Home fires are not unusual. In 2015 alone, there were 365,500 house fires in the United States, resulting in 2,560 deaths and $7 billion in direct property damage, according to the National Fire Protection Association. In Canada, an average of 8 people die every day as a result of fires, with many more sustaining injuries.
With statistics like these, it’s no wonder that smoke detectors are now required in most homes. But with all the different types and brands of smoke detectors on the market, how do you know it is suitable for your home?
What Are Smoke Detectors?
A smoke detector is a device that senses smoke and alerts you in the event of a fire. Smoke detectors can be either ionization or photoelectric, and most are powered by batteries. Some newer models are hardwired into your home’s electrical system.
They work by detecting either smoke particles or heat and can be triggered by anything from a cigarette burning in an ashtray to a large fire.
Home fires involve costly fire and smoke damage restoration, especially if you don’t have insurance that can pay for the damage. Having a smoke detector, which doesn’t cost you much money, can help avoid this disaster.
Two Types of Smoke Detectors
Ionization Smoke Detectors
Ionization smoke detectors feature a small amount of radioactive material that creates an electric current between two plates. Smoke particles disrupt the current when they enter the chamber and trigger the alarm.
Ionization smoke detectors are better at detecting fast-burning fires, such as those caused by flammable liquids or gasses. However, they are also more likely to produce false alarms due to cooking smoke or steam.
Photoelectric Smoke Detectors
Photoelectric smoke detectors have a light source that shines a beam of light into a sensing chamber. When smoke particles go into the chamber, they scatter the light triggering the alarm.
Photoelectric smoke detectors are better at detecting smoldering fires, such as those caused by burning mattresses or cigarettes. They are less likely to produce false alarms than ionization detectors.
How Many Smoke Detectors Do I Need?
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends homeowners to have at least one smoke detector on every level, in every bedroom, and outside each sleeping area. It is also essential to have a smoke detector in the basement.
In addition, consider installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly.
How to Choose the Right Smoke Detector?
Think of the following factors when choosing the right smoke detector:
1. The type of smoke detector (ionization or photoelectric)
Ask yourself what type of fires are most common in your area. If you live in an area with many wildfires, for example, ionization smoke detectors may be a better choice.
Homeowners who live in these regions also have emergency contact numbers of restoration companies, such as PuroClean of Kelowna, in case of fire damage.
2. The size and age of your home
If you have a large home, you will need more than one smoke detector. Additionally, the age of your property can impact the type of smoke detector you need. Older homes, for example, may have electrical systems that are not compatible with newer hardwired models.
3. Whether or not there are small children or pets in the home
If you have small children or pets in the home, you may want to choose a smoke detector that has fewer chances of producing false alarms.
4. Your budget
Smoke detectors range in price from $10 to $100. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a smoke detector, but it is important to get one that is reliable.
5. The power source
Most smoke detectors use batteries, but some newer models are hardwired into your home’s electrical system. If you choose a battery-powered model, make sure the batteries are easy to change.
What’s the Best Way to Test My Smoke Detector?
You must test your smoke detector regularly to ensure it is working properly. Generally, smoke detectors have a test button that you can press to simulate smoke and trigger the alarm.
You should also vacuum or dust your smoke detector regularly to prevent false alarms.
Picking the right smoke detector for your home can be a challenge. There are many factors to consider, including the type of fire that is most common in your area and your home’s size. By choosing a suitable smoke detector, you can help keep your family safe in the event of a fire.
If a fire occurs in your home, immediately call your local fire department. In addition, contact a fire damage restoration near you to begin the cleanup process. Ensure to choose an experienced company by visiting their website to read testimonials.