What you need to know about fire safety in your home

This Article Courtesy of: MD Home Inspections

October is National Fire Safety Month. According to the National Fire Protection Association(NFPA), approximately 60% of home fire deaths result from homes with no smoke alarms or working alarms with dead or missing batteries. The facts are clear: smoke detectors save lives.

Most homes that we inspect on a daily basis have deficiencies in smoke detector placement, batteries missing, or lack of detectors where they are needed.

Today's tip will help you to determine if your home is up to today's standards when it comes to fire safety. In addition to these tips, make sure to always read the manufacturer's instructions to ensure there aren't any variations specific to your detector for placement, use, or replacement.

What is the problem?

The recommendations for smoke detector placement has changed over time. Many homes we inspect simply lack detectors in some areas because that was the standard when the home was built or detectors were added to the home.

The NFPA recommends placement inside each bedroom, outside of sleeping areas, and at least one on every level of your home at a minimum.

For more information on installation, placement, and testing from the NFPA, click this link.

Types of detectors

Did you know that there are different types of fires? Some fires start out slow and smoldering for a while before they become larger fires, and some start off fast and flaming. 

There are different types of smoke detectors that are more responsive to different types of fires. Our previous informational email discusses the 2 types and how they are used for a safer home: Click on the following link for Smoke Detector Types.

Battery vs Hard wired

Newer homes are built with smoke detectors hard wired into the electrical system. This ensures that the detectors always have sufficient power to be at full sound capacity and also to send a signal to other smoke detectors in the home to sound off.

Most older homes do not have hard wired detectors (you can tell by twisting the detector counter-clockwise to remove it from the base and find out if it's connected to wiring through the ceiling or wall, see photo). Detectors that are not hard wired rely solely on battery power. ALWAYS change batteries when they chirp, regardless of which type of detector you have. Some detectors now come with 10-year batteries (which is the lifespan of many detectors).

Wi-Fi Technology and detectors

As Smart technology advances, it can improve many areas of our lives - including safety. Smart smoke detectors can integrate with phone apps to alert you to a fire when you are away from home. In addition, smart alarms have various additional features, such as wireless connection to other detectors (great if you don't have hard wired detectors), monitoring battery lives, running self-testing on monitors, and more.

Smart detectors can be installed as their own stand-alone system. If you are already using smart technology for other systems in your home, like a security system, consider adding smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that are compatible with your system. They are more expensive than traditional monitors, but you should find that the features outweigh the additional costs. Also, the additional cost is far less than installation cost of a hard wired system in an older home when you add up electrical work and wall/ceiling repairs that would be necessary.

We hope these tips have been helpful. Feel free to share it with anyone you think may benefit from it. 

Call us today at 313-570-1618 and ask about our 2-man inspection service and unique benefits!

Article Courtesy of: MD Home Inspections