Smoke Detectors Help to Keep You Safe 2022

Smoke Detectors Help to Keep You Safe 2022

While performing a home inspection in Margate, Florida I came across a smoke detector that was not working and I thought to myself “How many times am I going to find this?”, how do I help folks to know that smoke detectors help to keep you safe. At that moment I said I have to do something more to help and decided to write this quick article and give some tips for maintenance as well.

Why do smoke detectors help to keep you safe?

Smoke detectors are your first line of defense for the early detection of a fire in your home and could mean the difference between life and death. A fire can occur in a variety of ways and in any room of your home. But no matter where or how, having a smoke alarm is the first step toward your family’s safety.

During a home inspection, a home inspector will test each detector using the test button on the unit. All smoke detectors in the home should sound when the inspector performs the test. There is a limitation here that all should be aware of, there is no guarantee that the detector will sound from smoke from using the test button. You are initiating the detection when the button is pushed but that doesn’t test the sensors. We recommend testing by simulating smoke near the smoke detector to ensure the sensors are working properly.

There are three different types of smoke detectors and brands. There are smoke detectors are combined with sensors that are able to detect carbon monoxide also. Ensure you know which detectors you have present in your home. There are three types of smoke alarms, ionization, photoelectric, and a combination of the two which is commonly called a “dual” detector.

What type of smoke detectors help to keep you safe?

  1. Ionization-type smoke alarms have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm.
  2. The second type of smoke detector is photoelectric, which uses a light beam to help detect the presence of smoke. According to NFPA, these alarm types are more effective at sounding when a fire originates from a smoldering source, like a lit cigarette that falls into a couch cushion.
  3. Dual sensor smoke alarms use both ionization and photoelectric technologies in one alarm. The sensors work together to equip your home with comprehensive smoke and fire detection.


The presence of a working smoke alarm in a home reduces the risk of dying in a fire by 50%. Approximately 890 lives could be saved annually if all homes had working smoke alarms. Check out the Consumer Product and Safety Commission document “Smoke Alarms – Why, Where, and Which?”

Now, that you have seen the different types and learned a little about each. Let’s look at when the smoke detectors should be installed in the home. 

CPSC staff recommends the following:

  1.  Install a working smoke alarm on every level of the home, outside sleeping areas, and inside bedrooms.
  2.  Install both ionization and photoelectric type smoke alarms on every level of the home.
  3.  Do not install an ionization smoke alarm in or near the kitchen because it is more likely to nuisance alarm during cooking.
  4.  Replace smoke alarm batteries at least annually.
  5.  Test all smoke alarms in your house once a month. If you test it less often, a non-working smoke alarm may leave you and your family unprotected.
  6.  Do not place a smoke alarm near a kitchen appliance or fireplace, to avoid nuisance alarms.
  7.  Avoid locating alarms near bathrooms, heating appliances, windows, or ceiling fans.
  8.  Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old. Smoke alarms don’t last forever.
  9.  Develop and practice a fire escape plan because working smoke alarms and a fire escape plan will increase your protection in case of a fire.
Smoke Detectors Help to Keep You Safe 2022 1

Fire Safety Tips for how Smoke Detectors Help to Keep You Safe

1. Install Smoke Detectors, battery or wired. Suggest install interconnected system.

2. Create a Fire Escape Plan for your Home 

3. Practice your Fire Escape Plan with your family

There are 300,000 residential fires each year. Protect yourself and your family buy ensuring your property is equipment with detection system, maintenance and test regularly and lastly ensure everyone knows the plan.  

Smoke Detectors Help Keep You Safe

Summary: Smoke Detectors Help Keep You Safe 2022

I hope that you have enjoyed this article and it has helped you determine the importance of a smoke detection system and keeping the maintenance up on the unit regularly. I would like to see our inspectors not placing the comment “No Smoke Detectors Installed or Missing”  because we are all being more on top of this issue. If it’s defective it is just like not having any installed. 


If you have additional questions and you want to get in contact with GGR Home Inspections please send us a note, text, or call.

Disclosure: Some of the links included are from our affiliate partners or sponsors meaning we will get compensated if you make a purchase. There is no additional cost to you. We care about you and that’s why we believe in being absolutely transparent with you 


Ron Gladden

Hi and thanks for visiting our blog. I enjoy sharing information that can provide value to others. The intent of the blog is to help current and new homeowners learn more about their homes and share suggestions to help improve homeowners, business owners, and contractors' homes and businesses. It's my hope that the information you find here will provide you the value you were seeking. Reach out to me anytime, and we will do our best to help.