Heating Season: Remember Safety

October 24, 2009

smart fixes

If you have a woodstove, gas- or oil-fueled furnace, please remember to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for your home. These devices are not expensive and in some locations, they are mandatory. Usually, you can find a good sale on these devices this time of year.

There are two types of smoke detectors:

The ionization type of smoke detector detects flaming fires that start up quickly, such as flash fires, paper burning, or grease fires. Most house fires are these kinds of fires, so the ionization-type detectors are usually advised for residences.

The photoelectric types of smoke detectors perceive smouldering fires that produce a lot smoke and heat, such as cigarrette-started fires or fires that begin in couches or other soft furniture. Less than 30% of house fires are these kinds of fires.

It is advised that smoke detectors be installed on every level of the home– basement, first floor, second floor, etc. Detectors should be placed on ceilings outside of sleeping areas.

Carbon monoxide detectors sense the invisible carbon monoxide gas. They are a little more complex than the smoke detectors, coming in three types of sensors: metal oxide, biomimetic and electrochemical. There are slight performance differences between the types, but all detectors are supposed to be tested and officially approved for their effectiveness. Carbon monoxide detectors are usually installed within 15 feet of each bedroom. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for each device.

Individually, detectors are not terribly expensive, usually at $10 to $15 apiece. But if you have a big house as I do, the cost certainly adds up! If you are looking for some good deals on smoke and carbon detectors. The First Alert series of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are very affordable. I saw some detectors priced as low as $4 for the basic smoke detector. Very nice! Be sure to change the batteries in these things regularly, too. A safety detector is only as good as its battery. (Some you can hard wire into the electrical system, too!).

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