Thousands of families perish in house fires every year around the world, and most of these fatalities are caused by smoke and toxic fume inhalation, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The main reason is that it’s much harder to avoid inhaling smoke and toxic fumes than it is to escape burn injuries. It even gets worse since most of these deaths occur at night when families are asleep. That’s why installing a hardwired smoke detector is of utmost importance. It provides an early warning of a fire, giving you time to escape. If you’re wondering how a hardwired smoke detector works, here’s everything you need to know.

Hardwired Smoke Detector Vs. Battery-Powered Smoke Detector

One of the biggest decisions to make is choosing between a wired smoke detector and a wireless one. While both are great, hardwired models offer better safety since they are already powered and have a high chance of functioning when you need them the most. What’s more, most hardwired smoke alarms like the Kidde 10-Year Worry-Free Hardwired Smoke Detector, have a backup battery that kicks in when the power goes out.

A battery-operated smoke detector, on the other hand, relies on battery power. In other words, if the battery runs out, then you’re at a higher risk of not getting an early fire warning. Plus, many people are forgetful when it comes to replacing the batteries, which can be risky when a fire breaks out.

How to Install a Hardwired Smoke Detector

Most people may opt for a battery-powered smoke detector due to its affordability and easy installation. However, experts suggest choosing an interconnected system of smoke detectors because they offer better safety. In some states, the law stipulates that homes must have hardwired, connected smoke detectors in new constructions.

You see, interconnected smoke detectors all go off instantaneously when one of them detects the first sign of smoke. This gives you a better chance of escaping before the fire spreads. When it comes to installing a hardwired smoke detector, your best bet is to hire a professional electrician.

There are several crucial factors to consider when installing hardwired smoke alarms, such as proper placement to prevent false alarms and ensure that the system functions optimally. What’s more, the complexity and extreme sensitivity of electric wiring must be handled with someone with extensive experience in electric components.

An expert is familiar with all these details and will have the smoke alarm properly installed. Plus, they are up to date on all the latest codes and regulations associated with electrical installations.

How Long Do Hardwired Smoke Detectors Last?

Hardwired smoke alarms will function properly for up to 10 years. After a decade, their efficiency starts to dwindle and the sensors become weak, making it less likely to detect smoke as efficiently as is required.

Therefore, be sure to replace hardwired smoke detectors every 10 years. Even if your device seems to be functioning perfectly after 10 years, it’s advisable to have it replaced since it’s not guaranteed to offer safety when you need it to.

When you move to a house with a pre-existing smoke detector, have a professional come look at it to verify how long ago it was installed. You want peace of mind that you’re safe from smoke and fire, especially when moving into a new home.

Pros and Cons of Hardwired Smoke Alarms

By now, you know that hardwired smoke detectors offer more reliability than battery-powered smoke alarms. But what are their advantages and disadvantages?

The Pros:

  • Easy Maintenance. Battery-powered units may be the simplest to install, but you need to replace the batteries often to keep them functional. Meanwhile, hardwired smoke detectors are connected to your home’s power supply. You don’t need to worry about checking the batteries or worrying that they may run out.
  • Interconnectability. As previously mentioned, hardwired smoke systems contain several detectors interconnected all over the house. This means that if one alarm goes off, it triggers all the rest, giving you an early warning regardless of the room you’re in.
  • Reliability. Hardwired smoke alarms will sound indefinitely until they are turned off. Furthermore, they have battery backups to keep them running even when the power supply is cut. Battery-operated models, on the other hand, will sound for as long as the batteries are functional. Once they are drained, the alarm stops. 

The Cons:

  • Professionals must handle installation. This also means that if any faults occur, you must involve the technicians to do the repairs. Of course, it won’t cost you anything if the alarm system is under warranty or guarantee. However, if the system is out of warranty, you’ll have to foot all the costs.
  • Hardwired smoke detectors are connected to the mains system. While this is advantageous, any small glitch (like a power cut that lasts seconds) may cause the alarm to malfunction. What’s more, since they are all interconnected, a fault may cause all of them to malfunction.

Final Words…

If you live in an old building, you can invest in battery-only smoke alarms and install them in all the areas mandated by the code. While they have their downsides, your home is safer with them installed.

Your safety, though, is way better if you can install a hardwired smoke alarm system since it provides maximum protection. But, before buying a smoke detector, it’s advisable to get all the information necessary, so you know what you’re investing in.

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