5 things you need to know about Smoke and Fire Alarms

Smoke alarms are a home staple that are required by law. It’s a safety measure that has been around a while, so you might not have given up much thought in the past.

Usually, when you move into a home or an apartment, it’s already installed for you and you don’t really have a say in it. Well, it’s high time that you pay attention to this little device that has saved countless lives.

1. Not all smoke alarms are the same.

Sadly, smoke alarms come in different configurations. In a perfect world, they should all be configured in the safest way possible to keep everyone safe at all times.

But people have been using two kinds of sensors in their alarms, making them more vulnerable to a particular kind of fire. This is quite baffling because why would you want to skimp on something like fire safety?

The first kind is a photoelectric sensor, which detects smoke by the absence of light. So if it’s a smoldering fire, which produces a lot of smoke, then that would dim the room and cause the alarm to go off.

The other one is an ionization sensor, which detects smoke by keeping track of the ionization of the air. So if it’s a flaming fire, which produces less smoke but tends to produce more flames, then that would trigger the alarm.

The good news is, there is such a thing as dual sensors. You can get these two kinds of sensors in one device. This is the one that everyone should get.

2. Smoke alarms are powered in two ways.

One is battery operated and one is wired. A wired smoke alarm is the better alternative because you don’t have to change the batteries once or twice a year.

These wired smoke alarms still have batteries in them, though. This is so you can still be protected even during a power outage.

3. Smoke alarms have an expiration date.

Even if you have the most expensive smoke alarm, you will still need to replace it. Like most things, smoke alarms are not built to last forever.

It’s highly advisable that you change it every 5 to 7 years. This is also one of the first things you should check when you move into a new place.

4. You don’t only need smoke alarms where you think you would need them.

The kitchen - that’s where our minds go to when we’re asked where to install a smoke alarm. What you might not know is that you need smoke alarms in all rooms of the house including your bedrooms and your basement.

5. Painting over your smoke alarm is a no-no.

Some folks think it’s a neat idea to camouflage their alarms with their walls or ceilings. That’ll make them stick out less like a sore thumb.

But what they don’t know is that paint restricts airflow, which greatly limits the alarm’s ability to detect fires. 

Dec 30th 2018

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