All of us want to know that we are safe at home in Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Yorkville or Plainfield, and rightfully so: We spend much if not most of our time there, in many cases with loved ones. That is why we need to be mindful of safety statistics.
According to the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2019 report on smoke alarms, almost 60% of residential fire deaths were caused by homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or malfunctioning units (17%).
According to the National Safety Council, more than 400 people die each year from poisoning by carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that strikes without warning. An additional 20,000 people visit the emergency room because of CO2, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.
Properly installed and operating smoke and CO2 detectors are vital to personal safety. We’ll discuss a few basic things you should know.
Smoke Detector Installation
Smoke detectors provide the early warning that allows you to respond to a hazard, whether it be to put out a grease fire on the stove or escape from a larger fire. There are two types of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric.
Ionization smoke detectors have a continuous current between two electrodes. When smoke enters the unit, it interrupts the current and triggers the alarm.
Their advantage is that they respond quickly to a flaming fire. Their drawback is they often can’t distinguish steam from smoke, which can make them susceptible to false alarms.
Photoelectric detectors respond to reduction in light reaching an internal photocell. When smoke enters the unit, it scatters the light and prompts the alarm. They are more efficient than ionization units at detecting a smoldering fire, but slower at identifying a flaming fire.
Because of each detector’s pros and cons, having both kinds in your home helps you ensure greater safety. In addition, most state and local laws now require the installation of smoke detectors in particular locations where people reside.
If smoke detectors are not installed in your house, you should have it done very soon, ideally by a professional.
Smoke Detector Chirping
Before we turn to CO2 safety, we should touch on the topic of a chirping smoke detector.
Ionization smoke detectors will chirp to let us know the battery needs changing or the wiring might have a problem. As the unit ages, the chirp might also indicate the smoke detector will soon need replacement. Many smoke detectors may last about up to 10 years. You check the age of a unit by referring to its manufacturing date on the back.
If any of your smoke detectors are more than eight years old, begin thinking about new installation. A smoke detector installation professional can ensure that the system is set up correctly and that it is compliant with your local safety code.
CO2 Detector Installation
The danger of carbon monoxide poisoning is present at home if we don’t monitor it. Many modern gas appliances produce CO2, and older, less efficient appliances may leak it as well. In addition, carbon monoxide differs from smoke in that it does not rise but rather spreads evenly through a home.
Some common sources of CO2 include gas or oil furnaces, gas dryers, gas stoves, gas water heaters, fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Other origins can be car exhaust, fuel-burning space heaters, and gas or charcoal grills.
If there is a CO2 leak while people are sleeping, they will not be aware unless an alarm tips them off. If the gas concentration is high enough, it can become fatal in minutes. A CO2 detector will alert you to the risk of elevated gas levels.
To ensure personal safety, a detector should be installed on each level of your home and right outside each bedroom. Wherever possible, it should also be installed between knee and chest height. Knee height is close to the level of your face when you sleep. A detector at chest height would keep it beyond the reach of any children or pets.
A carbon monoxide detector installation specialist can help you determine the optimal placement and height of each unit as well as advise you on how to maintain it. The specialist can also inspect your units each year to ensure they’re working correctly.
Your Local Resource for Detector Installation
Trinity Electrical Services helps keep Oswego, Naperville, Aurora, Yorkville and Plainfield homeowners safe through the proper, code-compliant installation of smoke and CO2 detectors. Call us at (630) 499-1492 to find out more about how we can contribute to your safety at home.
Trinity Electrical Services is fully licensed, bonded, insured.