Your home is your sanctuary and it should be a safe place where you can live and relax with confidence. The threat of a home fire is a danger that everyone should consider. Each year thousands of people die or are displaced because of house fires. Having an alert system that warns you at the first sign of smoke can help to save you and your family from injury, possession loss or worse. Not all of these devices are made the same so we have some tips that will help you to know how to choose a home smoke detector that will best meet your needs.
Types of smoke detectors
These devices work through sensors that detect smoke, but they don’t all operate the same way. Ionization alarms are the kinds that ionize the air that sits within the smoke alarm itself and use small amounts of a radioactive element. This creates an electric current. When smoke enters the chamber it disrupts the current and sets off the alarm. This type of alarm is among the most sensitive to small smoke particles like those produced by paper or grease fires and can give you the earliest warning that there may be a fire of this type in your home.
Photoelectric smoke detectors operate through the use of a tiny strobe light and when smoke enters the light area, it disrupts the light and triggers an alarm. These are more sensitive to fires that produce larger smoke particles, such as electrical fires or anything that is smoldering.
The third type of smoke alarm is called a dual sensor alarm. These use both ionization and photoelectric mechanisms to warn of smoke from a fire. They provide the earliest possible warning to both small and large particle smoke elements so you are covered for any type of fire that begins.
Which smoke detector would work best?
Any of the three types of smoke detectors will alert you to the presence of smoke from a fire. Dual sensors cover all of the bases for the earliest possible alert, but you can also use a combination of photoelectric and ionization sensors in the home.
What causes failure of smoke detectors?
In order to work properly, your smoke detector must have a power source. Some units are designed to be hardwired into the electrical system, but the majority operate on a battery. Most are designed to provide an alert when the battery is reaching critical levels. When you hear beeping or see a flashing light button on your detector it is likely time to replace the battery.
What to look for in a home smoke detector
One of the most important things to look for is the UL label. This ensures that the detector has passed rigorous testing and is certified to meet the criteria for the Underwriters Laboratory standards for safety and quality.
Purchase a detector that has an infrared signal for testing remotely. This should be done once a month to ensure that the unit is properly functioning.
The detector should have additional features that make maintenance and control simple. Your smoke detector should be vacuumed monthly to avoid dust and particle buildup that could interfere with its functioning. Look for models that have covers that are easy to remove.
You may need to turn the alarm off in the even of a false alarm. Look for a model that has a convenient switch on and off button so you won’t need to disable the alarm totally when turning the alarm off.
If you are hearing impaired, you should consider an alarm that includes a visual alert as well as the traditional audio alarm. You can also purchase smoke alarms that include carbon monoxide detectors as well.
Final thoughts on choosing the right smoke detector
Consider the size of your home and how many rooms are in it. Make sure that you purchase enough alarms, whatever the type, to cover each part of the house for maximum safety and security. Read the manufacturers instructions for full disclosure on the size of area that each one provides coverage for. With all of these thoughts in mind, you have all of the information that you’ll need to make the best choice for buying the best possible smoke detector for your home.
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