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Which Home Smoke Detector is Right For You?

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Mr. Restore has helped thousands of families restore their homes in Fort Worth and Amarillo after a devastating fire. Although it is hard to predict when a fire may happen, smoke alarms provide early warnings when a fire begins. They can help prevent injuries and minimize property damage when properly installed and maintained. You must have a smoke alarm in all areas of your home, but the wide selection of smoke detectors available can seem overwhelming. The correct choice will ensure that a fire is detected at the earliest point possible. Mr. Restore is here to help you keep your family, home, and property safe by selecting the right detector.

3 Main Types of Smoke Detectors

Smoke detectors are sold in three different types. It is important to know which type you will need. One may be good for one area of your home, such as the kitchen, whereas another may be good for your upstairs bedrooms. Either way, understanding the different types of alarms will help you prevent dangerous fires and fire damage.

  • Ionization smoke alarms – These are best at detecting small particles from the smoke from fast, flaming fires. Ionization smoke alarms can be triggered by burning food or even shower steam. Expect to get more false alarms if the alarm is placed in the kitchen or near a bathroom, but they will detect trouble fast.
  • Photoelectric smoke detectors – These are best at sensing smoldering fires that have a lot of smoke without many, or any, visible flames. Photoelectric alarms can be set off randomly by dust buildup in the unit.
  • Dual sensor smoke alarms – Both ionization and photoelectric sensors in one unit.

It’s impossible to know which type of alarm you will need for any possible fire situation. For this reason, the USFA recommends using both types of alarms or dual-sensor alarms throughout the home.

Other Features to Consider

There are other factors to consider in addition to the type of smoke detector when making your choice:

  • Power source – There are the options of battery-powered or hardwired into your home’s electrical system, which also has backup batteries in case of a power outage. Battery-only alarms are easy to install. You will need to replace the batteries once or twice a year. Hardwired alarms are recommended and sometimes required by state law.
  • Interconnectability – Some smoke alarms can be linked to all the units in the house. This will let all of them go off if one is triggered. This is important for homes with multiple levels. Newer homes typically have this wiring already in place. You can purchase alarms that will connect wirelessly if your home doesn’t.
  • Silence button – The silence button is a temporary measure. The alarm will go off again if whatever triggered it continues.
  • Light alarms – It is important for anyone who is hearing-impaired to have flashing lights as part of a smoke alarm warning system. Some alarms also have a safety light that provides illumination in the dark.
  • Digital CO display – Some smoke alarms can act as Carbon Monoxide detectors. This is an important part of your home’s overall safety.

Fire Detector Tips

Here are a few simple tips to keep your home safer.

  • Install smoke alarms in hallways, inside bedrooms, outside of sleeping areas, and on every floor. On average, families have less than 3 minutes from the time the first smoke alarm sounds to escape a fire. You will have more time to get out when you hear an alarm.
  • Replace your smoke alarms every ten years. Alarms monitor your home every minute of every day. Their lifespan is not infinite. You should replace it to be safe if you don’t know how old your alarm is.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, test your smoke alarm and replace the batteries as needed.
  • Gently vacuum your smoke alarm every month or so to keep dirt from blocking the sensor.
  • Do not disable a smoke alarm in any situation because it is a nuisance.
  • Do not “borrow” smoke alarm batteries for other things, like toys or radios.
  • Develop a fire escape plan with the family and practice it so that everyone knows what to do when the alarm sounds.

Mr. Restore understands the value of early detection to keep your family safe from fires and encourages everyone to choose their smoke detectors wisely. We are also here if you have suffered from fire damage. Call us immediately after a fire emergency, and we will help you restore your home and get you back to living life to the fullest.