Smoke Alarm Facts
One out of five homes that have a smoke alarm are not actually functional due to dead, missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA)
Nearly half of the nation's fire deaths occur in the four percent of homes that do not have smoke alarms (NFPA)
The risk of dying in homes without smoke alarms is twice as high as it is in homes that have working smoke alarms. (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
Soo I was checking my hardwired smoke alarms today and discovered they are all clearly marked "Replace in 2016" Oops. They are also marked to dust/vacuum monthly. Oops again! They were manufactured in 2007 and activated in 2008 so technically haven't hit the 10 year expiration mark yet. Regardless it is time to find some replacements. I'm finding that with new technology and codes, you may want to consider replacing yours as well
The vast majority of homes only have 1 type of smoke detector while today there are new multi-sensor devices available that are far more reliable.
Ionization detectors - Better at detecting fast flaming fires – a flaming fire devours combustibles quickly, spreads rapidly and generates considerable heat with little smoke. More sensitive and often get unplugged due to many false alarms
Photoelectric detectors – Better at detecting slow smoldering fires – A smoldering fire generates large amounts of thick, black smoke with little heat and may smolder for hours before bursting into flames.
Dual ionization and photoelectric - One device that can detect both smouldering and fast flaming fires faster. If you only have the 1 type of detector, you risk losing a lot of precious time to react or escape
Intelligent combo detectors - combines 2 or more sensors so that when any sensor detects a potential hazard they communicate with other sensors to adjust sensitivity to avoid nuisance alarms
When one alarm trips they all sound. Some codes now mandate this is in new builds. If you are asleep you may not hear an alarm from the other side of the house unless they are interconnected. New codes also call for an alarm in the bedrooms
Power source options:
Hardwired 120v - This is apparently code now including battery backup in new builds
9V battery backup - Least reliable, needs to be checked annually
AA battery backup - More efficient detectors, still needs to be checked
Lithium battery - Newest and lasts for the life of the detector (they expire after 10 years)
Costco seems to have the best deal I can find online. You get about 3 top of the line detectors for the price of 2 elsewhere. Not having to file a receipt for 10 years is also handy.
Many new options coming that combine even more sensors into 1 device and integrate into home automation. This will not only improve detection but be able to turn on lights, notify devices and emergencies services etc. Reading the reviews I think this technology is still maturing but the potential is there