Whether it's for smoke or for carbon monoxide, detectors always seem to be a hot topic.
At a bare minimum, you should have at least one of each working in your home. The key word for any detector is "working."
As with any device (electric or battery) they have to be maintained and replaced according to manufacturer recommendations.
A couple of good questions that we get on a regular basis are where do I place smoke detectors and how many do I need?
Placement of a smoke detector should be either on the ceiling or on an inside wall approximately six inches from the ceiling. Do not place them in the void space where ceiling meets the wall.
How many do you need? The old adage of the more the merrier fits here. As previously mentioned, have at least one, preferably near a sleeping area. The recommendations for smoke detectors are: one on each floor, one in each bedroom and one outside the bedroom area.
I realize this seems like a lot of smoke detectors, but the faster you can detect a fire, the faster you and your family can get to safety.
Fire spreads very fast and in as little as five minutes you may not be able to get out your home.
Remember, you can't smell smoke when you are asleep. It will only make you sleep deeper until you lose consciousness.
What type of smoke detector should I purchase?
There are mainly two types of smoke detectors sold. One is an Ionized detector and the other is a photoelectric.
Ionization detectors are more effective for fires that have active flames, photoelectric detectors are better for alerting people of fires that are smoldering. For instance, when a lit cigarette falls in between a couch cushion, the smoldering fire could fill the home with dangerous gases before flames are visible.
A photoelectric type of alarm is generally more responsive to a flaming fire, according to the NFPA. An example of a flaming fire would include a house fire that started when a candle ignites a curtain.
Ionized smoke detectors are the most common, simply because of the cost factor.
As long as they have the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) approval listing, they will be adequate for use in your home. The average lifespan of a smoke detector is 10 years.
Allot of smoke detectors in new residences have electric with battery backup and are interconnected
throughout the house. Meaning when one goes off they will set off the other detectors as well.
Carbon monoxide detectors are very important for every homeowner as well. We highly recommend these in all residences. After all, carbon monoxide is considered the "silent killer" because it has no odor and you cannot smell it. Carbon monoxide is found in fumes produced by furnaces, kerosene heaters, vehicles being "warmed up" in garages, stoves, lanterns, gas ranges, portable generators, and by burning charcoal and wood.
Like smoke detectors, they come in battery or electric, and their longevity is between eight and 10 years.
The recommendation are to have one on each level of your home. A good location is in an area where you spend the majority of your time.
Is there any particular spot on the wall or ceiling?
Carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air, but dispersed evenly throughout your residence as your furnace runs.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are light headedness, headaches and flu like symptoms.
If at any time your smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector goes into alarm; leave the residence immediately and call 911. Emergency crews have portable detectors to help in the detection of carbon monoxide and are trained to find the reason your smoke detector became activated. If you need any assistance or questions, please call your local fire department.
Have a fire safe March.