Heroes in Plain Sight: Smoke Detectors

A particular device that you can find anywhere, whether it is a domestic household or a commercial building like offices, malls, hospitals and schools, is smoke detectors. The unsung heroes of our premises, smoke detectors are a crucial addition to any space because they warn us of a potential threat of a fire or a gas leak. Fires and gas leaks can be quite lethal if not taken under control just in time, and that is what smoke detectors are meant to do – prevent the damage altogether or reduce it. 

Normally installed near kitchens in a household, it is often recommended to place one smoke detector in each room or part of the house. Commercial buildings are otherwise sufficiently covered with alarms after every few feet and in every room or store as well. There are battery-operated ones, and there are wired ones as well. Battery-operated smoke detectors work individually whereas wired ones are considered more efficient because when one alarm goes off, they all do. 

If you are wondering how long do smoke detectors last, well battery-operated ones usually require a change of batteries once or twice annually. The low battery beeping is what usually gets our attention to these devices anyway. Wired ones on the other hand are good to go for a couple of years, sometimes even 10!


How to Install Smoke Detectors

Installing a smoke detector can be a DIY task for those that are good at the handyman kind of work around the house. But if you are not sure and don’t want to risk it then its best to call in a professional, especially when installing a wired smoke detector since it involves electrical wiring. 

Here is a step-by-step take on how you can install a smoke detector by yourself.

  1. Shut off the electricity to the power outlet that you will be installing the smoke detector to, from the main circuit breaker of your home. 
  2. If there is no smoke detector in place already, then you can go straight to marking the holes of the mounting plate. If there is a previous one that needs to be removed then follow the following steps:
    – remove the smoke detector by gently pulling it out of its mounting plate.
    – unplug the wires from the device once it’s out.
    – remove the old mounting plate. 
  3. Now that the old device and its mounting plate are removed – even if there wasn’t one to begin with, place the mounting plate of the smoke detector you’re planning to install and mark holes that need the plate to be screwed into. 
  4. Once the mounting plate is fixed in place, pull the wires through the opening of the plate and attach the wiring to the smoke detector.  
  5. Place the device into the mount when the wiring is done and turn on the device from the switch button. 
  6. Turn the power back on from the circuit breaker and the smoke detector is ready to work.


Google Nest Protect

What’s greater than an ordinary smoke detector? A smart smoke detector! The Google Nest Protect is a great example to explain how smart smoke detectors work. 

The Nest Protect can detect smoldering as well as fast-burning fires, and gases like carbon monoxide too. The device features remote and mobile access via its own mobile app – that means you get alerts directly to your smartphones whenever the smoke detector alarm gets triggered. False alarms can also be shut down with the mobile app. 

What’s more, is that the Nest Protect tells you exactly where a potential threat has been detected. It helps save time so that you wouldn’t have to panic and search around the entire house. An additional feature, which is quite useful is that the Nest Protect lights up during the nighttime when it detects any movement. So whether you have to make your way to the bathroom or the kitchen, you wouldn’t find yourself walking against the walls in the dark to figure your way out. 

The Nest Protect smoke detector is available in wired and battery-operated options, but both retail for $119. Find them at First Energy Home’s website, along with plenty of more useful smart home devices. 


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