When it comes to the security of your home and family, smoke detectors play an indispensable role in your home monitoring system.

Installing a working smoke alarm in your household dramatically increases the likelihood that you will escape a house fire without injuries. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), almost two-thirds of deaths caused by home fires took place in residences that did not have working smoke alarms.

Smoke detectors are relatively inexpensive, ranging anywhere from $6 to $50. And when you consider that they can help prevent property damage, injuries or even death, it would seem costly not to install smoke detectors in your home.

Some fire departments will even provide reduced-price or free smoke alarms to local residents. You may want to call the non-emergency number for your local fire department and find out if this offer is available in your area.

Types of smoke alarms

Believe it or not, the type of smoke detector you install in your home matters. There are two main types of smoke detectors: photoelectric and ionization.

According to the USFA, each type of smoke alarm detects a different type of fire. Photoelectric alarms are more responsive to smoldering fires, while ionization alarms are better at detecting flaming fires.

The USFA recommends that you install both types of smoke alarms, since either kind of fire could start in your home. You can also purchase dual sensor alarms, which feature both photoelectric and ionization sensors.

Smoke detector installation and maintenance

Some home security providers will install smoke alarms as part of your home security system. But if you decide to opt for DIY security instead, make sure you follow these tips for smoke detector installation:

  • Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your house.
  • The USFA recommends installing smoke detectors both inside and outside bedrooms, since many fires begin at night when most people are asleep.
  • Smoke detectors should be installed high on walls or on ceilings because smoke rises. Closely follow the instructions outlined by the manufacturer.
  • An electrician should install any hardwired smoke detector.
  • Smoke detectors should never be installed near windows or doors; drafts could prevent them from functioning properly.

You should test your smoke alarm once a month to make sure that it is working properly. Replace your smoke detector’s batteries at least once a year, or as often as recommended in the manufacturer’s instructions.

To learn more about how to protect your home and family from fire emergencies, check out home fire safety tips from HomeSecuritySystem.com.