Wireless Home Security 101 – Smoke and Heat Sensor
Fire protection alone is a major reason to have a monitored alarm system – and that’s why good alarm companies recommend at least one monitored smoke detector for every residential system. I’ve posted on fire monitoring before, and we gave a shout-out to the NFPA’s announcement of Fire Prevention Week. Let’s recap the key benefits of adding fire monitoring to your alarm system:
Non-monitored smoke alarms – even the extensive systems sometimes required by building codes – will never summon help. They do nothing when you are away, or at home and overcome by smoke.
Fire monitoring should not add a penny to your monitoring fees.
Fire monitoring should provide you with additional home insurance discounts.
Pets that are home alone need monitored fire protection, too!
Explaining the Smoke & Heat Sensor
The workhorse of home fire monitoring is the wireless smoke and heat sensor, and the good devices actually contain three separate fire detection technologies:
Smoke Detection: using either ionization or photoelectric technology to sense airborne particulate, the sensor “samples” the air. Ionization is slightly better for actual flames, whereas photoelectric (more common) has the edge detecting smoldering fires: both types work.
Fixed Temperature Sensor: the standard trigger point is 135 degrees F. Once the detector senses this temperature has been reached, the alarm is activated.
“Rate of Rise” Temperature Sensor: the sensor can determine if room temperature is increasing by more than 15 degrees F within a 60-second period. That unusual (and dangerous) “rate of rise” triggers an alarm.
Smoke and heat sensors are placed high on the wall, or on the ceiling – but in either case at least 4” away from where the wall and ceiling meet. I recommend one sensor on each floor, starting with the upper floors and working down (since heat rises, and upstairs is usually where the bedrooms are). Here is a simple but effective set of detector placement guidelines from the University of Tennessee’s Institute for Public Service. As you may imagine, the kitchen is not a great location for the smoke & heat sensor. There is such thing as a monitored heat sensor (heat only), and it has its applications – but that’s for a future blog posting!
As you can see, FrontPoint is a committed advocate for monitored fire protection. We consider life safety monitoring (including carbon monoxide detection) an inseparable partner of intrusion detection, to provide you with the maximum peace of mind. Since we’re the nationwide leader in interactive, wireless home security, our customers expect us to recommend the safest security – in every sense of the word.
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