smoke detector

How Smoke Detectors Save Lives – Home Security and Monitoring

Everything you need to know about smoke detectors

Smoke alarms are a vital part of ensuring your home is a safe environment for you and your family. Learn about how this common household device works and how to safely maintain yours.

What is a fire alarm or smoke detector?

Although the terms are often used interchangeably, smoke detectors and fire alarms are actually different kinds of devices and each is best suited for different environments. Fire alarms are often used in businesses, schools or commercial buildings. They generally sense heat and smoke and do more than just signal that there’s a fire. Many fire alarms come with control panels, sprinkler systems, alarm boxes, transmitter devices and more.

Smoke detectors, on the other hand, are most commonly used in residences, are more inexpensive and have fewer features. The smoke alarm senses smoke and alerts with a noise or a flashing light. We recommend that every room in your home be equipped with a smoke detector.

How do smoke detectors work?

There are several kinds of smoke detectors on the market, including photoelectric, ionization, dual sensor and monitored. Photoelectric uses a light beam to detect smoke, while ionization uses a chamber to determine if there is an increase of smoke in the room. This is the most common kind of detector. The dual sensor uses both photoelectric and ionized methods. A monitored smoke detector will alert your security system (and company) of the danger. Smoke detectors are easy to install yourself and rarely require a professional.

Fire alarms work differently and not only detect heat and smoke, but in some cases, mitigate the issue with sprinklers. Installing a fire alarm in your home generally requires the help of a professional and can be quite costly.

How to test a smoke detector

Most smoke detectors on the market come with an easy, surefire way to test to make sure it works. Just push a button located directly on the detector, and if it beeps, you’ll know it’s working. Because you should test your detectors regularly, you should install them in places where you can easily reach them.

Where to install a smoke detector?

The National Fire Protection Association suggests that smoke alarms be installed in each bedroom, outside sleeping areas and on each level of your home including the basement. In the kitchen, we recommended that your smoke detector is placed at least 10 feet from the oven to avoid false alarms.

Because smoke rises, we advise that all detectors be mounted high on the wall, but not near windows, doors or air ducts.

How long are smoke detectors good for?

Even if a smoke detector is still in working order, it is recommended that they be replaced every 10 years. Older devices lose sensitivity, which means that they could detect smoke less effectively, putting you and your family at risk.

How to repair a smoke detector

If your smoke detector is chirping at you, it needs your immediate attention. Usually, it simply means that you should replace the 9-volt battery. However, it can sometimes indicate that there’s an issue with the device and it’s time to replace it. Repairing a smoke detector is inadvisable — replace it instead.

Connect a monitored smoke detector to your security system

Making monitored smoke detectors part of your security system can provide peace of mind and a low maintenance factor. When you add a monitored detector to your home security system, it will be easy to test and monitor from your LCD keypad and master control panel. Contact Smith Thompson Home Security today to learn more about their security solutions and monitored smoke detection systems today.  

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