Smoke alarms aren’t things we tend to think about very much. We know they are in our house, we test them and clean them when needed, but apart from that, we don’t tend to give them a passing thought.
Since this is the case for many people, we’ve put together a list of five things you didn’t know about smoke alarms.
You may need more than you have
Fires can start anywhere in your home and it is a good idea to have more smoke alarms than what the legislation in your state recommends. Why? Because if a fire starts in the middle of the night, and you’re fast asleep, you may not hear the alarm go off in your lounge room; and by the time you do hear it, it may be too late to escape.
It may seem like overkill, but every floor in your home should have a smoke detector, every bedroom in your home should have a smoke detector, and even those rooms that aren’t bedrooms – office spaces, play rooms etc, should have a smoke detector. These detectors should be interconnected so that if one alarm sounds, they all sound, giving you a better chance of escaping your house.
You should not paint over your smoke alarm
An interesting point, but one that should be pointed out. If you are having a room or your entire house painted, often the painter will use a sprayer to paint larger sections of the house. Any painting should avoid your smoke alarms – paint can restrict airflow, and therefore affect the ability of the alarm to detect a fire.
If you are painting a house, you should remove the unit from the base plate while painting is being done, and replace it as soon as the room has been painted.
The air temperature can affect your smoke alarm
If you’ve ever been woken by your smoke alarm chirping away in the early hours of the morning, it may be due to the temperature. Cooler temperatures can affect the battery recharging, particularly as your alarm gets older. As an alarm ages, the amount of power it produces causes an internal resistance. Temperature drops increase the resistance, and that in turn, can impact how well the battery can deliver the power the smoke alarm needs.
If this happens to you, and your smoke alarms are old, you should replace the units. Otherwise, try replacing the batteries first.
Your smoke alarm may not be the right one for your home
A number of years ago, you could install either photoelectric or ionization alarms in your home. Ionization alarms pick up flames and quick fires; photoelectric on the other hand pick up smoldering fires – the ones that are more likely to happen in your home that you don’t smell straight away. If you haven’t changed your smoke alarm in a number of years, you could still have an ionization alarm installed, which means that your family is at risk should a smoldering fire start.
If it’s been awhile since you changed your smoke alarms, now is a great time to do so. While they may be a little expensive, nothing is more expensive than losing a family member to a house fire.
You should install a heat detector in your garage
A garage isn’t a great spot for a smoke alarm – it’s often dusty, and car exhaust fumes can set the alarm off. But this doesn’t mean your garage needs to be unprotected. A heat detector is a more reliable option in a garage as these aren’t affected by the dust and exhaust fumes, but they will sound if the temperature in the garage gets too high – like in the case of a fire.
Garages are hot spots right? You should install a heat detector that picks up heat over 80 degrees. This means you won’t get false alarms on a hot day, but it will still pick up the heat of a fire. There are many reasons why you should install a smoke alarm in your home. If you’re looking for new alarms, take a look at our self-install range.