Life Safety - Smoke Alarms
Feel safe in your home and be protected when it's time to recharge.
We can help you with your homes smoke alarms and life safety system, including...
Installing, replacing and troubleshooting your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide and heat detector.
Provide a review of your life safety system, including fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms, heat detectors and your fire escape plan.
Provide options for what is required and what is recommended. Codes are not the same everywhere. The requirements for your smoke alarm system will depend on your location and the year your home was built or had a major renovation. We will always offer options for the minimum required, but will also provide options for what is recommended and also what's the best we could do.
Warranty and maintenance.
Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Relays For Controls, Visual Aids & Heat Detectors
Heat Detectors & Natural Gas Alarms
Did you know how many different types of alarms there are for your home? It can get pretty confusing. Let's start by discussing the different types of ways the alarms can be powered. Battery only type alarms are the simplest form but don't provide the best protection. Hardwired alarms are the next best thing to battery alarms as there will be constant power to the alarm, assuming there are no faults. If the alarm does lose its power the battery is there for a backup. The best option for powering alarms is a hardwired alarm with a 10-year sealed battery backup. This eliminates the need for battery changes and is helpful in determining when the time will be to replace the alarms. Alarms are required to be replaced every 8-10 years and we are equipped to be your electrician when the time comes.
What about the different types of alarms? There are many choices for alarms. First the two major options you have with smoke alarm sensing technology is Photoelectric and Ionization. Simply put Photoelectric technology helps detect smoldering fires which creates more smoke, and is typically the type required in MA & NH. Ionization technology helps detect flaming fires which is less smoke and if used in a home is usually in addition to a Photoelectric alarm. They also make a dual sensor alarm that uses both Photoelectric and Ionization. Different states and towns will have their own requirements for what they feel is the safest requirement for their citizens and before starting any project we make sure we research the most up to date safety standards.
Aside from smoke alarms you have carbon monoxide alarms, heat detectors, and natural gas alarms. Carbon Monoxide alarms are required for every home and are just as important as smoke alarms. Heat detectors are not always required and will typically be required if you have an attached garage and in some cases if you have an accessible attic space or in some kitchens. There was a major heat detector recall by Edwards that you should be aware of and below is a link and pdf if you'd like to review it. As of right now, and the locations we have serviced, Natural Gas alarms are not required yet but the added benefit may be worth it for some, especially people who have issues with their sense of smell.
In our experience, the number one reason people in Massachusetts call us to get their smoke alarms replaced is because they are selling their home and the fire department requires an inspection be passed before the sale and transfer of a home can be completed. It's best if the problems with the smoke alarms can be found before the fire department inspection to save on additional permit fees and time. Usually the issues found with the smoke alarms is the age. Alarms older than 10 years should get picked up on the smoke alarm inspection, but we've been told by clients that the fire department has required them to be replaced as early as 6 years. Another issue with the fire department inspection may find is a discrepancy between what's existing and what they believe to be required due to when the home was built or renovated last. Other issues may be faulty alarms or not being the proper type. In any event, if you are selling your home, make sure you check your alarms for proper type, working order and of course the age. If you need an electrician to handle a smoke alarm inspection or bring your life safety system up to date, we'd be happy if you contacted us and gave us the opportunity to serve you.
Smoke alarms are required, and strongly recommended, but that doesn’t mean they don’t come with their share of problems…When replacing smoke or carbon alarms, always replace them at same time, don’t mix old alarms with new alarms. When replacing batteries (unless they are 10-year sealed batteries) always replace them all at the same time and use new batteries. False alarms can happen, even with a new professionally installed smoke alarm system. False alarms will happen even more frequently if not all the alarms were installed at the same time, or are not the same brand or were not installed properly. Based on reports from some of our clients and our own personal issues with the fire alarms, they typically will false alarm in the middle of the night…obviously not the best time for that to happen. Manufacturers have told us and other electricians countless times that it could be a spider, another type of insect or dust that gets inside the alarm which triggers the alarm. Smoke alarms are more sensitive than they were in previous years. We hope a day comes that the technology works so well in smoke alarms that false alarms are a thing of the past, until that day arrives, you have manufacturers and electricians working together to provide the best outcome possible. It’s important to remember smoke alarms need to be replaced at least every 10 years, to ensure you are protected and that they are in good working order. Smoke alarms should be tested monthly and cleaned regularly. It can be stressful if smoke alarms or carbon monoxide alarms go off for a false alarm but it’s best to not remove the alarms and lose faith in them. When they go off, treat the situation as if there could be a fire, or a carbon monoxide leak, and follow through with your fire escape plan. Remember some alarms are dual function and detect smoke and carbon monoxide. Don’t assume when you hear them go off that it’s just for smoke. If you are having issues with your smoke alarms and you feel you are getting a lot of false alarms, call us, your trusted electrician or another electrician who you trust to help you with your fire alarm system.
(This may not be a complete list of all recalls for life safety devices)