In Commercial Security, Home Security, Monitoring Services, Safety, Seacoast Security

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are two security devices often overlooked by homeowners. Learn how to prevent tragedy with these life-saving tips for choosing, installing and maintaining detectors.

Smoke Alarms

According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five deaths resulting from house fires occurred in homes without smoke detectors or with smoke alarms that weren’t functional. You can avoid this tragedy by installing and maintaining working smoke alarms.

There are two kinds of smoke detectors: ionization and photoelectric. Both kinds feature a chamber in the housing that detects changes in air density. Ionization alarms detect the disruption of ions, making them more responsive to flaming fires. Photoelectric alarms use light beams and sensors, making them more responsive to smoldering fires. To obtain the best protection, use both types of smoke alarms or look for combination ionization-photoelectric alarms, also referred to as dual sensor smoke alarms.

For the best results, you should install smoke detectors throughout your home. One smoke alarm should be placed in:

• Every bedroom

• Outside of every sleeping area

• On every level of the home, including the basement and attic

Some smoke alarms are designed to be interconnected. When one alarm is triggered, all the connected alarms are sounded. This gives all inhabitants extra time to exit the house. This type of system can increase security in larger homes or homes with multiple stories.

Smoke Alarm Dos and Don’ts


• Look for the seal of a recognized testing laboratory

• Mount within 12 inches of the ceiling

• Test smoke alarms once a month

• Replace batteries per the recommendations of the manufacturer

• Replace detectors every 10 years


• Paint over the smoke detector

• Place in a draft area

• Place above cooking appliances

• Interchange old and new batteries

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous and potentially fatal gas produced by the incomplete burning of a number of fuels. Because it is colorless and odorless, it’s crucial to install carbon monoxide detectors to protect yourself and loved ones. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

• Headache

• Fatigue

• Shortness of breath

• Nausea

• Dizziness

• Mental confusion

• Vomiting

• Loss of muscular coordination

• Loss of consciousness

• Ultimately death

Like smoke alarms, one carbon monoxide detector should be installed high on the wall in each bedroom and outside of every sleeping area of the home.

Carbon Monoxide Dos and Don’ts


• Place high on the wall

• Test regularly based on the manufacturer’s recommendations

• Replace every five to seven years


• Place near a heating vent or window

• Place in a kitchen

• Place above fuel-burning appliances

Both smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can be plugged into outlets, hard-wired into your home’s electrical system or run on batteries. Most homes don’t have electrical outlets in the recommended areas near the ceiling, so hard wiring or using battery-operated devices may be more suitable. If you choose to plug in or hard-wire your detectors, make sure to use models with battery backup in case of a power outage. Do your monthly tests and replace batteries as needed to keep you and your home safe.

Seacoast Security has been providing Maine and New Hampshire home and business owners with cutting edge home and business security services since 1976 from our offices in Rockport, Freeport/Portland, Hermon/Bangor, Presque Isle, and Portsmouth. Learn more at

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