Check required smoke detector locations
Follow the smoke detector safety tips and improve your chances of surviving a fire – don’t you think your life is worth $10.00?
Smoke detectors began their journey into our lives in 1890 (as a fire alarm), and evolved into residential, commercially available alarms in United States type between 1969 and 1971… for $125.00 a piece. During the next few years, technology advanced significantly making smoke detectors much cheaper and available basically for everyone (Smoke alarm history at Wikipedia).
Smoke detector safety tips – available smoke detector types:
- ionization smoke detector responds to invisible by-products of combustion (burning process)
- photoelectric smoke detector responds to visible by-products of combustion (burning process)
- ionization / photoelectric combination devices
Which of the above is better?
Use both (either both types simultaneously or combination units), simply because they respond with different time delay to hazardous conditions, and sometimes that extra few seconds differential might save your life – an independent study performed by newsnet.com concluded that sometimes the ionization smoke detectors don’t give people enough time to escape.
Warning - recall on Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector Combo Alarm – FireX Branded 10000 Series
Warning – recall on Digital Security Controls FSA and FSB Series Smoke Detectors
Warning - recall on Tyco Fire & Security Recalls Smoke Detectors for Replacement
Choose the correct placement for the smoke detector. If you didn’t, read carefully my post - smoke detector location, it is as important as having the smoke detector installed at all. Overdoing it, putting more than required shouldn’t be an issue, so for all of you living in Chicago – overdo it! For a few extra bucks, give yourself more protection and install extra smoke detectors in every bedroom (City of Chicago doesn’t require such installation).
Check with your Local Code Enforcement Division to ensure that you have at least the minimum required in this particular jurisdiction, use my post (link above), this Smoke Detector User’s Guide or one that came with your device to determine proper location.
Smoke Detectors should be mounted high on walls or ceiling (smoke naturally rises up), but never inside so called “dead air space” which is 4″ from the ceiling / wall joint in both directions, and no lower than 12″ from the ceiling if mounted on the wall
Try to mount Smoke Detectors in such manner that you’ll avoid vapors from the bathroom and kitchen, to prevent false alarms
Do not place Smoke Detectors (if possible) near windows, doors and air circulating registers (some jurisdictions are very strict about this), because drafts from those sources might compromise proper response to emergency condition
I explain in detail this next extremely important task in Smoke detector maintenance
The basics are:
If you have a security system attached smoke / fire detection devices, consult with the service provider prior to testing, you don’t want to pay fire dept. for a false alarm
Put this smoke alarm testing reminder on your refrigerator, message board… whatever, just remember to do it often!
You can involve your kids into the smoke alarm testing and have them mark the schedule every week.
- install interconnected devices if possible, the great thing about them is that if one detects smoke, they will all signal it together (there are wireless and hard wired Smoke Detectors that work in such manner)
Change Smoke Detectors every ten years, or earlier if it becomes necessary – they do have a expiration date! This was #10 of my smoke detector safety tips – please, do follow.
This article was written by Dariusz Rudnicki
I'm a retired Illinois home inspector, founder and editor of checkthishouse.com, a blog which attracts around 2 thousand readers daily and is dedicated to answering the many questions of home owners and home buyers. Connect with me on Google+ Find me on Google+ Local