Where to place the smoke and heat sensor?
Did you know that 4,000+ Americans die every year from fires? The frustrating thing is that many of these deaths are preventable. As many as 65% of the Americans who die in these fires were victims of a simple mistake. Either a smoke alarm was not installed in their home, or it didn't work. I'm an electrician. I see these smoke detectors in homes all the time. I wanted to do something about this problem, so I wrote this guide.
#1 Check if you have Smoke Detectors where you should
You should have smoke detectors in:
1. Every staircase
2. The kitchen
3. Your basement
4. Your hallways
5. Each bedroom
You also must ensure that each floor in your residence is equipped with an alarm.
#2 Do you Replace your Batteries Every Year?
Most smoke detectors use batteries that are carbon-zinc or 9-volt alkaline. If you hear beeping or chirping coming out of your alarm, the batteries are probably low. If they run out, you lose your fire protection.
Twenty percent of smoke alarms in the US have dead batteries. Test your smoke alarm every month. Press the test button and make sure it beeps at you.
#3 Is your Smoke alarm installed in the right place?
Check every smoke alarm inside your house:
1. It 4 inches from the nearest wall? Your smoke detector will only function best if it is clear from wall joints and wall corners, which can block its access to smoke and heat.
2. Is it roughly one foot or 12 inches away from the ceiling? This point relates to #1.
3. Is it at least 20 feet from heat-generating appliances in your home, such as your stove and your oven? Heat damages electronic devices, such as your smoke alarm.
4. Keep the alarm clear of vents, windows, and doorways. These areas produce drafts. Drafts may prevent your detector from noticing a fire.
#4 Ensure Your Smoke Alarm is a "Dual-Sensor" Alarm
There are two fire types: flaming and smoldering. These types of fires each require a different type of detection system, and some alarms only have one kind. Dual-sensing alarms are the way to go. They will detect either type of fire.
#5 Swap Out Your Old Smoke Detector after 10 Years The NFPA (National Fire Prevention Agency) says smoke detectors should be replaced once every ten years to ensure the electronics still work. Think about your iPod or Xbox--how well will it be working after ten years? All electronics are built like this.
#6 Clean your Smoke Alarms Regularly Smoke detectors need to be cleaned and dusted at regular intervals. Otherwise, they may malfunction.
Clean the flies, dust, and any other foreign matter out of the alarm on a regular basis. Also, you must NOT paint a smoke detector, as it covers the alarm's critical sensors and prevents them from working.
If your smoke detector is missing a cover, replace it. Covers protect the electronics inside your smoke detector. When it is exposed to the environment, these parts can malfunction due to impact or weather.
#7 Hard-Wire/Interconnect your Smoke Alarms Fires often start in one area of the home and spread quickly. If your smoke detectors are interconnected, when one goes off, they all go off. This may give you the extra time to rescue your family when a fire spreads quickly.
#8 Use other peoples reviews to identify the best models
Often times we get focused on the problem and don't think to ask for help. Why not use hundreds or even thousands of other peoples opinions / reviews to identify the top rated smoke detectors? Simply by checking online marketplaces or review sites you will be able to find a ton of people who have already tested the products, and let you know which one was best for them.
According to the NFPA, all families should hard-wire and interconnect all their alarms. However, this is not easy work. Consider hiring an electrical contractor to do it for you.