There are two basic types of smoke alarms – those providing a visual and/or audible warning inside a house or building, and those wired to a monitored fire alarm system alerting emergency personnel.
Most homeowners have smoke detectors set up to alert everyone in the home; they do not connect to police or fire departments.
The devices sense smoke in the air three different ways:
The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA 72) fire code specifies the correct procedures for smoke alarm installation. The location of the smoke detector is based on where people in a home or commercial building are most likely to hear the alarm.
Laws governing smoke detector placement vary between municipalities. Some require smoke detectors in stairways, main hallways, and garages.
New construction properties have more stringent requirements. The NFPA focuses on improving fire safety standards for new houses and commercial buildings. New smoke alarm requirements include hardwiring alarms to the power supply.
In addition, they must have battery backup. Smoke alarm systems wired into the basic wiring connect to each other, which means they all sound an alarm when one identifies smoke.
Alarms installed in older homes are usually single, battery-operated units. Installing wired smoke detectors can become a complicated remodeling project, that involves removing walls and ceilings throughout the house.
In the United States, smoke detectors are required on every occupied level, including accessible attics. The law also requires installing smoke alarms on each level with a bedroom.
In Canada, smoke alarms are required on each level of a home, but their location is not specified.
It may not be necessary to repair a smoke alarm. Single, battery-operated alarms are not expensive, and most people choose to replace them when they stop working correctly.
However, repairs may be necessary on smoke alarms that are hardwired to the power source and connected to other alarms. This repair work is best suited for a licensed electrician.
Replacing the batteries with either type of smoke alarm is a simple procedure. You hear an intermittent chirping sound when a battery is getting low. As soon as you hear that sound, it’s time to buy and install new batteries.
Fire safety experts recommend replacing your smoke alarm batteries every six months. It’s easy to remember if you coordinate battery replacement with the dates when Daylight Savings Time begins and ends each year.
Sometimes a new smoke alarm battery is not the solution. Deciding to upgrade to a new device will bring you peace of mind as it protects your family.
Mister Sparky electricians have years of experience working with customers to install and replace smoke detectors. Both battery-operated and hardwired smoke detectors can keep you and your family safe. We make sure your smoke alarms are installed and working correctly.