Smoke Alarms

A Ionization Alarms''' ** In an ionization alarm, a harmless radioactive source produces a current. This current can be interrupted by smoke. When this happens, the alarm goes off. ** Best at detecting fires with high flames, such as those caused by flammable liquids. They do not do well with smoky, smoldering fires. ** Generally much less expensive than photoelectric alarms, costing less than $10. * '''Photoelectric Alarms''' ** A photoelectric alarm uses beam of light instead of an electric current to detect fires. When there is enough smoke in the alarm to deflect the beam of light, the alarm goes off. ** Good at detecting smoky, smoldering fires, such as those caused by burning bedding materials. ** Generally more expensive, usually costing around $30. * '''Powering Your Smoke Alarm * '''Battery Operated''' ** If you opt for a battery-operated smoke alarm, you have to be sure to change the batteries every six months. ** A good way to remember is to do it at the same time you reset your clocks for Daylight Savings Time. ** Lithium batteries can act as a backup battery or as the main power source. They are long-lasting and will probably provide power for the life of your smoke alarm. * '''House Wiring''' ** Another option is to buy alarms that are hard-wired into your home's electrical system. ** These alarms can sometimes be networked together, so that if one goes off, they all go off. * '''House Wiring with Battery Backup''' ** The combination gives you the security that even if the power is out, your smoke alarms will still work. * Whichever type of alarm you choose, alarms need to be replaced every ten years or so because the mechanism will wear out over time. * Most newer alarms have the date stamped on them, so you know when they need to be replaced.

Alarm Standards and Features

* Most alarms will come with the following, but it is always good to double-check. ** '''85 decibel alarm''' (or louder). ** '''Chirp warning''' for a low battery. ** A '''test button''' and '''false alarm silence button'''. ** '''Hinged cover''' for easy cleaning excess dust can interfere with alarm function. ** '''Underwriters Laboratory''' (UL) Standard only buy alarms that meet this standard. * Some alarms may have additional special features: ** '''Flashing strobe''' detector'>First Alert Strobe Light SA 100B. They're more expensive than other detectors, priced at around $100. ** '''Emergency lighting''' to help you find your way out of the house in an emergency. ** '''Voice alarm''' some studies have suggested that young children can sleep through your average smoke alarm, but will wake quickly to the recorded sound of their parents. *** Studies have shown that a mother's voice will awake a child even when an alarm does not. *** Check out the KidSmart Vocal Smoke Alarm from the KidSmart Corporation. *** Keep in mind that the KidSmart Alarm is a photoelectric alarm only; consider buying a separate ionization alarm to go along with it. ** '''Combination Smoke and CO detector''' some sources suggest buying a separate CO detector rather than a combination unit because the combined unit is not as effective.

Where to Hang your Alarm

* Do not place a smoke alarm in the kitchen or garage. Cooking fumes and car exhaust are likely to set it off. * Unheated attics and crawl spaces are not ideal for placemat as the temperatures can get too hot or too cold for electronics to function properly. * Be sure to mount the alarm at least three feet from a central air system. They may blow on the alarm and prevent smoke from reaching it. * Alarms should be kept at least three feet from a bathroom door (shower steam may set it off) or a kitchen door (cooking fumes may do the same). * Set multiple alarms interconnected at every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and in each bedroom. Major Manufacturers * First Alert * Firex * Kidde * Family Gard * Fire Sentry * Lifesaver * Sourcingmap

Related Products


International Resources

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