The Importance of Having Working Smoke Detectors
When it comes to caring for your property, there are a lot of things that do not require immediate attention (painting, decorating, installing new lighting fixtures, etc.). Installing smoke detectors should be a priority. You’ve invested a lot of time and money into your home, it only makes sense that you should do everything you can to protect it.
Fires can spread throughout a structure much faster than most people realize. The damage to your property, your health, and the lives of everyone involved can be devastating beyond belief. Having an understanding of basic fire prevention practices is important, but sometimes despite our best efforts, fires still occur. Installing smoke detectors is not a task that should be left in the hands of someone who is inexperienced. Smoke detector installation is an investment that could one day save your life or the life of someone you care about.
Common Causes of House Fires
An accidental fire can ignite in your home and spread uncontrollably in a matter of seconds. Most house fires are preventable. Here are some of the most common reasons for house fires in the United States:
Cooking-related fires – One of the most common types of house fires is grease fires that start on a stove or in an oven. You should never leave your kitchen unattended when cooking with oil or food that produces lots of greases. Once grease catches fire, it is extremely hard to put out. Be sure to clean your cooking appliances thoroughly to prevent grease from accumulating over time.
Heating Equipment – Heating appliances like space heaters can cause a fire when they come in contact with fabrics and other flammable items. Electrical heaters with faulty wiring can also set fire to nearby items when the coils become overheated. Never leave the house with your heater on and always be sure to keep flammable materials at a safe distance.
Smoking – Smoking is hazardous to your health in more ways than one, including that smoking is a common cause of house fires. If you decide to smoke, make sure you do it outside and properly dispose of any ashes or remaining cigarettes.
Candles – Candles can help create a festive mood around the holidays, or help you feel relaxed after a busy day at work. Matches and lighters also present a safety concern, especially in a home with children. As an alternative, opt for battery-powered flameless candles which give you the same effect.
Flammable Liquids – Flammable liquids (ie., cleaning products, paint thinners, adhesives, and other hazardous materials) can catch fire or even explode if not stored properly. Never store flammables near any heating source.
Christmas Trees – As a holiday tradition for many families, Christmas trees can also create a major fire hazard. Some people enjoy having real evergreen trees, but as the pine needles dry, they can cause a serious flash fire if ignited by a hot light fixture or flames from a fireplace. Electrical trees are a much safer option but still pose a risk if the wiring is faulty. If using real trees this holiday season, check them regularly to ensure the water reservoir is full and the tree is not becoming too dry. Artificial trees should be regularly inspected to ensure that the light bulb strings are not fraying or showing any other signs of damage.
How Many Alarms do I Need for my Smoke Detector Installation?
By having your smoke detector installation completed by a professional, you won’t have to wonder whether or not they’ve been placed correctly. Electricians have been trained on National Fire Prevention Association regulations and are equipped to install your alarms safely and efficiently.
The size and layout of your home will determine the number of smoke detectors needed throughout the space. Installing the proper number of smoke alarms will ensure that everyone will be alerted of any danger promptly, regardless of where people are within the structure. This is especially important in an apartment complex where the fire can spread quickly and cause widespread loss of human life.
As a general rule of thumb, each bedroom should have a smoke alarm installed. There should also be a smoke detector placed on each floor that contains a bedroom, including basements, hallways, family rooms, and near stairs. You should be sure to include a smoke alarm in the kitchen as well since it is an area of the home where fires often start.
- Smoke detectors should be placed at least within 10 feet of any cooking appliances.
- For basement smoke detector installation, it is recommended to have the alarm placed on the ceiling at the stairs leading out.
- Rooms with high ceilings should have smoke detection installation that is at least one foot down from the ceiling, remembering that smoke rises.
- Spaces that have pitched ceilings should have smoke alarms installed within three feet from the top and no more than four inches from the highest point
If you’re not sure how many smoke detectors you need on your property or where they should be placed, it’s best to consult with your electrician. He or she is knowledgeable and understands local and state regulations regarding the smoke detector installation.
Is it Necessary to Hire an Electrician for my Smoke Detector Installation?
Hard-wired smoke detectors are designed to connect directly to the electrical system. They contain back-up batteries as an additional safety precaution but are powered by the main electrical circuit. So even if you forget to replace the batteries, the smoke alarm will continue to work. Some states now require hard-wired smoke detectors in new home builds. Your electrician will be able to tell you whether or not your home already uses this type of system.
Interconnected Smoke Detectors
Interconnected smoke detectors are another great option. These systems actually communicate with one another. When one alarm senses smoke or fire, all of the alarms will be activated— alerting everyone in the home to 0possible danger. These alarms will also tell you exactly where the smoke is being detected. They can either be interconnected wirelessly or via a hardwire installation.
Both the NFPA and Consumer Product Safety Commission have acknowledged that overall, interconnected smoke detectors tend to be safer. This, of course, is due to their ability to quickly alert all occupants to a potential fire hazard. This can be a critical piece of technology, especially when it comes to larger or multi-level homes. If a fire starts in one area of the home, everyone will know that it is time to get out immediately!
Whether you choose to go with a hard-wired system or an interconnected system, your smoke detector installation should be completed by a qualified electrician. A professional will ensure that the job is done right the first time in accordance with state and local regulations and standards.
Smoke Detector Maintenance and Replacement
Smoke detectors require proper maintenance to ensure that they stay working and are in good health. In some ways, a non-working smoke detector does more harm than not having one at all, since it can create a false sense of security. Batteries will need to be tested occasionally and changed as required.
Some smoke detectors are connected to the alarm system. If that is the case for you, it’s best to reach out to your alarm company to see if they have a technician who can come to your home to inspect and replace any non-working smoke detectors. If your smoke alarm is still under warranty, you may be able to have the manufacturer send you a replacement for any smoke detectors that are failing.
Why Hire an Election to Install My Smoke Detectors?
Smoke detector installation may seem like a pretty straightforward process, but there are a lot of specifics to take into consideration. Hard-wired smoke detectors and interconnected smoke detectors have advanced features that you can easily cause trouble if you’re not experienced. Regardless of which version you decide to go with, it’s best to contact a qualified electrician who can take care of the installation for you. Here’s why:
It’s the law. Smoke alarm requirements vary by state. In Connecticut, smoke alarms are generally required in most residential settings. Hard-wired smoke detectors are required in all new home constructions.
An electrician will ensure your smoke detectors are compliant. Although you can get your smoke detectors from a number of places online and in-store, you shouldn’t just purchase the first device you come across. To ensure safety, your smoke alarm must meet certain regulations as outlined by your local and state authorities.
An electrician knows the most appropriate places to install your smoke alarms. Smoke detector installation isn’t as easy as it seems. You have to make sure they are placed in the right locations, otherwise, you may not be alerted in time if there is a fire hazard. Smoke alarms should ideally be placed in bedrooms, hallways, and living areas. If you have multiple floors in your property, you’ll also need them at the stairs where each level meets.
Contact Safe and Sound Electric to learn more about our smoke detection installation services. We’re the electricians you can trust with your home; proudly serving the Darien, Stamford, Norwalk, and Greenwich, CT areas.