When was the last time the smoke alarms in your home were replaced? According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) statistics, three out of every five home fire deaths from 2009 to 2013 were in homes with either no smoke detector or a non-operating smoke detector. Smoke detectors are required by law in most states and are a must if you own rental properties or run an apartment complex. 1000Bulbs.com carries the best smoke detectors from top brands including First Alert and Kidde.
Types of Smoke Detectors
There are two types of smoke detectors, each using a different sensing method to detect smoke or fire. Ionized smoke detectors operate by using electrically charged particles to detect smoke. These detectors are best at detecting flaming fires that spread quickly, easily engulfing a room or house in minutes. Flaming fires can be started by a knocked over candle or spilled grease. Photoelectric smoke detectors use light beams to detect the presence of smoke, making them faster at detecting smoldering fires that can fill a room with smoke quickly. These fires may have smaller, less visible flames, perhaps from your Thanksgiving turkey burning in the oven. For comprehensive protection using both detection methods, consider dual ionic and photoelectric smoke detectors.
Microprocessor temperature sensors, or heat alarms, are ideal for areas where a smoke detector might not be suitable such as crawl spaces and laundry rooms. These detectors identify changes in temperature that may indicate the possibility of a fire, and serve as an early detection system when used in conjunction with smoke detectors. Heat alarms sound if the temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit, but can also sound sooner if a rapid temperature increase is detected.
Battery-operated detectors are easy to install, usually needing only a few screws to mount to walls or ceilings. These alarms are dependable only as long as the battery lasts and need to be tested on a regular basis. Hard-wired detectors wire directly into the building’s electrical system, have a battery backup, and are usually interconnected with other detectors in the house. When triggered, all smoke detectors in your home alarm at the same time. Hard-wired detectors are always on and when the power goes out, the battery backup kicks in.
Smoke Detector Placement
Most states require smoke alarms be placed on each floor of homes and buildings. In addition, smoke detectors are recommended in the following:
- Bedrooms and outside of other sleeping areas
- Living Rooms
The ideal place for installing smoke alarms is on your ceilings where smoke and other gases will rise. Wall-mounted smoke alarms should be between 4 to 12 inches below the ceiling. Avoid placing your smoke detectors in areas where temperatures regularly fluctuate. Smoke detectors should not be placed near windows, doors, or other locations where drafts may draw smoke away from the sensor.
Smoke Detectors for Commercial Buildings
The NFPA has found that the majority of fires in offices occur in areas without smoke detectors. Smoke detectors should be placed in every room and hallway of commercial buildings, not just in break rooms with toaster ovens. Smoke detectors should also be used in cubical areas to alert employees to electrical fires. Logs should be kept to show when maintenance is performed and batteries are replaced.
Not sure which would be the best smoke detector for your home or building? Call 1-800-624-4488 today to speak with one of our helpful experts.