Thursday, 12 April 2012

Why every home should have monitored smoke detectors installed.

In most places, it is code to have hardwired smoke detectors installed on every level in your new home.  This measure has saved many lives I’m sure.  There are still many homes out there that have no hardwired smoke detectors installed.  Many home owners rely on the battery operated smoke detectors you can pick up from the corner store.  These detectors work well, as long as you remember to change the batteries.  As an alternative for the battery operated smoke detectors or as an extra measure of safety, you could choose to install monitored smoke detectors.

What do you mean with a monitored smoke detector?

A monitored smoke detector is a smoke detector that is connected to your home security system.  The detector can be either hardwired or wireless.  This depends on what type of home security system you have.  When the detector is triggered, it not only sounds the buzzer in the detector and the siren, it will send a signal to the monitoring station.  The operator will then dispatch the fire department.

 Why should I have the monitored smoke detector installed?

If you have pets and a fire happens, there is a much bigger chance of them surviving the fire.  If a fire happens when you are not home, the fire department will be dispatched, even if no one hears the alarm.  The faster response to the fire will mean less damage to your home and your belongings.  The small investment you make in the monitored smoke detectors might one day save you a lot of money and heart ache.

What if I set off the smoke detector by accident?

Most security systems will have a delay time programmed between when the smoke detector triggers and when the signal is sent.  This way, you’ll have the time to clear the air and enter your code to stop the alarm signal from being transmitted.

So how do I avoid accidently setting off the smoke detector?

We’ve all been to those dinner parties where the host spends half the time cooking the meal and the other half waving towels at the smoke detectors.  Well, aside from the lack of cooking talent, your host probably shouldn’t have the smoke detector inside the kitchen.

THE TOP 7 ways to avoid false alarms with your smoke detectors

1: Location.  Your security installer should help you determine the best location for each smoke detector.  Keep them out of the kitchen where burning food and smoke can trigger them. 

2: Location.  The garage is not a good place for a smoke detector.  A monitored heat or heat-rise detector is a better fit.  They cost about the same to install and they work fine in dusty environments.

3: Location.  Alright, you get it.  The location is important.  One other location that often causes issues is outside the bathroom door in the hallway.  Steam from the shower can trigger the photoelectric smoke detectors.

4: Cover them for renovations.  When you are renovating in the area where the smoke detectors are installed, you will need to cover them with the plastic cover they come with or use painters tape to seal them up.  As long as you keep the detector protected from the dust in the air.

5: Keep the smoke detector clean.  Simply use the vacuum every now and then to clean the detector.  This will keep the detector from becoming too sensitive.

6: Let the monitoring station know if you are planning on changing the batteries in the wireless monitored smoke detectors.  Even though the signal that is sent when taking the detector off its base is a ‘tamper’ and not a fire signal, it is good practise to warn them anyway.

7:  Replace old detectors.  The useful life time of a smoke detector is about 8 years.  When you’ve had the smoke detector for that long it may be time to retire it.

I hope this post helped you realise the importance of monitored smoke detectors and how they can keep you and your family safe.  Feel free to post stories about this topic in the comment section.

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