Smoke detectors are a vital aspect of home safety. These inexpensive devices can easily end up saving your property as well as your life. Unfortunately, we end up forgetting they even exist on our property. Most people don’t even realise they need to test the smoke detectors after buying a new home. Not only is it crucial that these installations be inspected with regularity, but they need to be installed properly too. Here we are discussing some smoke detector basics and why smoke detectors are a must for every home.
WHY YOU NEED SMOKE DETECTORS
When you install smoke detectors in different areas of your home, it helps in early detection of a fire. The smoke detector siren is an indication of a potential fire in your home. This gives you a head start with checking what is causing the problem and you can take the necessary steps to prevent further damage. In case a fire breaks out in the middle of the night, the siren can alert you before anyone in your home comes to any harm. Aside from this, firefighters are also able to locate the fire very quickly in the home as they will follow the sound of the alarm and focus their attention on extinguishing the fire.
HOW A SMOKE DETECTOR WORKS
Because smoke always rises, a smoke detector is installed on the ceiling; this helps in quick detection. The two common types of smoke alarms used are ionisation and photoelectric systems. The latter uses a beam of light in the sensor to sense the presence of smoke in the immediate surroundings. The beam shoots in a straight line when there is no smoke in the air. In case there is smoke in that area, the light beam gets scattered which sets off the alarm. An inonisation alarm has a chamber which carries a small electrical current. If any smoke enters this chamber, it alters the level of air inside which results in a drop in the current and in turn, this sounds the alarm.
THE INSTALLATION PROCESS
In NSW, it is now a legal requirement that there be at least one smoke detector in each storey of your home. It’s also a good idea to have these devices installed outside bedrooms doors. The smoke detectors should not be placed in the vicinity of rooms that have steam such as laundry rooms, or showers as the steam can cause the smoke detector to go off. Most smoke detectors have to be affixed to the ceiling using double-sided tape. The mount would have to be drilled into the ceiling at the desired spot and the detector is attached to the base using the tape. You need to ensure the batteries are in working order as well.
TESTING YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS
It’s important that you test all the smoke detectors in your home each month because the sensors can become faulty and the batteries can die. Each of these detectors will have a button that you can press to sound the siren manually. Depress this button for just a few seconds to make sure the batteries are still active and that the device is working as it should. In order to test its sensor mechanism, you can spray some smoke from an aerosol can towards the device.