Everything you need to know about smoke detectors and their maintenance

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The fire has been man’s best friend and worst enemy ever since it was first discovered. From keeping us warm to its use in the kitchen, a well-tended and contained fire is as useful as it gets. If it ever gets out of control, then you are surely in trouble!

Who can forget ‘The Great Fire of London’ in 1666 that swept through the Central parts of London and caused massive destruction? It originated innocently at a baker’s shop and turned savage within a couple of minutes. A smoke detector is a warning system for you and it warns you ahead of time of an impending fire.

During the daytime when you are up and about, you are most likely not to miss the warning signs of a potential fire but during night time, when you are in a deep slumber, chances are slim that you might be able to detect a potential one!

It is here that a smoke detector comes handy. If you have a smoke detector installed in your home or office, remember that regular smoke alarm maintenance and smoke alarm testing is recommended to ensure that your smoke detector is in a perfect working condition.

Let us take a look at how a smoke detector actually works and how you can maintain it.

Smoke Detectors and How They Work!

Smoke detectors are literally the sniffers in your homes and offices. They can detect smoke even before you are aware of any danger. Modern smoke detectors are connected to the local fire stations, alarming them of a potential fire and limiting the extent of the damage. There are two types of smoke detectors that are currently in use.

1.     Optical Smoke Detector, which is more or less like an electronic eye with slits around it. The moment the smoke enters the inner part of the smoke detector, the circuit within the chamber is activated and sends out a shrill alarm to give you a warning.

2.     Ionization Smoke Detector, which works more or less like an electronic nose. It is less expensive but just as efficient as an optical smoke detector. Its mode of action is based on detecting any unusual chemical particles (smoke) in the room. Just like an optical smoke detector, as soon as these unusual particles reach its inner circuit, an alarm bell rings out to give a warning.

Installing a Smoke Detector

A smoke detector is a life-saver and it should be installed in every room of your house as well as in your office and any other public place. Smoke detectors should be placed at or near the ceiling.

Remember smoke is basically made up of hot gases and hot gases tend to rise upwards, thereby triggering the smoke detector. Regular smoke detector maintenance is important as it ensures that your smoke detector is in a proper working condition.

Maintaining a Smoke Detector

Now that you have installed smoke detectors in your home, it is time to maintain them. Maintaining a smoke detector is not as hard as it may seem and you can easily do it on your own by following these simple tips!

·        Almost all smoke alarms have a test button and it is important that at least monthly smoke alarm testing is carried out by pushing that button.

·        Make sure that you have placed your smoke detector high up at or near the ceiling.

·        Ensure that batteries in all your smoke detectors are regularly replaced. Generally, the rule is to replace them on an annual basis. Keep a record of when you last changed the batteries in your smoke detectors.

·        Smoke alarms or detectors should be installed by a registered and qualified fire safety company so you can have your peace of mind.

·        Cooking fumes can sometimes cause an alarm to ring and to prevent this, you can purchase an alarm with a ‘hush button’ that temporarily reduces the sensitivity of the alarm and lets you cook in peace.

·        Replace any smoke alarms that are 10 years or older, as they tend to lose their efficiency.

·        Make sure you ask your electrician to interconnect all the smoke alarms in your home. This way if one of the detectors is activated, the rest of them are, too!


A Smoke Detector Can Save Lives and Regular Smoke Alarm Testing is A Pre-requisite to Prevent Any Calamity!

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