It is important to install your smoke alarms in the manner in which they provide the most protection for the inhabitants of your home. In some cases, it is a matter of legal compliance to install them in one manner or another. There are many options to consider when installing smoke alarms to enhance their safety and effectiveness. One such option is to install hardwired alarms that tie into the home's electrical system.
Hard-Wired Smoke Alarms
Traditionally, smoke alarms have been sold as standalone devices powered by batteries. The major disadvantage of using this kind of smoke alarm is that it requires regular replacement of the battery in order to offer protection and safety. A solution to this disadvantage is the use of hard-wired smoke alarms that tie into the home's electricity and that frequently have battery backup systems in the case of a household power failure.
The advantages of a hard-wired smoke alarm are obvious, but the question of whether or not they are necessary is dependent on a few unique factors. Some states have passed laws that require all smoke alarms in the home to be hard-wired, other states require hard-wired smoke alarms only in homes that were built after a certain date. In still other cases, city and local laws require hard-wired smoke detectors. Inquiring local government officials is the best way to determine whether or not hard-wired smoke detectors are required by law.
It may be easier, in many cases, to simply err on the side of caution by installing hard-wired smoke detectors because of their many benefits. As noted, hard-wired systems use the home's electrical system and only run on battery power in the case of a power failure. Hard-wired systems also offer added protection if people in your home sleep with the bedroom doors closed. Since hard-wired systems are typically installed so that when one alarm goes off, every alarm goes off, hard-wired systems can alert home inhabitants that otherwise may not be able to hear a sounding smoke alarm through a closed bedroom door.
Arguably the biggest disadvantage of hard-wired systems is that they can be more expensive and labor-intensive to install. Unlike battery-only smoke alarms that people can typically install on their own, hard-wired systems need to be installed by a licensed electrician. Always be sure to install your hard-wired smoke alarm system so that it uses a battery backup ion the case of a household power failure and be sure to replace the batteries just as often as you would a battery-only alarm.
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