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Smoke Alarm & Smoke Detector Installation
There are several different types of smoke detectors available on the market. Home and business owners should have a basic understanding of the differences prior to choosing devices to replace existing smoke detectors or install new smoke detectors.
While both battery powered and hardwired smoke detectors are available, hardwired smoke alarms are strongly recommended as they provide the highest level of protection. Because hardwired alarms are connected to your home's electrical system, they should only be installed by a licensed electrician.
Smoke detectors, or smoke alarms, provide advance warning of a fire by sounding an audio alarm. For the hearing impaired, smoke detectors that emit a visual alarm such as flashing strobe lights and/or vibrate upon detecting smoke are available.
There are two basic types of smoke alarms: ionization and photoelectric. Ionization smoke detectors are more responsive to flaming fires whereas photoelectric smoke detectors are more responsive to fires that start as a result of long smoldering fires. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) recommends for maximum protection every home should have:
Smoke detectors are an inexpensive way to protect your family by providing early warning in the event of a fire. Early warning of a fire is crucial to save lives and prevent serious injury. The most basic models are easily affordable but provide a significantly lower level of protection.
Only use smoke detectors that display the label of a recognized testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Intertek.
At a minimum, smoke detectors should be located on every floor of your home to ensure adequate warning of a fire. In addition, smoke detectors should be installed:
Do not install smoke detectors near windows, doors or air ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation.
Many homeowners don't pay any attention to their smoke detectors unless the units beep regularly. Other than not having any smoke detectors at all, this is the biggest mistake people make. Monthly maintenance is required to ensure that smoke detectors are functioning properly. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for regular smoke detector testing and maintenance.
Facts and Statistics via Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI).
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