Fire RestorationPublished October 21, 2016Last Updated July 2, 2018

How to Choose the Best Type of Smoke Alarms for Your Home

Every home needs to be equipped with smoke alarms. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, having working smoke alarms in your home doubles your chances of surviving a home fire. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of the home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. When choosing smoke alarms for your home, take into consideration the following factors:

  • The type of smoke alarm:
    • Ionization alarms are better at sensing the smoke particles of fast flaming fires, such as paper fires, but are poor at recognizing slow flaming fires.
    • Photoelectric alarms are best at detecting particles resulting from slow burning fires like electrical fires or those started in bed by a cigarette. Use these types of smoke alarms in the kitchen, since they are less sensitive and won’t be triggered by cooking smoke.
    • Dual-sensor alarms incorporate both ionization and photoelectric technologies, and provide the best protection.
  • If you have a large house, consider hardwired and interconnected smoke alarms, so that when one sounds, they all do. These alarms also have backup batteries in case the power goes out. You can also consider using independent alarms, which are easier to install, but are not connected with the other smoke alarms in the home.
  • Look for the UL label on the packaging to check that the alarm has been tested and certified by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., which ensures the alarm meets the industry standards. In addition, check the manufacture date and choose the most recent ones.
  • Make sure the alarm has a “test” button. To make sure the alarm works properly throughout the year, you need to test it monthly by pushing its “test” button. Also keep in mind that some alarms allow you to test them with a remote control.
  • The alarm should be simple to maintain. Look for alarms with removable covers that allow you to vacuum the unit gently. In addition to vacuuming, you should remove build-up from the outside of the unit with a clean wipe and mild detergent.
  • For individuals with hearing impairments, there are specialized smoke alarms that have a strobe light and/or a vibrating pad. These devices are typically placed under the pillow and can be interconnected with conventional audible alarms in different locations within the home.

To ensure your smoke alarms work properly, test them once a month and replace batteries once a year. Also remember that they should be replaced every 10 years. Check out this article to learn how to test your smoke alarms. For professional fire, water and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.

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