Having smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors can literally save your life. Every home should have them and the good thing is they are pretty affordable. Basic model smoke detectors run about $15 while carbon monoxide detectors run around $35.
Keep in mind, a lot of the new models have more features than the older, more basic ones. If you wanted, you could even get smart detectors which will be able to interact with other smart detectors in your house. This helps ensure that your entire house will stay safe.
Regardless of what type of detector you have, they all will have some sort of alarm to let you know there’s smoke or carbon monoxide. This buying guide will help you find the best detector for you and your home!
Why Your Home Needs Them
Every home should have multiple smoke detectors and homes that have anything that burns fuel, such as a furnace, should have carbon monoxide detectors. Keep in mind, if you have an attached garage or other structure, you’ll want to install a carbon monoxide detector if you run something like a generator or other fuel-powered device.
When deciding where to place smoke detectors, you want to make sure that you have one in each room plus one on each level. Make sure these detectors detect not only flames but also fires that are smoldering. For placing carbon monoxide testers, make sure there is one on each floor and one by the garage.
One thing to be aware of before going out and buying a detector, is that some areas have regulations on how many and what kind you need to have. In addition, some insurance companies offer discounts if your home has smoke detectors.
Basics of Smoke Detectors
Keep in mind that there are different kinds of fires and you want to make sure the smoke detector you buy can detect all of these. Listed below are the different types of detectors you can get, or you can read more from smoke detector reviews.
These are the best for being able to detect small particles that are usually a result from fires that are fast with lots of flames. A few things they aren’t great for are: detecting smoke and fires that are smoldering. These are known for going of from things like burnt food and steam so it’s best not to put it by or in the kitchen.
These are good for detecting fires that are smokey and smoldering but not so great at detecting ones that are fast with lots of flames. These ones don’t often go off from burnt food or steam so they are good to put in and around kitchens.
These combine the two types mentioned above so you only have to buy and install one smoke detector. Keep in mind, you’ll still need to buy and install a carbon monoxide detector since these are only used for smoke and fires.
As of right now, there aren’t any detectors on the market that can detect carbon monoxide and both types of fires. The ones that detect both fire types don’t detect carbon monoxide and the ones that are carbon monoxide and smoke detectors combined don’t detect both kinds of fires.
In the future there might be one put on the market that does all but, as of right now, you’ll just have to get both.
When purchasing detectors, there are a few features you want to look for. Those are listed next.
- Source of power: There are wireless and plug in models. If it’s a plug in model, make sure you can plug it directly into the outlet.
- Battery backup: If it’s a plug in type, you want to make sure batteries can kick in if something happens that makes you lose power.
- Smart detectors: Some of these make it possible to connect them all and all of them will go off if one is triggered. These help increase overall safety.
- Digital carbon monoxide display: It will display carbon monoxide levels in parts per million even if it’s lower than the trigger amount. Certified detectors need to go off at no less than 70 ppm. Keep in mind, levels at 30 ppm can still do some damage to certain people.
- Hush button: these let you quite the detector if it gets annoying or keeps going off for no reason.
- Strobe light alarm: these strobe a light when it goes off and it’s great for people who have hearing disabilities.
- Voice alarms: These will have a voice that go off loudly when it’s triggered. It helps with people who are deep sleepers or might not realize the alarm is going off.
- Safety lights: these are lights that can help you navigate out of the house and could save your life.
- Security systems: some security systems have detectors built right in. These are great if you want everything on one module.
Both types of detectors will only work correctly if the installation was done right and if the batteries are replaced every single year!
What To Know About Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Make sure you install these detectors outside every room where someone sleeps and on each level. If it plugs in, make sure it goes right in an outlet and not an extension cord. If it has a display, make sure it’s installed at eye level so you can see. There are a few places you shouldn’t install one of these detectors and those are: within 5 feet of any appliance, outside, in direct sunlight, garage, anywhere that’s dirty, dusty, or greasy, within 20 feet of anything that uses fuel, humid areas, anywhere where it’s less than 40 degrees or more than 100 degrees, or any type of fans or vents.