Household Smoke Detectors: What Kind Do You Need?

Fires are among the most common house disasters all over the world. In the United States alone, there are an estimated 350,000 house fires every year. These fires caused an estimated $7 billion in damages and claimed the lives of over 3,000 people.

In Canada, house fires are one of the leading causes of death due to unintentional injuries. On average, ten people die in house fires every year. Smoke detectors play a vital role in preventing these tragedies. In fact, smoke detectors cut the risk of dying in a fire by 55%.

What Are Smoke Detectors?

These are devices installed in homes to detect the presence of smoke and raise the alarm when necessary. Batteries usually power smoke detectors, but there are also some that are hardwired into the home’s electrical system.

Smoke detectors work by emitting beams of ionizing radiation. These beams pass through the air in the room and are interrupted when smoke particles enter the path of the beams. This triggers an alarm that alerts people in the vicinity that there is a fire.

Home fires involve costly fire and water removal services, 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. Experts recommend having at least one smoke detector on every level of your home, as well as in every bedroom.

Two Types of Smoke Detectors

1. 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.

2. Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

Photoelectric smoke detectors feature a light sensor that is placed in a chamber. Smoke particles reflect the light and cause the alarm to sound.

Photoelectric smoke detectors are better for detecting smoldering fires, such as those caused by burning furniture or electrical wiring. However, they can be more expensive than ionization models.

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, ionization smoke detectors may be a better choice.

Homeowners who live in these regions also have emergency contact numbers of restoration companies, such as, 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. You don’t have 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?

To test your smoke detector, push the test button. The alarm should sound. If it doesn’t, replace the batteries or the entire unit. You should also regularly vacuum your smoke detectors to remove any dust that could prevent them from working properly.

Final Thoughts

A smoke detector is a small but important part of keeping your home safe. By choosing the right device for your needs, you can help ensure that your family is protected 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. This restoration company should also be able to help you with the insurance claim process.