The Importance of Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are one of the most essential safety features for most homes. Your smoke alarm can reduce the chances of someone dying or becoming seriously injured in a fire by 50%. It also cuts back expenses that could be incurred during fire damage including the cost of replacing property and medical bills. Despite this information, there are at least 5 million homes in the U.S. that do not have fire alarms, and the ones that do have them installed often do not maintain them properly to the point where they no longer function.
Smoke alarms work by notifying you of suspicious smoke inside your home including that which might result from food burning, cigarettes and cigars that are not properly extinguished and electrical fires. As soon as this type of smoke is detected, your alarm will alert you, allowing you to extinguish the fire and/or escape the premises before flames spread. In order for this to happen, the smoke detectors must be properly installed and maintained. Read on to find out some basic tips for maintenance and installation as well as some recommended products for optimal fire protection.
Tips for Installing and Maintaining Your Smoke Detector
- Choose a reliable smoke alarm. If the smoke alarm bears the seal of a recognized testing laboratory, it is likely that it is a quality product that will work efficiently.
- Install smoke detectors in every bedroom, outside of every sleeping area and in every level of your home including the basement.
- Interconnect the alarms throughout the house for maximum protection. This way, if one alarm sounds they will all sound. Make sure the alarm is loud enough so that it can be heard in all areas of the home.
- Alarms should be replaced every 10 years. This includes the kinds that use 10 year batteries. Hard wired alarms should be tested often after the 10 year mark to ensure they are still functioning properly. If they are not, they should be replaced.
- Your alarm should give you signs if they batteries are low. In the case of an alarm with a non-replaceable battery, If the alarm chirps, this means the battery is low and the entire alarm should be replaced. Smoke alarms with any other sort of battery should have the battery replaced at least once a year and if the alarm is chirping.
- There are two types of alarms, ionization and photoelectric. And ionization smoke alarm is more responsive to a flaming fire while a photoelectric model is more responsive to smoldering fires. For best protection, both alarms, or alarms that are a combination of the two, should be used.
Recommended Smoke Detectors
If you are in the market for a smoke detector, it is important to be familiar with the best models that are reliable and suited to your application. Here is a list of some recommended models and brands that will help you to make an educated choice when purchasing your equipment. All products listed below can be purchased from premier electrical distributors, USESI and are available through their online electrical supplies as well as their brick and mortar locations.
Silent Knight Sd505DUCT Addressable Duct Smoke Detector and Housing IntelliKnight: This smoke detector is suitable with 5700, 5808. 5820XL and 5820XL-EVS IntelliKnight addressable fire alarm control panels programmed for Hockiki protocol. It incorporates SD505-APS analog photoelectric smoke sensor that can detect particles produced by a smoldering fire. Its metal housing has a 7.5 inch exhaust tube. It features a gray steel black box and a clear plastic cover. Its measurements are 9 1/8 inch x 7.25 inch x 2.25 inch. It efficiently detects and limits the spread of smoke and can withstand a temperature rating of 32 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It is UL listed.
Gentex 9123F Photoelectric Smoke Alarm with Alkaline 9 Volt DC Battery 120 Volt: This smoke alarm has a voltage rating of 120V and a current rating of .045 amps at 60Hz. It measures 6.5 inch Dia x 2.625 inch. It features a photoelectric heat sensor and supports wall/ceiling mounting. It comes with an on-site washing program and 3 position test switch. It uses an alkaline 9V battery and provides a low or missing battery indicator. It allows interconnection of up to six units. Its mounting hardware adapts to standard junction boxes. It withstands temperatures that range from 4.4 to 37.7 degrees Celsius. It is suitable for commercial and residential applications including homes, apartments, hotels and motels. It is UL listed and meets IBC/IFC and NFPA standards.
Kidde 900-0076-01 KN-COPP-3 CO Alarm with Digital Display and Battery Backup 120 Volt AC Nighthawk: This alarm is helpful in detecting carbon monoxide in your home. It will provide a display that shows the level of carbon monoxide it is detecting. The model is white and measures 6.0625 inch x 3.75 inch x 1.75 inch. It features a piezoelectric horn and has a noise level of 85 DB at 10 ft. It incorporates an electrochemical CO sensor for maximum protection and safety. It has an AC plug as well as a 9 volt battery backup that will provide power during outages. It can be mounted on a wall or ceiling and provides easy installation. It can withstand temperatures of 40 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It is UL listed.
BRK PRC 710B Single Station Smoke and CO Combination Alarm with 3 Volt Lithium Power Cell First Alert: This is an ideal detector for residential and institutional applications including sleeping rooms in hospitals, hotels, motels, dormitories and other multi-family dwellings. It has a sleek, low profile design that can complement any décor. It is white in color and measures 5.7 inch dia x 1.28 inch. It has a noise level of 85 DB at 10ft. It incorporates a photoelectric smoke sensor and electrochemical CO sensor to ensure maximum protection and safety. The alarm will automatically reset after smoke clears. It provides an audible sound for indication of end of life, power up, malfunction and low battery. It is tamper proof sealed and uses a 10 year lithium power cell for reliable operation. It supports mounting on wall or ceiling and withstands a temperature of 40 to 100 degrees. It is UL/CSFM listed and meets NFPA standards.
Edwards SC30U -3B SC30U Series Conventional Smoke Detector with CSBU-a Base 14 30 Volt DC: This smoke detector has a CSBU base that is perfect for providing an early response to slow burning and smoldering fires. The detector is white and features a high impact, fire-retardant plastic construction. It measures 4.53 inch Dia x 2.05 inch. It has a photoelectric smoke sensor that can detect particles produced by smoldering fires. It features an LED indicator light and has a voltage rating of 14-30 volts DC. It supports mounting on North American 1-Gang box, deep octagonal box of size 3 ½ inch x 1 ½ inche deep octagonal box of size 4 inch x 1 ½ inch, BESA box, European 1-Gang box and box with 60.3 mm fixing centers. It can withstand temperatures of 32 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It is UL listed.
System Sensor 2W-B Photoelectric i3 Series Smoke Detector 12/24 Volt: This smoke detector has built in remote maintenance signaling and in-line terminals with SEMS screws that mount to octagonal and 1-gang back boxes, 4 square back boxes or direct to ceiling. It has a built in drift compensation that allow the detector to automatically adjust its sensitivity as dirt accumulates. It will give a trouble indication light if it is not calibrated properly or if it is dirty. It is suitable for both retrofit applications. It meets UL, FM, MEA, MSFM, and cETLus standards.
USI MI3050SB 2-In-1 Smoke and Fire Smart Alarm with 10 Year Sealed Battery: This detector comes with a tamper proof sealed battery and provides continuous protection against fast flaming and slow smoldering fires. It features microprocessor intelligence which eliminates nuisance alarms. Its tamper proof design provides a higher level of security and prevents battery removal. It is white in color and features patented universal smoke sensing technology providing the benefits of photoelectric and ionization technology in one alarm. It can be wall mounted. It’s ECO friendly features include a deactivation key that can switch the alarm off and make it safe for disposal. It is ideal for use in homes, apartments and mobile homes. It is UL and ETL listed.
Smoke detectors are a necessary part of keeping your family and property safe. If you are looking for a product that can effectively protect your home, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with recommended smoke detectors like the ones listed above. Keep yourself safe with a smoke detector you can trust!