Why Should You Have an Electrician Install Your Smoke Detector?
Residential house fires are tragic and costly. They remain a constant threat to the security and lives of families across the country. SGI Canada estimates that 24,000 residential fires happen every year in Canada, resulting in an average of 377 deaths and over 3,000 injuries annually.
Modern residences are more at risk of fire than ever before. Furniture and clothes are made from a wider variety of materials than in the past, many of which are highly flammable and can spread fire more quickly. Residents also use more electricity than ever before, and faulty wiring or circuits are a frequent cause of residential fires. Plenty of fires are caused by cooking or grilling. Including the threat of fast-spreading wildfires that have dominated the news in recent years, fire poses a nearly daily danger to almost all homes.
Smoke Detectors are Life Savers
That’s why smoke detectors are so important. They’ve been fixtures in North American homes since 1970, shortly after researchers determined they were more effective at alerting families of smoke than heat detectors.
Smoke detectors respond very quickly to the presence of vapors that signal the beginning of a fire. Many modern smoke detectors can pinpoint the exact place where a fire began. They give families enough time to evacuate the premises in short order or extinguish the fire themselves if it’s containable. According to safety experts, a home with a properly working smoke detector is 54% less likely to result in death.
Important Things to Consider About Smoke Detector Installation
To take the most advantage of the safety and operability of smoke detectors, it’s vital to think about how they’re best used and maintained. They may be simple devices that don’t do anything 99.99% of the time, but it’s crucial to make sure they’re reliable for the remaining 0.01%:
There Should Be One Smoke Detector in Each Sleeping Area of the Residence
People spend anywhere from a quarter to a third of their lives in the bedroom, so it makes sense to have a working smoke detector where they exist most of the time. Some authorities strongly suggest putting an additional smoke detector just outside each sleeping area.
There Should Be at Least One Smoke Detector on Every Floor of the House
In Canada, this is a legal requirement. Every level of your home should have a smoke detector. Floors that don’t have sleeping areas should have at least one mounted in or near the living room and family room. If your home has a basement, there should be a smoke detector installed there too.
There Should Be a Smoke Detector at Least 10 Feet From Your Primary Cooking Area
Cooking accidents are a major source of home fires. There should be a smoke detector close enough to your stove and oven to respond quickly, but not so close that it gets triggered every time you cook. For that reason, it’s usually not a good idea to mount a smoke detector right in your kitchen.
Smoke Detectors Should Never Be Placed Near Doors, Windows, Near a Vent, or in Humid Rooms
Drafts or wind can affect the efficiency of a smoke detector and can prevent it from picking up the presence of smoke. Smoke detectors should also be placed in areas where dust or dirt won’t get inside the unit, risking malfunction. In humid rooms, like the bathroom, the smoke detector may get tripped by the presence of steam from hot water. Smoke detectors should be mounted relatively far away from bathrooms.
Smoke Detectors Should Be Interconnected With Your Home’s Electrical Circuit
Smoke detectors offer the maximum amount of protection when they’re all connected to your home’s electrical system. For one thing, doing so will ensure that they’re working all the time – the battery in your smoke detector should only be considered a backup power source. When all your home’s smoke detectors are connected, that means when one of them goes off, so will the rest of them. In some parts of the country, smoke detector interconnectivity is required by law. This is especially important when they’re all interconnected through your electrical circuit; it’s important to make sure they’re all compatible with each other.
Smoke Detector Batteries Should Be Replaced Twice a Year, or Annually at the Very Least
Even though they’re backup power, batteries should always be regularly replaced in case a fire emergency knocks out other power sources. Keep a record of every time they’ve been replaced. Whenever you replace the batteries, it’s a good idea to check the date of manufacture of the smoke detector if you’re unsure. This information is usually stamped somewhere inside of the unit. If you can’t determine the date, you may want to consider replacing the entire unit and writing the date of purchase with a pen somewhere inside the panel. Smoke detectors older than a decade should be replaced as soon as possible, even if they still seem to be working.
Why a Professional Electrician Is Your Best Bet for Smoke Detector Installation
Any major hardware or electronics retailer sells smoke detectors for customers to take home and install themselves. It’s certainly every homeowner’s right to do so. But there are several reasons why smoke detector installation is something even the handiest of homeowners should leave to professional electricians.
The overriding reason is the importance of the function smoke detectors serve. Household fires are quite literally matters of life and death. While homeowners need to take personal safety measures to protect themselves and their families, when it comes to major security installations it’s best not to take chances with amateur knowledge. It’s always better to leave those jobs with trained experts who do them every day of their working lives.
Here are some specific reasons why hiring a professional electrician for smoke detector installation is the best choice you can make:
They’re experienced. Installation of smoke detectors and other electrical units is something professionals do for a living. There’s no substitute for their years of familiarity and practice.
They’re up to speed with codes and regulations. Fire safety codes and regulations are subject to change and flux. A smoke detector installation you just finished a year ago may no longer be compliant with these laws. Professional electricians have to remain updated on these changes to do their job fully and legally, so when you hire one to install a smoke detector, you can be sure that you’re meeting the requirements.
They know exactly how many smoke detectors you need and where to put them. Even if you buy several smoke detectors in the same package, you might not know where to strategically place them for maximum effectiveness — and you still might not have enough. With their extensive experience, professional electricians know exactly how many smoke detectors you need for the best protection. More importantly, they know where they should and should not go.
They know which brands of smoke detectors are the ones to buy. As with any electrical device or appliance, not all smoke detectors are the same. The cheapest ones may operate only on battery power or just barely meet industry standards. But, then again, those on the priciest end of the spectrum might not be practical for your home. Professional electricians know exactly what brands and types of smoke detectors make the most sense for your budget and needs.
They know how to interconnect smoke detectors with your electricity. Again, smoke detectors provide the most security when they’re interconnected through your home’s electric system. With any appliance installation that involves getting into the deep tangle of wires and circuits in-home electricity, hiring a professional is the only way to go. They know how to navigate through the wires without risking an accident or fire.
They’re more cost-effective in the long run. Understandably, many homeowners are reluctant to pay upfront costs for any service they believe they can do themselves. But the cost of hiring a professional electrician to install smoke detectors pays for itself over the long run. They’ll assure your installation is performed correctly the first time, issuing warranties that back up their work. By choosing a professional instead of doing it yourself, you’re not taking chances with an amateur, and you’re minimizing the possibility that your system will need costly repairs later.
They’re great with ladders. Not to question your abilities in self-balancing, but professional electricians stand on ladders every day, working with intricate electrical circuits over their heads. Why risk the injury — or, more likely, the embarrassment?
Smoke detector installation services for the Waterloo Region
Home-Pro Electric has served homes in the greater Kitchener area for more than 20 years. Professional smoke detector and CO2 alarm installations are major parts of our business, and customers have made us the Waterloo Region’s top choice for getting them done. Call us, phone us, or use our online chat to find out more about our smoke detector installation services.