Smoke & Heat Detectors- Smoke detectors are available that will interface with your security system. The smoke detectors that are already in your home can’t be tied into your security system. The device that the builder put in your home is either electrical, battery operated, or in some instances both, if you have the better quality detectors. Lifesaving smoke detectors should be in every home. If you elect to add some to your system, your existing detectors should be left in place, as they are still able to help give early warning in case of a fire.
If you add a smoke detector to your system it should be placed in the highest point of your home as possible, as smoke will rise no matter where it originates. Some homeowners elect to place one in the basement and top floor, and some want one added to every floor.
The technology that makes most of these devices work is “photoelectric technology.” This means that the detector basically takes a snapshot of the density of smoke that enters its chamber, and wants to see a density increase as it samples every few milliseconds. This technology makes the detector much more discriminating then its inexpensive counterparts.
Many of these devices also detect temperature change with their built in heat detectors. This means that the device will go into an alarm condition, if the temperature in its area of coverage is rising rapidly, even if there is no smoke yet. Independent heat detectors are also available, if you would like an added degree of protection in areas such as kitchens, furnace rooms, attics and fireplaces. (Required to meet code, in some municipalities)
There are many advantages to adding fire devices to your security system. Some of them are:
* Your detector is on all the time, even if your alarm is disarmed.
* The devices work off the power from your alarm system and use its backup power supplies should power fail.
* The siren will emit a tone that is audibly different then a burglary siren, so that you can differentiate.
* Your dispatch is being made without you having to call for help yourself. This gives you more time to gather your loved ones and pets for immediate exit.
* A dispatch will take place even if you are not home. Typically flames will be coming through your roof, by the time your neighbors see them, and call for help. This early response may save your pets and a good portion of your home.
* Insurance companies often give an additional discount, off your homeowners insurance, for having a fire system. These devices could effectively pay for themselves, after a few years.
Some municipalities will not dispatch their limited resources to an automatic fire alarm, unless it is designed completely to local code. This is a very expensive endeavor that, many homeowners in those areas can’t justify. Businesses will have to do this, in order to get an occupancy permit. Check with your local fire authority before investing in smoke or heat detectors that will not get a response.