Features to look for
ionization, or both? Ionization models are good at detecting
fires that burn fast and move quickly, like kitchen grease fires.
Photoelectric models are good for detecting smoldering fires,
such as those caused by a cigarette. You can choose to install
both types, putting each in its best location, or choose a model
that utilizes both ionization and photoelectric sensors.
silence or hush button so you can quickly silence false alarms
caused by cooking smoke.
lights and/or extra loud volume for the hearing impaired.
AC alarms with battery backup and an interconnectivity feature
so that when one trips, all sound an alarm.
at least one smoke detector on each level of the house, including
must be one smoke alarm outside each sleeping area. Code for
new home construction also requires a smoke alarm inside each
bedroom—and that they all be hardwired.
smoke detectors either on the ceiling at least 4" away from
the wall, or high on the wall, 4–12" from the ceiling.
not place a smoke detector in the kitchen where it will
be easily tripped by smoke from cooking.
because it's there, doesn't mean it's working! According to the
National Fire Prevention Association, smoke detectors in about one-third
of the homes that have smoke detectors and experience fires aren't
working. Here's what you can do to help keep your alarms from failing
you in an emergency:
your alarms once a month; that goes for hardwired as well as battery-operated
the batteries at least once a year. Keep spare batteries in the
house so people won't be tempted to "borrow" one from the smoke
out dust and cobwebs on a regular basis.
your smoke alarms every 10 years.
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