The best home fire alarm is loud, reliable and thoroughly tested for safety. Home fire alarms are operated by either batteries or electricity, and each kind has advantages and disadvantages. Both types work by sounding a loud alarm when smoke or flames are detected.
Many fires occur when people are asleep in their homes. For this reason, it is important to have a home fire alarm that is loud enough to wake you. After a fire is present in your home, every moment counts in getting out of the burning building. A good home fire alarm can greatly increase your chances of safely escaping.
A reliable home fire alarm is vital. Make sure that the one you choose is made and tested to a safety standard. The packaging for your home fire alarm should indicate that it meets these standards. You also should test your alarm each month to make sure that it is working properly. If you have a battery-operated alarm, be sure to change the batteries every six months.
A home fire alarm that operates by electricity can be more reliable. They often will have a battery backup that kicks in if the electricity fails. The cost to buy and install an electrical alarm can be significantly higher than a battery operated alarm, however.
There generally are two kinds of home fire alarms: ionization and photoelectric. Ionization alarms are the least expensive and most common kind of fire alarm. They tend to respond quickly to flames. A photoelectric alarm generally responds faster to smoke or smoldering fires.
Both kinds of alarms are effective in alerting you to the presence of fire. Since there is no way to tell in advance what kind of fire might break out in your home, it is difficult to say which type of home fire alarm is best. For ultimate safety, try installing one of each kind in your home.
For convenience, look for a home fire alarm that will make a chirping sound to notify you that a battery is running low and needs to be replaced. Death can occur when a fire alarm is present in a home but is not working when a fire occurs. Both battery-powered and electrical alarms should have a small built-in light that indicates that the alarm has adequate power.
Optimal placement is needed to get the most from your home fire alarm. Safety experts recommend having several alarms throughout your home, including one for each bedroom. Care also should be taken to install the alarms away from areas of high humidity or cigarette smoke, because both of these can activate the alarms.