Replacing Smoke Alarms – Now it’s simpler than ever to know about a potential emergency at home – regardless of the location. Upgrading your smoke alarms is one of the best investments you can make in your home. Modern day smoke and CO2 alarms can make your life a dream. Modern day smoke detectors and CO2 alarms have a 10 year battery life and can detect particles as small as ions in your home. Modern day smoke alarms don’t “chirp” annually to dive you and your family insane. SOLUTION: change your smoke alarms, and don’t worry about it for 10 years. In fact, you should consider a full blown smoke/ionization detection for your home. Most all smoke detectors installed before 2013 are for the most part , obsolete. For a relatively small overall investment, $700 and up, you can upgrade your home immensely. Call Ted with Plano Texas Handyman at 214-507-3415 for more information and budget prices. Visit our website for more details and full capabilities. In addition, if you are looking for a similar service in California then you could try Home Team Electric (visit company website here), who can also replace your old smoke alarms and make sure your home is alerted if there is a fire. It is important to ensure all your smoke alarms work and are replaced, as will be explained throughout the course of this article.
How often should the smoke alarms in your home be replaced? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. A national survey conducted by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows that nine out of 10 Americans don’t know how often smoke alarms need to be replaced. The correct answer: every 10 years.
As the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week, NFPA is promoting this year’s campaign theme, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years,” to better educate the public about this potentially life-saving message.
“While the public generally knows that smoke alarms play an important role in home fire safety, some smoke alarm messages are not as well understood,” says Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “Not knowing how often smoke alarms need to be replaced – or that they even have an expiration date – are among them.”
According to Carli, that lack of awareness means some U.S. homes may have smoke alarms that have outlasted their full functionality, putting people at increased risk in the event of a home fire. NFPA statistics show that three out of five U.S. home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working alarms.
Key survey findings
- Half of Americans (50 percent) have three or more smoke alarms in their current home.
- Almost one in five Americans who have smoke alarms (19 percent) say the oldest smoke alarm they currently have in their home is 10+ years old.
- Nearly one in five Americans who have smoke alarms (18 percent) are not at all sure how old the oldest smoke alarm they currently have in their home is.
- When asked how often they should replace smoke alarms, nine in 10 Americans (90 percent) did not select the correct answer, which is once every 10 years.
“Working smoke alarms reduce the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” said Carli. “That’s why it’s so important to make sure they’re working properly.”
A smoke alarm’s age can be determined by looking on the back or side of the smoke alarm, where the date of manufacture can be found. Smoke alarms should be replaced 10 years from that date (not the date of purchase or installation). In addition, smoke alarms should be tested monthly, and batteries should be replaced when they begin to chirp, signaling that they’re running low.
Fire departments throughout the U.S. and Canada play a key role in making Fire Prevention Week an annual success by implementing the campaign in their communities; departments throughout North America will be hosting open houses and other local events throughout the week of October 9-15.
For more information on smoke alarms and this year’s Fire Prevention Week campaign, visit www.firepreventionweek.org.
Placement of Smoke Alarms
In a typical home fire, occupants have just minutes to escape. And because smoke in one area may not reach a smoke alarm in another, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends placement of at least one smoke alarm on every level of the home (including basements) and in every bedroom , and outside each sleeping area. The NFPA also recommends interconnection of alarms to provide better whole-home protection than stand-alone alarms. Leading authorities recommend that both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms be installed to help insure maximum detection of the various types of fires that can occur within the home. Ionization sensing alarms may detect invisible fire particles (associated with fast flaming fires) sooner than photoelectric alarms. Photoelectric sensing alarms may detect visible fire particles (associated with slow smoldering fires) sooner than ionization alarms. Replacing Smoke Alarms
Upstairs – Smoke alarms and/or ionization detectors in all bedrooms and hallway, CO2 alarm in common area, a fire extinguisher, and and escape ladder in all bedrooms rooms.
Downstairs – Smoke alarms and/or ionization detectors in all bedrooms and hallway, CO2 alarm in common area, a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
Garage – Smoke alarms and/or ionization detector, CO2 alarm, a heat detector and, a fire extinguisher.
We recommend Kidde smoke alarms which are rigorously tested and are approved for use in any room in the house as specified by the user guide. Some alarms have added features which may make them more beneficial for certain areas. For examples, a model with super-bright LEDs can help illuminate a hallway escape path, or a model with voice warning in a bedroom can reduce confusion by informing of the danger with specific voice messages. Near the kitchen, a model with an intelligent algorithm may help reduce nuisance alarms.
Combination Smoke/CO Alarms
A combination Smoke/CO Alarm makes it easy to provide both types of protection throughout the home. Industry experts recommend a CO alarm be installed on each level of the home – ideally on any level with fuel burning appliances and outside of sleeping areas. Therefore, a combination alarm can satisfy one of your smoke alarm location requirements as well as a carbon monoxide location.
The Kidde Intelligent Alarm combines the detection capabilities of an ionization smoke sensor with that of an electrochemical sensor, which is used to detect CO. Since carbon monoxide is present in all fires, having both detection chambers work together in one alarm is a breakthrough in the fire safety industry. When either sensor notices a potential hazard, it will communicate with the other. Depending on what is detected, the alarm will adjust its smoke sensitivity in order to better discriminate between a real hazard and a false one. This constant communication enhances the alarm’s overall performance in all fires, and significantly reduces the potential for a nuisance alarm. Fire Safety For Your Home.
