SMOKE DETECTORS: Benefits & Functions

There are several parts of a security system that are incredibly important to have in your business or home to ensure the safety of your friends, family, and customers. Having a smoke detector is one of those pieces of equipment that is both necessary and in most cases required by law. 

But many don’t understand the benefits and true function of a Smoke Detector which is why we are going to go over what exactly they are, the benefits, and how they function to serve you and those you care about. 

Let’s get right into it. 

What are Smoke Detectors?

Smoke detectors are an integral part of the fire alarm system. As their title speaks for itself, smoke detectors are devices that can signal a fire alarm system if there is a presence of smoke. This is usually a key indicator of a fire hazard. 

There are several different types of smoke detectors on the market that detect smoke in different ways. There are also different systems that incorporate smoke detectors to serve different types of buildings. This may be due to the building layout or other reasons to have a specific system in place that best suits that property. 

Why are Smoke Detectors necessary at Home?

Smoke detectors are required by most state laws to have one even in residential properties. This may surprise you but as we will talk about in a later section a smoke detector is not just for the protection of you but also for the protection of those around you. In fact, the current Florida state law requires dual-powered smoke detectors in your fire alarm system. 

Right now each residential property is required to have a smoke detector both inside and outside of each sleeping room in the house. They are recommended to be installed in several spaces throughout the home like the living room kitchen so that they are spread out enough throughout the home. 

But why is this necessary? 

  1. Smoke may not spread as fast as a fire so if you don’t have enough detectors throughout the home, you can present a danger to yourself and those in the home. 
  1. You can also present a danger to your neighbors if you don’t have smoke detectors around as fire can quickly spread through a neighborhood. Specifically in cities and wooded areas. 

Now that we know they are required let’s talk about the different types of smoke detectors and what their differences are. 

Types of Smoke Detectors

There are really two different types of smoke detectors that are used in terms of household and commercial properties. We have the photoelectric smoke detector and we have the Ionization smoke detector. It’s tough to say if one is really better than the other because they have two different methods for detecting smoke. 

Both of these smoke detectors will detect smoldering fires and flaming fires. However, one responds better to the other. 

Ionization

Ionization uses an electric current to detect whether there is smoke or a fire hazard present. This electric current runs back and forth between two charged plates and when the presence of smoke comes in and interferes with that it changes the current thus setting off the alarm. Ionization is said for this reason to detect flaming fires better than photoelectric. 

Photoelectric 

Photoelectric works off of light and when that light is disrupted the sensor is then tripped or triggered and sets off the alarm. This is because the shadow or presence of smoke stands in the way. Smoldering fires are said to be detected faster by a photoelectric than by an iodization. 

How to install and Maintain Smoke Detectors?

Manual worker working on electrical equipment.

We have all been through that time where the smoke detector and fire alarm just keep beeping and don’t seem to stop chirping throughout the night. It’s frustrating and we may not know why. Whether it’s due to low battery or a malfunction it can be difficult to deal with. 

The installation of a fire alarm is incredibly important which is why it should be installed properly by a professional and licensed security team or the fire department. So you know what to expect we can talk about the installation process and then how to maintain them afterward.

Installation 

Installation of a fire alarm system and smoke detectors in your property regardless of whether it is residential or commercial is required to be done by a registered electrician or by a certified firefighter. This is because it is important to have properly functioning smoke detectors that require a bit of wiring to get the job done. A normal installation should not take too long depending on the size of the property you have and likely will already be done for you if you are moving into a new home. Sometimes it just requires updating the system to meet standards that are constantly improving for safety. 

Maintenance

Now taking care of your smoke detector system is different than installing it. You are responsible for changing your batteries or notifying someone when the smoke detector alerts you that something is not right. Often you will be warned with a chirping every few minutes. This is likely due to low batteries but can be a blocked sensor due to dust building up. 

In situations where you don’t think you can fix the issue yourself it is best to contact an electrician again who can help reset the system for you and address the issue that you may have. In most cases, any type of smoke detector system will be able to function without issue and with little maintenance. 

