A high quality, working smoke detector is essential for the safety and security of your home and family. Smoke detectors can protect your property and save your life, but only if they’re properly installed and well-maintained.
Many homeowners are choosing to have 120vac, hard-wired smoke detectors installed in their homes. 120vac smoke detectors with backup batteries are most reliable. Some units are Ionization Smoke Detectors, which sound an alarm more quickly when a flaming, fast moving fire is in progress. Others are Photoelectric. These sound alarms sooner during smoldering, smoky fires. Finally, Dual Sensor Smoke Alarms are a combination of both Ionization and Photoelectric in one unit. Having a qualified electrician hard wire and/or replace your 120vac smoke detector is critical to ensure proper installation.
Units should be installed on every level of the home. This includes the basement and attic. Since many fires start during the night or early in the morning, while homeowners are asleep, it’s important to locate smoke detectors outside of bedrooms.
Regardless of which model you use, having a fully charged back up battery installed in the unit is critical to its effectiveness. The most efficient and reliable method of remembering to change the backup battery in your 120vac smoke detector is to change it at the same time you change your clocks – during daylight saving time in spring and fall. Testing 120vac unit batteries monthly is highly advised.
If your smoke detector goes off while you’re cooking resist the temptation to disable it by removing the battery. Forgetting to put the battery back in is always a possibility. In the event of a power outage a missing smoke detector battery can have devastating consequences. Instead, disperse cooking smoke with a towel and leave the backup battery in place.
A high quality 120vac smoke detector should last far longer than a smoke detector that operates solely on batteries – between 8 and 10 years. Regular maintenance still needs to be performed throughout the year. Press the ‘test’ button to be sure the unit is working properly. Check for insects, dust and dirt. Vacuum if necessary. Performing routine maintenance will greatly prolong the life of your smoke detector.