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A smoke detector is an early warning device used to signal residents of a home in case of smoke or fire. If smoke is detected, the smoke detector emits loud, high pitched beeps, alerting residents and, if need be, allowing them to evacuate before the home is consumed by fire. Since most house fires occur when the occupants are sleeping, a loud, obnoxious smoke detector is your best bet for survival.
When it comes to life-saving items such as the smoke detector, it's not enough to choose the cheapest model. Instead, it's best to choose the most reliable. Some tips for choosing a smoke detector can be found below.
Your first step is to make sure the smoke detector is UL (Underwriter's Laboratory) tested and rated. This means the smoke detector has been put through extensive testing in all possible scenarios. If a smoke detector box doesn't indicate it's been through UL testing, it probably hasn't been. You'll want to pass on this product. Remember, your family's safety is at stake.
You can choose a hard wired smoke alarm, that is, one that's hooked up to your home's electric system, or you can choose a 9-volt smoke detector, which is battery operated. Choose the smoke detector that works best for your home, but take into account the following considerations. The hard wired smoke detector is more reliable. It provides earlier detection and automatically reverts to a battery backup should the electrical system fail. On the downside, it'll cost you. Not only is a hard wired smoke detector more expensive, but you'll have to pay to have it professionally installed.
The battery operated smoke detector works well enough, however. It's less expensive, but still saves lives. Really, the only downside to a battery operated smoke detector is that you'll need to remember to replace the batteries. A good rule of thumb is to change the smoke detector batteries whenever you change the clock for daylight savings time.
There should be at least one smoke detector on every floor in your home. An even better idea is to have one outside every bedroom, especially if there are smokers or candle burners in the house. It's important to maintain your smoke detector to keep it working properly. Clean it regularly using your vacuum's hose attachment and test the battery often.
At the very least, your smoke detector should be replaced every ten years. They tend not to work as well after this point, so you'll want to make note of the date of purchase and keep it with your important household papers.
Smoke detectors are important, necessary home safety devices. When choosing a smoke detector, be sure to get one with a high rating. You might want to take some time to research the different smoke detectors available and buy the best one you can, even if it's the most expensive. After all, you can't put a price on your family's safety.