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A hardwired smoke alarm

What are the 3 Types of Smoke Detectors?

It can be frustrating dealing with a smoke alarm that keeps going off every time you burn your toast. But it's worth it. Home smoke detectors have been found to decrease the risk of death in a residential fire by approximately 54%.

By law, every home in Ontario must have a working smoke alarm on every storey and outside all sleeping areas. There are many brands of alarms with many different features, but this blog post will share the three basic options available to keep you and your family safe.

9-volt Battery Smoke Alarms

Battery smoke detectors are standard in many older homes and locations where wiring is inaccessible. They typically run on a 9-volt battery and are constantly powered by it. They can also be mounted virtually anywhere in your home.

Some good rules of thumb for home battery smoke alarms to assure you are protected are:

-Testing the units every 6 months (a great idea is to pair this task with the seasonal time changes!)

-Replacing batteries once per year and especially if you hear chirping. 

-Replacing the whole unit every ten years or at the listed expiry date to ensure the sensor functions properly.

3 types of smoke detectors

Wired Smoke Detectors

As the name suggests, wired smoke alarms are connected to your home's power system. Since 1986, all newly built houses in Ontario must have hardwired smoke alarms installed. Since these require dealing with electrical systems, you must call a licensed electrical contractor to install the units properly.

Wired smoke alarms can also provide another layer of protection to your home. They can be interconnected in your home, so if one goes off, they all will. They continue to provide protection even if power is lost. Wired smoke detectors have a sealed battery installed into the unit with a 10-year lifespan. Unlike a 9-volt battery smoke alarm, the battery in a wired alarm is only used when the power supply is disconnected.

In the case of a false alarm (ex: burning dinner), these alarms cannot be disconnected or have the battery pulled out (which you shouldn’t be doing anyways). So be sure to have proper ventilation in your kitchen and know how to use the silencing feature when the alarm goes off.

Smart Smoke Alarms

Smart smoke alarms work in the same ways as their less intelligent counterparts. They are available in battery-powered and hardwired options. The added benefits of smart smoke alarms are the extra features for you and your home.

Across the board, smart smoke detectors will have associated apps or programs that can send you notifications. They can get smarter than that, though! Some detectors have cameras and speakers, which can provide you with added security and entertainment value. They can also be looped into smart home automation programs and used creatively. For example, if the alarm has a camera, a routine that turns on lights in the evening as you enter a room could be programmed. If you live in a large home and risk not hearing an alarm in a distant room, you can also create programs that set other alarms or lights off across your home to be notified.

The best features of smart smoke alarms are the notifications and monitoring abilities. These features can be serious lifesavers if you have pets or people with reduced capabilities (like older parents or grandparents) at home. Knowing that an alarm has been triggered, monitoring the situation, and calling for help if needed can literally be the difference between life and death.

This is what you need to know to decide on your next smoke detector purchase. For the installation of wired or smart smoke alarms, please reach out using the contact form below. We’ll be happy to serve you and look forward to getting started!

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