In a fire, a few seconds can mean the difference between life and death. That is why a properly installed smoke detector can help you get started. That is why all properties should have smoke detectors installed. These devices can warn you before a potentially fatal fire starts.
A smoke detector, also known as a smoke alarm, detects smoke, heat, or fire and emits an alert signal (a loud alarm noise). Whether the smoke alarm is installed in the hallway, bedrooms, or factory floors, law requires smoke alarms to be installed in commercial and residential rental properties.
What exactly are smoke detectors?
Smoke detectors are an important part of home safety because they automatically detect and warn you about the presence of smoke and can save your life in the event of a fire. While it is easy to overlook the importance of regularly checking and testing smoke alarms, it is critical to ensure that they are properly maintained and installed.
Why Do We Need Smoke Detectors?
Having smoke detectors strategically placed throughout your home allows quick and effective detection. The smoke detector siren will alert you, day or night, to the presence of a potential fire, allowing you to quickly assess the situation and, hopefully, prevent any damage. When placed correctly, the smoke alarm can also assist firefighters in quickly locating the fire in the home.
How Do Smoke Detectors Function?
Because smoke rises, smoke detectors are always installed on the roof for maximum detection. There are two vartiants of smoke detectors available: photoelectric and ionization. Photoelectric sensors detect smoke in the air by emitting a beam of light from within the detector. The beam will travel in a straight line when the air is clear. The light will scatter in the presence of smoke, and the alarm will sound. On the other hand, Ionization detectors employ a chamber containing a small electrical current. The electrical current drops, the alarm sounds when smoke enters the chamber and the level of ions in the air changes.
Each function is useful in different situations, so one is not necessarily superior to the other. It is, however, recommended that one of these functions be installed on each floor of your house and in all of the high-risk areas such as the kitchen and near fireplaces and heating appliances.
Installation of a Smoke Detector
Smoke detectors be installed on each home floor. If doors to rooms are frequently closed, it is best to install a detector; however, smoke alarms should be preferrably placed away from rooms that produce steam, such as bathrooms, because steam can trigger the smoke detector. Most smoke detectors adhere to the ceiling mount with double-sided tape. To properly install a smoke detector, drill the mount into the ceiling and then attach the smoke detector to the sticky mount.
Tips for Smoke Alarm Maintenance
It is critical to test and clean your smoke alarms regularly to ensure they are functioning properly. Regular maintenance of smoke detectors should include the following tasks:
How frequently should you check your smoke alarm?
Each smoke alarm should be tested once a month to ensure that the battery is not dead and functioning properly. Press the test button till you hear a loud alert tone. If the smoke alarm is difficult to reach, try pressing the button with a broom handle or a long pole. Sometimes, pressing the button again may be required to turn off the alarm.
Cleaning Your Smoke Alarm
Vacuuming smoke alarms at least once every six months is recommended to remove dust and cobwebs. When vacuuming smoke detectors, use a soft brush attachment to clean around and along with each vent.
Keeping Insects Out of Your Smoke Alarm
Using a surface insect spray around your home’s smoke alarms can help prevent insects from nesting inside; however, when spraying around smoke alarms, ensure they are covered to avoid spraying inside.
Changing a Smoke Alarm’s Battery
The battery in the smoke alarm may need to be replaced once a year. When the batteries in most models are low, the detector will emit a short beeping sound every few minutes. You must note that not all smoke alarms have replaceable batteries, so before replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms, consult the manufacturer’s instructions.
When Is It Time to Replace Your Smoke Alarm?
Because smoke alarms monitor the air 24 hours a day, they may begin to malfunction over time due to dust, insects, airborne contaminants, and corrosion. The smoke alarm will have gone through millions of monitoring cycles by the end of ten years, and the components may have become less reliable. Most smoke detectors have an expiration or replace-by date stamped/printed on them; however, if your smoke alarm does not have a date, it should be replaced every ten years.