How often should my Smoke Alarm be tested?

Smoke alarm systems have a few different recommendations from the National Fire Protection Agency and the U.S. Fire Administration. It’s good to follow these rules and guidelines as they best protect you and your loved ones. 

  1. You should test your smoke detector monthly to make sure it is functioning properly to alert you if there are any present fires or smoke. 
  1. You should replace your batteries annually even if your smoke detector is not signaling to you that you need to replace them. In rare cases, the smoke detector may have it’s batteries die and the alarm does not notify you.
  1. Smoke detectors in general need to be replaced every 10 years. You can go ahead and call an electrician to come do this for you or your local fire department. 

In general, these are the most important maintenance rules that you should consider regarding your smoke detector. 

How to prevent false Smoke Detector Alarms?

It’s not uncommon to hear of false alarms and smoke detectors getting triggered. If we think back to how a smoke detector works it makes sense for it to be triggered by bugs, debris, dust, or anything else that could go ahead and block the light or disrupt the current. 

To prevent smoke detectors from having false alarms it is important to dust often and clean the smoke detectors. This includes possibly vacuuming them and getting the debris to stir around and get out.

Normally, you can detach the smoke detector from the wall and the part that is wired will remain on the wall. This allows for easy change of batteries or cleaning the system as a whole. 

Smoke Detectors FAQs

While we have a pretty good oversight now into what a smoke detector is and how it functions we still may have some questions or concerns. That’s why this section is dedicated to the most frequently asked questions where it concerns smoke detectors. 

What happens if my power goes out?

Remember when we spoke about Florida requiring a dual-powered smoke detector. This is where this question comes in. Nowadays, while most smoke detectors run on electrical wiring, they also have batteries to back them out. This is because you still want the smoke detector to work if the power goes out or electricity is shut off due to a fire. 

This is where the batteries become very important. The smoke detector will switch to running on batteries which is why the smoke detector will also alert you if your smoke detector batteries are running low. This way you never have to worry about not being alerted if there is smoke or fire present. 

How do I know which smoke detector to get?

This is the question that most people struggle with. One is certainly not better than the other and we can’t really predict what kind of fire or smoke is going to occur if it does. The differences between the two different fire alarms are not much and come down to a matter of seconds between the two. So there really is no wrong choice.

However, if you want to be double safe you can install the two different types of smoke detectors throughout your home to increase your chances of having the safest outcome if there were an actual fire. While it’s not necessary it is a good plan. 

Sometimes these products will even be combined with each other so you don’t really need to choose in the first place. 

Do I still need to alert authorities or does my smoke detector does it for me?

As always the most important thing is getting to safety first. It is always a good idea to alert authorities of the situation if you can from a safe place. Having said that, nowadays most smoke detectors and alarms do in fact alert the right authorities so that they can get to the scene as quickly as possible. This is one of the many great benefits that technology has provided us with all its updates.  

Circle Security Solutions Product Showcase

We talked a few times about having the right people install your smoke detector system. Here at Circle Security Solutions, we can be those guys for you! But further you want to make sure that you are buying the best quality smoke detectors on the market! That doesn’t always translate to the most expensive, which is why our product showcase features some of the best smoke detectors on the market and also at some of the best prices. 

We can be there for you every step of the way from the beginning product choice, to installation, and even the maintenance. That’s why we are proud to serve South Florida and comply with any regulations residentially or commercially!

Safety First

With Smoke Detectors being one of the most important pieces of equipment in your security system it is important as mentioned to get the right people installing your products and more importantly have products that don’t fail you. There are two types of smoke detectors that you can choose from and both work very well in protecting you, your loved ones, and those around you.

It’s important to have a smoke detector installed and more importantly to have a few of them throughout the property. This gives the best coverage around and ensures the safety of everyone. Don’t wait to start thinking about your plan for when smoke is present. Talk to someone today and start the process!