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What You Need to Know About Your Home’s Smoke AlarmsSeptember 2nd, 2021 by
Smoke alarms are an essential safety measure every home should include. And yet, the statistics on home fires serve as a cautionary tale for anyone who doesn’t take smoke alarms seriously.
- 60% of deaths involving a home fire happen in buildings without smoke alarms
- A missing, disconnected or dead battery is by far the number one reason smoke alarms don’t function as they should
- In one study, 87% of children did not have a smoke alarm in the bedroom in which they slept
- Fire-related deaths happen half as often when working smoke alarms are present
While it’s not difficult to install and maintain smoke alarms, too many people overlook this simple precaution.
In this article, we’ll explore what you should look for when shopping for smoke alarms, what it takes to install a smoke alarm, and what you should do to maintain your smoke alarms.
Shopping for Smoke Alarms
As important as smoke alarms are, you might justifiably wonder what you should look for when shopping for them.
First, determine how many you’ll need. Ideally, you should plan to place one in every room in the house, on every level. Do not simply place one in a hallway next to multiple bedrooms instead of placing one in each bedroom.
Also, if you have an exceptionally large room, such as a long family room or recreational room, you may need two smoke alarms in that room.
Next, you’ll choose between ionization or photoelectric smoke alarms. Each type has its own benefits, so we recommend dual-sensor alarms. These incorporate both technologies in a single unit.
Each type detects different kinds of smoke. With both, you’ll be best protected.
Finally, consider whether you need a hard-wired or battery-powered smoke alarm. Battery-powered alarms are easier to install. That said, we encourage you to look into the costs, maintenance and advantages of each before making a decision.
Smoke Alarm Installation
There can be a lot involved with installing smoke alarms in your home, especially if you have several alarms to install. While you could do it yourself, we encourage you to consider having a qualified home service professional perform the installation for you.
When you have a professional install smoke alarms, you can be assured of proper placement and functionality.
This is doubly true if you plan to install hard-wired alarms.
If you choose to perform the installation yourself, be sure to read all the instructions that come with the units you purchase. Double-check to make sure you have enough alarms to cover the critical areas in your home.
Also, take care while actually mounting them.
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Smoke Alarm Upkeep & Maintenance
Far too many deaths occur simply because smoke alarms aren’t maintained.
In order to ensure your family’s safety, there are some important steps you need to take regularly. These aren’t particularly difficult, though you’ll need to be careful if a step stool or ladder is required.
Here are some tips to make sure your smoke alarms stay in good working order:
- You’ll need to test the alarms every month. You can do this by pressing the test button and listening for the beep, indicating the alarm is still operational.
- Change the alarm batteries one to two times per year.
- Even if you think the smoke alarms in your home are fine, you should replace them every 10 years.
It may sound dramatic, but it’s no overstatement to say that smoke alarms save lives.
If you don’t already have smoke alarms installed in your home, we encourage you to address this critical safety measure right away. And if you do have smoke alarms installed, take the time to test and maintain them.
Your safety—and the safety of your family—is well worth it.
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