Smoke Detectors Can Save Your Life
One of the most important safety devices in your home is the smoke detector. They are often your best chance at identifying smoke or a fire in your home so you can quickly evacuate.
While having the unit is a great first step, its placement and maintenance are critical to ensure that the device functions correctly when you need it the most. Here’s how to get the most out of your smoke detector.
Where is the Best Smoke Detector Placement?
Every state has different laws that dictate the minimum number of carbon monoxide and smoke detection devices for different types of properties. The National Fire Protection Association requires that homes have at least one detector for each bedroom and one outside of each sleeping area on every level of the house.
As a rule of thumb, you should install smoke alarms in all major areas of the home, including in the kitchen, the basement, and the attic. Smoke detectors can be placed either directly on the ceiling or high on the walls. The best placement for wall-mounted units is about 10″ from the top of the wall, just below the ceiling.
Never place the units near windows, doors, or air vents to keep airflow from disrupting smoke detection or setting off false alarms.
Are All Smoke Detectors the Same?
All detectors are not equal and rely on different detection methods. Most homes use ionization devices, which are effective at detecting hot fires with flames that are rapidly moving through the home. However, new technology has allowed for photoelectric detectors.
This type of smoke detector alerts homeowners to smoldering, slow-moving fires that would not be noticed quickly by an ionization detector, but are still dangerous. Purchasing dual-sensor detectors provide the advantages of each type of alarm and will keep your family as safe as possible.
What Maintenance Do You Need to Perform for Your Smoke Detector?
Most devices only last for ten years before they need to be replaced. Some models will alert you of the need for replacement through beeping, but others will just quietly stop working. When you change the batteries every year, also take note of the expiration date and replace the unit when necessary.
Be aware of dust in your home, as it can be a problem for accurate smoke detection. Give your smoke detectors a light dusting every month. Take them down for a more thorough dusting once a year. Remove the batteries and gently use a microfiber cloth or compressed air to get rid of lingering dust.