Which Smoke Alarm is Best for Your Home or Business?

When it comes to protecting your home or business, understanding the basic principles of fire safety is of the utmost importance. And first on that list is establishing a fire protection system. Research shows that early warning is particularly critical in preventing home fires, so equipping your home or business with a trustworthy fire protection system really pays off. Whether you’re shopping for a good fire extinguisher or trying to determine the best smoke detector on the market, equipping your own fire protection system begins with a little bit of research. Fortunately, I did that for you.

Small and inexpensive, the smoke alarm is, by and large, the best way to provide early warning should a fire begin. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), almost half of the nation’s fire deaths occur in the mere four percent of houses without smoke alarms. And a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission further concluded the risk of fatality in homes without smoke alarms to be twice as high as in homes with working smoke detectors. This data proves that a properly installed smoke alarm not only has the potential to prevent injuries and minimize property damage, but can also save lives. But before purchasing the first smoke alarm you see online, it’s crucial to understand how these devices work, how they’re installed, and how different types of smoke detectors on the market differ from one another. After all, not every fire is the same, and some smoke detectors work better to prevent different types of fires. In order to provide your home or business with the clearest, most effective early warning, you need to determine the best type of smoke detector for your environment.

There are two primary groups of smoke alarms, each designed to detect smoke in a unique way. The first group of devices implements ionization sensors capable of detecting tiny invisible fire particles associated with fast flaming fires. They accomplish this by measuring changes in air ionization between two electrically charged plates—when smoke passes between the charged plates and interrupts their electrical current, an alarm is triggered. Photoelectric sensing smoke alarms, on the other hand, are their counterparts, and this type of smoke detector is better at detecting slow, smoldering fires. Equipped with sensors that employ optical technology in the form of a light beam, photoelectric sensing smoke alarms will go off as soon as smoke particles scatter the beam. Though both types of smoke detectors have proven highly effective at detecting their respective fire types, some homes and businesses may opt to install both smoke alarm technologies to maximize chances of early warning. You never know what kind of fire will strike and when. Some smoke detectors even go a step further and incorporate both technologies into a dual-sensor model, thus creating an alarm capable of detecting both fast flaming and smoldering fires. These dual-sensor models are a bit pricier, but, under the right circumstances, could become a life-saving investment.

Still, merely finding the right smoke alarm for your home or business is only the first step in securing a good fire protection system. Consistent maintenance and upkeep are essential to ensuring your smoke alarms are foolproof. An alarming study by the NFPA found that in one of every five homes that have smoke detectors, none of the devices are functional due to dead, missing, or disconnected batteries. Follow these tips to ensure whichever type of smoke detector you choose always works at peak performance:

  • Install multiple smoke detectors/alarms throughout your home, preferably one in every room—research shows that families, on average, have less than three minutes to escape a fire after the first sound of an alarm.
  • Smoke detectors are always on, and should be replaced every ten years to avoid one dying.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when installing/testing your smoke alarm.
  • Replace batteries as needed.
  • Carefully vacuum your smoke detector every month to avoid dust and dirt buildup blocking the sensor.
  • Devise a fire escape strategy so that everyone in your home or company knows exactly what to do when a smoke alarm sounds.

From surveillance systems to smoke alarms, when it comes to securing your business or home, Video and Sound Services, Inc. has everything you need. Call us at (708) 562-6316 to upgrade your system.