Smart Smoke Detector

Smart protection for your home

The leading cause of fires in the US is reported to be residential with an average of 471 home cooking fires per day, as documented by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Installing and maintaining smoke alarms reduces the risk of a house fire by 50%.

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A quick overview of the types of smoke detectors

Smoke detectors can be categorized based on their functionality. Before diving into the components of a smart home smoke detector, let’s run through some of the common types of smoke sensors that are available in the market.

Photoelectric sensors: A lit cigarette left unattended can produce (smoldering) flameless fires that generate a lot of smoke. A photoelectric smoke sensor detects such smoke using infrared light that triggers an alarm when in close contact with smoke particles.

Ionization sensors: In the US, unattended stove-tops, ovens, or any form of open fires are key reasons for home fires as they can produce a large amount of flame with minimal smoke. An ionized smoke detector uses a small amount of radioactive material in between two metal plates that triggers an alarm when the smoke passes through the plates.

Dual sensors: As the name suggests, the dual sensor smoke detectors come with both photoelectric and ionized sensors, prepared to detect both flaming and smoldering fires. a

Multifunctional detectors: Gas stoves, ovens, fireplaces, clothes dryers, and water heaters are possible sources of carbon monoxide- a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas that is released when fuel (such as gasoline, heating oil, wood) has not burnt completely. This gas is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the US. A multifunctional detector not only detects fire but is built to alarm you when it senses a certain level of carbon monoxide in the air.

How does a smart smoke detector work and why is it better than a conventional one?

All smoke detectors are comprised of two main components: a sensor and an electronic alarm. A conventional smoke detector will provide these basic components to protect your home from any fire-related dangers but they are a hassle to set-up, sets off last-minute warnings for a battery change, and are prone to false alarms.

As smoke detectors are mandatory for the security of your family and home, the smart home smoke detectors can conveniently redirect your stress towards safety. Aside from the basic functions (sensing fire, setting off the alarm, calling emergency services), a smart smoke detector has a range of ingenious features that allows you to address the issue quicker and/or remotely resolve it.

  • Having wirelessly interconnected detectors will increase your chances of detecting the original location of the smoke, allowing you to calculate a safer route for evacuation.
  • These devices can be controlled via your smartphone or tablets using apps. So when it comes to the most common issue of false alarms, the smart smoke detectors can immediately be silenced via your phone or voice command.
  • You can alert the fire department even if you are out of town.
  • These devices will notify your phone when the battery charge is low, even though most smart smoke detectors come with 10-year battery life and hardwiring option.

Which smoke detector would be the best for your home?

It's important to assess which elements of a smart smoke detector are important to you so that you are able to transition quickly to your new smart security system. It may seem like more work but it helps you narrow down your choices faster and correctly meet your expectations.

Type of sensor: You will need to check your state's requirement on residential smoke alarm systems so that the smart alarm of your choice meets the expected standards.

Smart home compatibility: This is where most smart smoke detectors vary. If you already have a smart security system set up in your home, be sure to check if the smoke detector of your choice is compatible with your existing system. If you and the family are not home most of the day, confirm if it can send remote notification/updates to your phone. If any member of your family has a hearing impairment, verify that the smart smoke detector can be connected to your smart lights to give the added protection of visual alarms.

Hardwired or battery: Most smart smoke sensors come with both options but it is up to you to if you wish to use battery or connect it into your home power supply. Hardwired systems are not as energy efficient as battery-operated ones can live up to 10 years before the battery needs replacement.

Best location for optimal protection

When placing your smoke alarms around the house, you need to be aware of the best and worst places for mounting them. The goal is to position them in areas where residents can hear the alarm from any part of the house while making sure they are not in a position to trigger false alarms.

 Ideal spotsNot-so-ideal Spots
KitchenHigh on the ceilingNot within 10 feet of cooking appliances
Storage SpaceBasementAttics and garages (use carbon monoxide or heat detectors here instead)
RoomsAll bedrooms, sleeping areasBathrooms
Extra protection/minimize false alarmsConnecting halls or passages outside bedroomsNear fans, windows or vents. Within 4 inches of ceiling corners

Maintaining a smart smoke detector

Setting up smoke detectors means you will be alarmed when something is wrong but what happens after an alarm is triggered?

Gather your family to test the detectors and plan a home evacuation system. Check out the US Fire Administration for suggestions.

Keep fire extinguishers in the kitchen, near the furnace, fireplace, garage, and workshop

Inform the local fire department or check if they have been notified.

In order to make sure the smoke detectors are ready and prepared to alarm you during emergencies, it is important to maintain them.

  • Check batteries because 31% of failure to warn you is because of dead batteries. With smart home smoke detectors, the app will inform you when the battery is low. You can also test your smoke alarm at least once a month to check whether the alarm goes off on demand.
  • Clean the detectors once a year because dust buildup can cause false alarms or block the sensor from when there is an actual smoke to detect.
  • USFA advises homeowners to replace smoke detectors with newer models every 10 years.

What is your state's requirement on residential smoke alarm systems?

Smoke detectors are required in all residential settings. NFPA advises all new or remodeled homes to install smoke detectors that are hardwired, interconnected dual-functioning with a sealed 10-year lithium-ion battery.

National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code have a minimum requirement of one smoke alarms in every sleeping room (even for existing homes) along with one outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.

Carbon monoxide detectors: As of 2018, 27 states and the District of Columbia require carbon monoxide detectors in private dwellings via state statute: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia (via adoption of the International Residential Code), Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. 11 states have publicized the use of these detectors through the adoption of the International Residential Code or via the state’s building code: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wyoming.

If you're a landlord, homeowner or a tenant, please contact your state or local authorities for more information.