Smoke Alarms Guide

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It’s crucial to protect your home from potential fires. You never know when one will occur, so it’s best to be cautious and select a smoke alarm. It can literally save lives and your property. It certainly beats the alternative.

Did you know that in 2015 alone, there were over 500,000 structural fires throughout the country? According to the National Protection Association (NFPA), these fires resulted in 13,000 injuries, nearly 3,000 deaths and over $10 billion in property damage. Time-wise, there’s a structural fire roughly every minute and every twenty-six seconds. And every 34 minutes, someone is injured in a fire.

Fortunately, many fire-related incidents can be prevented by a functioning smoke alarm. They provide enough warning for you to react, get out and contact the fire department and other emergency personnel. Keep in mind that to adequately protect your home, you should place a smoke detector in each bedroom, the kitchen, living room and at least one in another room on each floor.

Smoke alarms come in a variety of types and have an assortment of features, so it’s important to know what options they come in. It’s good to know your different options, so that you’ll select the appropriate device for your home.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

Photoelectric smoke detectors sense a particular type of smoke particle. They sense large particles of smoke, which result in smoldering fires.

Ionization Smoke Alarms

Unlike photoelectric smoke detectors, which detect large particles of smoke, ionization smoke detectors detect smaller particles. Smaller smoke particles result in fast-burning fires.

Dual-Sensor Smoke Alarms

Dual technology detectors combine the technology of photoelectric and ionization sensors, so they sense both large and small smoke particles. Since these detect both, many people opt for dual-sensor smoke detectors.
smoke detector


This type of smoke detector requires professional installation. They operate using a 120-volt house current and often have a backup battery incase there is a power outage or other electrical issue.

battery alarm


These systems don’t operate using hardwires, which attach to the house’s electrical system. Instead, they run on simple 9-volt or AA batteries. Battery-operated detectors are easy to manage, since the batteries can be replaced effortlessly whenever necessary. These sensors also don’t require professional installation; they can be self-installed.

Best Smoke Alarms

1. Nest- Protect 2nd Generation Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm

  • Dual smoke and carbon monoxide sensor.
  • Battery-operated with a hardwire option.
  • Split-spectrum sensor. Includes photoelectric and LED hybrid smoke detection.
  • The alarm speaks. It tells where it’s sensing either smoke or carbon monoxide.
  • Sends smartphone alerts. The device sends a variety of alerts, including the battery status and safety history.
  • Early warning signal. This eliminates false alarms due to something such as simple cooking incidents. The sensor sends an alert without triggering the actual alarm.
  • Illuminated pathway. This feature serves as a nightlight, so there’s no stumbling around in the dark.
  • Multi-alarm syncing. When there are multiple alarms present, they sync together for optimal functionality.

2.Kidde Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Voice Warning

  • Dual smoke and carbon monoxide sensor.
  • Battery-operated. Uses AA batteries.
  • Ionization sensor only.
  • Like the Nest device, this one also speaks. It notifies whether it senses fire or carbon monoxide, or if it has a low battery.
  • Smart Hush feature. The alarm can be silenced with the press of the hush button.

3.First Alert SA320CN Dual Sensor Alarm

  • Includes dual Ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors, which detect both flaming and smoldering flames.
  • Battery-operated. Uses AA batteries.
  • Includes smart sensing technology which helps recognize emergency versus non-emergency smoke detection.
  • Mute button allows the alarm to be quickly silenced.

4.USI Electric MICN109 Hardwired 3-in-1 Alarm

  • Provides a 3-in-1 protection against smoke, carbon monoxide and natural gas (methane).
  • Hardwired. Operates using a 120-volt current.
  • Features advanced smoke recognition for faster response.
  • Auto sensitivity feature helps avoid nuisance alarms.
  • System performs a self-diagnosis check to maintain optimal performance.

Whichever product you select, it’s up to you to ensure the life and proper function of your smoke detector. If you select a smoke detector that is battery-operated, make sure you keep track of the battery life. Most devices will begin to chirp once the batteries have reached a critical point. When this happens, be sure to replace the batteries immediately.

Each device features a test button, which you should check on a monthly basis. When working, the smoke detector will emit a siren. Also, be sure to regularly dust the device, ensuring that they are free from dust and lint that could potentially impact their performance.

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