Smoke Detector Cost – It’s a situation no wants to face, but firefighters fight thousands of home fires every year but not everyone makes it out. To avoid such situations, early warning is vital. That’s why every home in the US needs a smoke detector. Smoke detectors are cheap yet reliable devices that detect smoke and alert about the possibility of a fire.

With several different types of smoke detectors available today, it can become quite confusing for an individual to find a smoke alarm that suits their fire protection needs. Read on this guide to know different types of fire alarms, their suitability for your home, and their relative costs.

Types of Smoke Detectors

There are two main types of smoke detectors that are used commonly in homes: ionization detectors and photoelectric detectors.

  • Ionization Smoke Detectors – Ionization smoke detectors are one of the cheapest smoke detectors available in the market. However, they can only detect flaming fires and are not very sensitive to smoky fires. They contain a small amount of a radioactive material that detects the particles emitted in a fire and sets off the alarm. Ionization smoke detectors are also more likely to produce false alarms if they are located neat a kitchen.
  • Photoelectric Smoke Detectors – Photoelectric smoke detectors are more expensive as compared to ionization smoke detectors. They can easily detect slow burning smoky and smoldering fires. These smoke detectors use a photo cell and a light beam. When smoke enters the detector, some of the light rays are scattered by the smoke particles and hit the cell, causing the alarm to set off. Photoelectric smoke detectors are prone to false alarms cause by dust and insects, so they have to be cleaned periodically.

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Which type is best for your Home?

Smoke DetectorThis is perhaps the most frequently asked question by people looking to invest in a fire protection system for their home. We have already discussed the two basic types of smoke detectors available for domestic use. Read more at the National Fire Protections Association guide to smoke alarms.

Photoelectric alarms are usually preferred over ionization alarms because of their ability to detect smoky fires such as fire caused by overheated wiring. Also, they respond more quickly to fires as compared to the other type, providing the residents more time to escape and take necessary safety measures. Photoelectric smoke detectors have a response time of about three to five minutes. While, ionization smoke detectors take up to twenty minutes or more to detect a fire.

Dual sensor alarms are also available, which are a combination of ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors, and are recommended by most fire authorities.

What to look for in a Smoke Detector?

Smoke detectors are important, small fire protection devices that save lives of thousands of people every year. Therefore, it is very important to make the smoke detector buying decision wisely and look for all the factors that should be present in a good, functional smoke detector to have utmost fire protection.

Battery

Installing a smoke detector alone is not sufficient. It is also very important to make sure that it is in a working problem. Hundreds of people die every year because their smoke detectors are not working, and in majority of the cases, the reason is a dead battery.

We have three options when it comes to the power supply of a smoke detector:

  • Standard battery detectors – Cheaper, but battery needs to be replace almost every week
  • Detectors with 10-year batteries – More expensive but save you the cost of replacement batteries.
  • Detectors powered by the household’s main power supply – Need to be installed by an electrician.
  • Detectors with a rechargeable battery – Recharged when plugged into a light socket.

Silencer Button

Look for a smoke detector with a silencer or hush button so you can silence false alarms. Some smoke detectors come with a remote control and can be silenced remotely using it.

Test Button

These provided added convenience by allowing you to check whether the alarm is working or not using a torch light or a remote control. This is particularly useful for detectors installed on high ceilings.

Ultra-loud, vibrating pad, and strobe light

These are useful features for people with hearing issues. The vibrating pad can be installed under a mattress or a pillow, which vibrates to wake up a person when smoke is detected.

Cost of Installing a Smoke Detector

As discussed, the cost of a smoke detector depends on its type, battery, and added features. We are giving an estimate of the three types of smoke detectors here.

Ionization Smoke Detectors$15 to $60
Photoelectric Smoke Detectors$20 to $80
Dual Smoke Detectors$20 to $40

The following table gives an estimate of different smoke detectors with varying specifications.

Type Features Average Cost
Ionization Hush button, 9V battery, 10-year warranty $13
Ionization Rechargeable battery $60
PhotoelectricHush button, backup battery$21
Dual sensor Smart sensing technology $23

This is a general guide about the cost of installing smoke detectors. The exact cost depends on various factors, which should be carefully considered by a buyer.

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