Heat alarms are not suitable for fire detection by themselves, and must be used as part of a smoke alarm system. In some areas of the house, it may be beneficial to use a heat alarm that senses fire by air temperature, rather than a smoke alarm that senses particles in the air. The installation of heat alarms in attics, furnace rooms or garages is recommended, since these locations occasionally experience conditions that can result in improper operation of smoke alarms. Heat Alarms are designed to alarm when presented with a certain temperature at the alarm. They will not react to smoke and should not be used to replace smoke alarms, but as a supplement to a complete smoke alarm system.
Placement of Fire Extinguishers
Ideal Locations- Kidde has designed some fire extinguishers with features that specifically address these types of dangers. For example, Kidde’s kitchen fire extinguisher has a proprietary nozzle design that allows a broad, dispersed discharge of agent that delivers a high volume, low velocity delivery of dry chemical. This is the only fire extinguisher UL-Listed for residential cooking equipment. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) provides minimum recommendations for the home. Fire Safety For Your Home. Replacing Smoke Alarms
Step 1: Choose Primary Fire Extinguishers (Must-Have)
For your main home protection install a 2-A:10-B-C rated extinguisher on every level of your home – no more than 40 feet apart. This could include locations such as living areas, garages, and workshops.
Step 2: Choose Supplementary Fire Extinguishers (Should Have)
The kitchen is the likeliest place you will have a fire. Protect special locations in your home with a UL rated fire extinguisher.
Every Home Needs Them
Smoke detectors are a must in all homes, and carbon monoxide detectors are needed for any home with fuel-burning appliances such as a furnace, water heater, range, cooktop, or grill. Even those living in all-electric homes should install carbon monoxide detectors, because CO can seep into the house from an attached garage or if a backup heat recovery steam generator is used too close to your living quarters in the event of a power outage.
You’ll need smoke detectors that detect flaming and smoldering fires for each bedroom, with at least one detector installed on each floor, including a finished attic and the basement. You should also have a carbon monoxide detector on each living level, in the basement, and near (not inside) an attached garage. Fire Safety For Your Home.
Ionization Smoke Detectors are best at detecting the small particles typical of fast, flaming fires but in our tests, all tested poorly for detecting smoky, smoldering fires. Ionization units are prone to false alarms from burnt food and steam, so don’t mount them near a kitchen or bathroom.
Photoelectric Smoke Detectors are best at detecting the large particles typical of smoky, smoldering fires but poor at detecting fast, flaming fires. Photoelectric units are less prone to false alarms from burnt food and steam, so you can install them safely around the kitchen or bathroom.
Dual-Sensor Smoke Detectors combine ionization and photoelectric technology to save you the hassle of installing two separate smoke detectors. But you will still need to install carbon monoxide detectors. Fire Safety For Your Home. Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm
Features to Consider
The latest smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have added features to better protect you and your family. Here’s what to consider when tailoring the safest combination of detector options to your household’s needs. Replacing Smoke Alarms
Power Source: Hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors tie into your home’s wiring and require professional installation. Battery-only detectors are simple to install, and they work during a power failure, but most batteries require annual replacement. (Lithium batteries may last the life of the detector.) Plug-in detectors are available, but electric outlets are typically located low on the wall, while the optimal placement for the detector is on or near the ceiling.
Battery Backup: A backup battery for hard-wired smoke and carbon monoxide alarms offers security in case of a power failure. All battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide detectors warn you when the battery is low. Some provide warning chirps, a low battery voice message, or a visual display.
Smart Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: You can link some smoke and carbon monoxide detectors so that all units in the house sound an alarm when any single one is triggered. Some newer homes have wiring already in place to link the detectors. In a home without such wiring, you can buy detectors that interconnect wirelessly. These smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are an important safety feature in a home with multiple levels. A standalone detector may be adequate for a small, single-level home. Fire Safety For Your Home. Replacing Smoke Alarms
Digital Carbon Monoxide Display: This feature displays carbon monoxide concentrations in parts per million, even when the concentrations are below the level that triggers the detector. Carbon monoxide detectors certified by UL must go off at no less than 70 ppm, but as little as 30 ppm can harm heart patients, pregnant women, and children. The display can alert you if the carbon monoxide level is inching up or is higher than usual. Some also show the peak level since they were reset, warning you of any spikes that occurred while you were away. Expect to pay a little extra for this feature: $5 or $10 for standalone detectors, slightly more for smart detectors.
Hush Button: To silence a nuisance smoke detector, pressing a hush button is more convenient than disabling the unit, and it avoids the possibility of forgetting to turn it back on. All the smoke detectors we tested had this feature. Some carbon monoxide and combination CO/smoke detectors can work with a remote control to silence a nuisance alarm.
Fire Safety For Your Home – Now it’s simpler than ever to know about a potential emergency at home – regardless of the location. Upgrading your smoke alarms is one of the best investments you can make in your home. Modern day smoke and CO2 alarms can make your life a dream. Modern day smoke detectors and CO2 alarms have a 10 year battery life and can detect particles as small as ions in your home. In fact, you should consider a full blown smoke/ionization detection for your home. Most all smoke detectors installed before 2013 are for the most part , obsolete. For a relatively small overall investment, $700 and up, you can upgrade your home immensely. Call Ted Plano Texas Handyman with Guide to Replacing Your Smoke Alarm at 214-507-3415 for more information and budget prices. Visit our website for more details and full capabilities. Fire Safety For Your Home. Replacing Smoke Alarms