Smoke Alarm Safety

Smoke alarms are proven to save lives by giving those in a fire and early enough alert to safely escape. Some homeowners find smoke alarm safety and installation to be confusing. Many homeowners are unsure about how many smoke alarms are necessary, what kinds are best for their home and where exactly to install them. Smoke alarm maintenance is just as important as installing them.

Basic Smoke Alarm Tips:

1) Smoke alarms are made to detect two kinds of smoke – smoldering and flaming smoke. Not all smoke alarms are made to detect both kinds of smoke. It is best to purchase smoke alarms which detect and alert to both kinds of smoke, called dual-sensing smoke alarms. A good quality, dual-sensing smoke alarm can be purchased for under $30.

2) Get an alarm with convenient features. If it’s in your budget, consider purchasing a smoke alarm with new and convenient features. Some of the features available include a remote control which can be used to turn the alarm off. Other features include an easy- opening battery box and an easy-access test button.

3) Many new homes require hard wired smoke alarms. An experienced residential electrician can easily hard wire your smoke alarms. If you sleep with your doors closed and have young children, consider having your smoke alarms hard wired. This will cause all the smoke alarms in the home to go on in the case of a fire.

4) Research shows that younger children awake quicker to a smoke alarm that uses voice activation. Voice activated smoke alarms use a loud familiar voice instead of an alarm siren. Strobe light smoke alarms are available for the hearing impaired.

Installation Tips:

1) A smoke alarm should be installed in every bedroom, at the top of every stairwell, in the basement, in the kitchen and in hallways. There should be a minimum of one smoke alarm on every level of your home.

2) Smoke alarms are most effective when installed on a ceiling or wall. Ceiling smoke alarms should be installed at least 4 inches away from the nearest wall. Wall smoke alarms should be installed about 12 inches away from the ceiling. Install the alarms at least 20 feet from appliances, such as furnaces and ovens. For pitched ceilings, the alarm should be installed near the ceilings highest point.

3) Smoke alarms should not be installed near doors, windows, or vents as it could cause them to work inefficiently.

Maintenance Tips:

1) Test your smoke alarm monthly by pressing the test button located on the outside of the alarm.

2) Replace batteries at least twice a year. Schedule the battery replacement for the weekends when the clocks are changed. That way, you’ll remember easily.

3) Never paint over a smoke alarm.

4) Replace all smoke alarms after 10 years.

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