Smoke alarms are very useful devices for the safety of your home. These detectors detect smoke and warn you in time for you to get out of the house and call the fire department. Before buying the one that will be the best for your house, you should consult an electrician or someone who has experience with it. There are various models and franchises of home smoke detectors on the market and they come with different prices. Make sure that the one you buy is the right one for you and your home.
Types of Smoke Detectors
If we are talking about types of smoke alarms or smoke detectors, they can be hardwired or battery-operated smoke detectors. Speaking about hardwired devices, are powered by electrical circuits. It is good to know that they have a battery backup in case of power cuts/outages. Battery smoke detectors work on their own. They only need AA or 9-volt batteries and lithium batteries recently.
There are different designs of smoke detectors for every part of the house and you can buy different detectors adapted for every space in your home. For example, if you want a smoke detector for your bedroom, this alarm can contain a voice alarm to wake you up in the morning. When we are talking about kitchen smoke detectors, they usually have a system with both a carbon monoxide detector and a smoke alarm.
Where to Install Smoke Detectors?
Smoke alarms can be installed in every part of your house, but their type and distribution across your home are up to you. It is recommended that smoke alarms should be on every level of your house, and in every bedroom. But, if you have a limited budget for smoke detectors, you can choose to install them only in some spaces of the house. But, before you decide where to install smoke alarms, you should consult experienced professionals. They can say what is the best solution for your house. Of course, they will also help you to decide where to position them. For example, it is good to know that the best place to install a smoke alarm is on the ceiling. Why is that so? Because smoke rises, this is the ideal position for its detection. If you can put it in the center of the ceiling, that would be even better. Upper corners of the room should be avoided. If you want to put your smoke alarm on the wall, it has to be at least 4 inches from the ceiling to avoid the so-called “dead air zone”. Another good piece of advice is not to put smoke alarms over stoves or ovens because of the heat or steam they emit.
How to Install a Smoke Detector
Important notice before any electrical work is to switch the power off on the breaker panel. After that, you can start with a smoke alarm installation.
When you decide where you want to install your hard-wired smoke detector, the first step is to install an electric box (also known as a remodelling box). In this way, you will wire your smoke alarm, or just call our team of experts to do that for you.
Preparing the place for installation
Now you can draw an outline on the wall or on the ceiling where your smoke alarm is going to be installed. After drilling a hole in the corner of the outline, cut along the outlined shape. Make sure to check if your electric box fits into the cut-out hole. Be free to use slight force if it is necessary but don’t set it yet.
The next thing you should do is to connect the breaker panel to the smoke alarm and you will do this in a way to run a 14-2 NM cable from the breaker panel to the smoke alarm closest to it. Do not connect the cable to the breaker panel at this point. After the cable reaches the alarm box, pull a little bit of the cable through the knockout electrical box and then connect all of the electrical boxes with the cable but be sure to leave a bit of the cable outside of each box.
The next thing you should do is secure these electrical boxes. First, you will need to expose the inner wires and after that put them in the back of the electrical box. Now is the time to put the box into the hole but you should be sure to do this properly. The next step is attaching ground wires to the electrical box.
The following thing you should do is connect wires. First, strip the insulation from the wires and connect the wires to the cable harness. Be careful to connect wires of the same colour! It is important to remember that the wire harness needs to be connected to the wires from the power source and to the wires from each smoke alarm, too. To be fully protected, use electrical tape and wrap wires. The remaining wire length and wire connector should be carefully placed back into the remodelling box, leaving out the plug-end of the wire harness.
After this step, you should feed the wire harness through the mounting plate and then put the mounting plate into the electrical box. The wire harness should be plugged into the back of the smoke detector. And finally, insert the backup battery in the proper place inside the smoke alarm.
When you finish the previous steps, you are ready to connect your smoke alarm to the mounting plate. Make sure to place it in the right way and check the connection to be sure that it is fully secured on all sides. Now the only thing left to do is to test the smoke detector: check if the power light is on, press the test button and you will hear the test signal of the alarm.
How to Maintain It?
The smoke alarm should be tested from time to time, approximately once a month. Clean it once in a while to remove dust or any other impurities inside it. If you want to do a thorough cleaning, after turning the power off, take off each alarm from the wall or ceiling and clean it with a vacuum cleaner, for example.
Of course, you should change the batteries of your smoke alarm twice a year but if you have lithium batteries, then you are safe for the next 10 years.
When to Call an Electrician?
Installing a smoke detector might be done on your own if you have basic knowledge about electricity. If you are not sure or don’t know how to do some steps in this process, then you should call an electrician. In this way, you will be sure you will not make any mistakes because this process has to be done by someone experienced.