Smoke detectors save lives. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), almost two-thirds of all deaths due to residential fires in the U.S. occur in houses that lack functional smoke detectors. Moreover, two out of three of those people who died were asleep and unaware that the fire was occurring. These statistics highlight the critical importance of smoke-detection technology to alert residents with early warning of a fire while there’s still time to evacuate the house safely.
Just as important as having smoke detectors is ensuring that you have enough of them to safeguard the entire house and that they are installed in the proper location for optimum function. Here are some suggestions to get the job done:
- NFPA recommendations call for installation of one smoke detector inside every bedroom in the house. An additional unit should be in a central hallway on each level of the house and one more should be in the basement, if there is one. By that formula, a two-story, three-bedroom home with a basement should have a minimum of six smoke detectors.
- Wall-mounted detectors are the most common type and should be installed high on a wall, no more than 12 inches from the ceiling. However, avoid mounting them near HVAC wall vents that might blow smoke away from the detector and prevent proper early activation.
- Don’t paint over detectors or put stickers or other decorative items on the face of the detector.
- Interconnected detectors provide the most comprehensive indoor protection. When one detector senses smoke and triggers the alarm, all the other detectors inside the house also sound the alarm.
- Smoke detector batteries (as well as batteries in carbon monoxide detectors) should be tested by pushing the “Test” button on the face of the unit every month. Fresh batteries should be installed at least once a year.
- Note that the functional life-span of a smoke detector is not unlimited. Generally, they should be replaced with new units after eight to 10 years of use.
For more about the selection and installation of smoke detectors, contact the professionals at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors.