Most construction work over the past couple of decades saw major changes in ensuring structural integrity and safety practices. This is where the commercial demand for smoke detectors was on the rise. Nowadays, some detectors are mandatory for any residential or commercial establishment. As spaces get smaller and smaller, the risk of fire hazards increases. This is where smoke detectors come in to provide a warning sign for impending fires. They have gained a lot of prevalence over the last few years, owing to capability to sniff out even the tiniest whiff of smoke. Read on to know where to and how to install a smoke detector.
What is a Smoke Detector?
A smoke detector is an electronic device equipped with sensors that give off warning signals to occupants if it detects any smoke. These are attached to the fire alarm system in buildings and work in conjunction with that. Smaller and more compact smoke detectors have these alarms inbuilt within the unit. Most of the smoke alarms seen in households are battery-powered. The more commercial ones are wired to a backup that uses batteries. The smaller smoke detectors can be easily mounted onto any surface, while the latter requires a complex installation process.
Types of Fire Alarms
- Photoelectric: this type of sensor witnesses a sudden light scattering whenever smoke from outside enters the chamber. This type of sensor can provide an alarm 15-50 minutes earlier before the fire breaks into a smolder.
- Ionization alarms are extremely sensitive and get triggered when it comes in contact with even small particles of smoke. These have a much faster response time. These react about 60-90 seconds faster than a photoelectric one. Since they are so sensitive, it is recommended not to install them near a kitchen or garage.
- Aspirating Type: These are the most advanced smoke detectors available out on the market. They work by taking in a small quantity of air from the rooms around them through the tubing. Then it issues the alarm by analyzing this air.
- Optical Beam Smoke Detectors: These use an inbuilt laser mechanism to identify sources of fire. They can also self-align in less than a minute. They are the most opted for smoke detectors for large commercial spaces.
Where to Install Smoke Detectors in your Home?
- The first step would be to identify and purchase smoke alarms that meet the requirements of the space.
- The main places to install smoke alarms would be near the bathrooms, areas where people would be sleeping, and areas where electronic devices are used. It is also recommended that each house level has at least one smoke alarm.
- If your space cannot accommodate an alarm near the bedroom, opt for placing it near the living room and stairways.
- To install in a basement, it is good to put it near the staircase leading above.
- If a smoke alarm is installed near a kitchen, it is highly possible to go off without any fire. A good idea would be to place it at least 10 feet away from the cooking area to avoid such false alarms.
- To avoid false alarms, mount your alarms quite high on the walls and ceilings. If you are mounting it on the wall, make sure it is at most 1 foot from the top.
- If you have ceilings that are not flat, it is good not to place them at the apex. Rather install the alarm 3 feet from each end of the ceiling.
How to Install Smoke Detector?
Smoke alarm or detector installation takes just 5 simple steps as mentioned below.
- The first step would be to identify what kind of smoke alarm you are installing and the prerequisites for each, if any.
- The next step would be to determine where you want to install the smoke alarm.
- Now, next thing to install your detector would be marking points on a wall or ceiling using a pencil.
- Use these pencil marks as a guideline to drill the holes into the wall.
- Mount the alarm to the mounting bracket and use screws to attach it to the wall tightly.
How to Maintain Smoke Alarms?
- Each manufacturer will provide a set of instructions regarding the maintenance of the alarm.
- Smoke alarms come equipped with a button for testing. Pressing it once a month is considered sufficient to check its viability.
- Smoke detectors often give out indications that the battery is low. If you happen to hear it, replace the entire alarm right away.
- For alarms with replaceable batteries, ensure that they are changed once every year.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to changing the batteries. All smoke alarms do not come with the same type of batteries.
Tips Regarding Fire Alarm System Installation
- It is a good idea to install smoke alarms in every room people would be sleeping in.
- Make sure to replace the smoke detectors when they turn 10 years old.
- It is also recommended to use a combination of photoelectric and ionization fire alarms throughout the house.
- For those short of hearing, there are special smoke alarms available in the market.
- If you are using multiple detectors, they are recommended to be interconnected.
- If there is any chirping noise, replace the smoke detector battery and check, instead replacing the whole unit.
- Also, have monthly checks to test the condition of the alarm.
If you are looking to ensure maximum safety for your home, consider installing a smoke alarm. With electrical fires being an extremely common place occurrence, a smoke detector can help raise the warning signs. These days smoke alarms are getting more and more portable and inconspicuous looking. There are also a wide variety of options when it comes to features. For example, you can opt for special lighting and sound features to make it easier to spot. If you are looking to maximize the safety of your home, then smoke alarms are a good bet.