally mass produced and typically inexpensive, but photoelectric detectors are fairly affordable as well.
Ionization detectors are best at detecting flaming fires, while photoelectric alarms are usually more sensitive to smoldering fires. The best idea is to either have a combination of the two types of alarms or find one alarm that utilizes both types of detection.
2. You should test your smoke alarm often
Test your smoke alarm at least once a month to ensure it is functioning properly. Most alarms have a test button. Simply hold the button for a few seconds and see if the alarm sounds. If you don’t hear it, or it is faint, it’s time to replace your batteries. Keep your family safe by remembering to check your alarm regularly.
3. You should change your batteries at least once a year
If you don’t change your alarm’s batteries, you’ll likely hear that annoying high-pitched periodic chirp until you do. While the sound is grating, it does an excellent job reminding you when the battery is low, and it is time for a fresh one. If you’re not sure whether or not the battery is dead, test it in a non-safety device.
A good rule of thumb for battery replacement
When in doubt, throw it out. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. It never hurts to give your fire alarm a fresh new battery even if you aren’t sure if the last one is dead. Consider writing the date on the new battery with a permanent marker so when it dies, you can see how long it lasted and know approximately how long each battery will work in your particular alarm.
4. You may need more smoke alarms than you currently have
For the best protection, it’s a good idea to install a smoke alarm in every bedroom and each hallway outside of sleeping quarters. Every floor of your home should have a smoke alarm.
5. You may need to replace your smoke alarms
Experts recommend you change your smoke alarms about every 10 years. When it comes to your family’s safety, you’ll want to make sure your equipment is functioning well and that you are using the latest technology to warn of fire danger.
6. Your smoke alarms should be interconnected
If one alarm sounds, all of the alarms in the home should also sound. If a fire broke out in the middle of the night on the main floor, you would want your family members sleeping in the basement to be alerted as soon as possible so they could quickly escape.
7. It’s best to have a professional install your smoke detector
You don’t want to place your family’s well-being in the hands of just anyone. Get a trained professional to install your fire alarms correctly so you can rest assured they will function properly and alert your family in the event of a fire.
8. Combination alarms are available
Arguably even more dangerous than a fire is carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide gas is odorless and tasteless, yet extremely toxic, and therefore very dangerous. It is produced by vehicles and gas-powered furnaces and unsafe levels of it cause hundreds of deaths each year. If possible, look for a fire alarm that also includes a carbon monoxide sensor.
9. Some smoke alarms come with a monitoring team attached
Look for an alarm that automatically alerts a monitoring team when it sounds. This may come as part of a smart home security package with multiple products to protect your family. Having a little extra protection and instant professional help onboard never hurts.
10. You should not paint your smoke alarm
Most smoke alarms come with a warning printed directly on them that says “do not paint.” Paint can restrict airflow and cause the alarm to have difficulty detecting a fire.