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Home Security Basics: Get the Most Out of Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detector

Smart Home

December 04, 2018

Smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are one of the most common and essential home security tools. Unfortunately, home owners and renters often misunderstand how and where to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to maximize home safety. In reality, many homes do not contain adequate smoke and carbon monoxide protection. Here are the basics to help ensure proper coverage in your home, plus ways you can boost your safety with a smart system.

Where to place your detectors

It’s critical to understand how many CO and smoke alarms should be in a home, how to place them correctly, and how to ensure they’re in working order. Here’s what to keep in mind when planning the location of smoke and CO detectors.

Smoke detectors:

In an average home, a family has less than three minutes to get out of the house once a fire has started; the sooner you’re alerted about a fire, the sooner you can get to safety.

Smoke detectors should cover a radius of 21 feet. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends a maximum of 30 feet between smoke detectors. Here’s an easy way to make sure you have adequate coverage: place a smoke detector on every floor of the house, in hallways, inside bedrooms, and outside sleeping areas.

Smoke detectors offer the best line of defense, but in areas where ambient conditions can make smoke detection difficult or unreliable (like an attic), consider a “heat alarm.” This device assesses the possibility of fire through elevated air temperature, rather than smoke particles in the air.

CO detectors:

Carbon monoxide, also called the “invisible killer,” is an odorless gas that results when fuel-burning appliances—like gas stoves, vehicles, and generators—emit gas that is not burned completely. The dangers of CO exposure can be severe and deadly.

The guidelines for CO detectors are similar to those of smoke detectors. According to the NFPA, CO detectors should be placed on every floor, near every sleeping area, as well as in any central locations. They should always be placed five feet off the ground to obtain the best reading. Although it may sound counterintuitive, CO detectors should not be installed close to fuel-burning appliances which produce carbon monoxide (such as wood stoves or gas furnaces).

CO measurement devices are available in two major types: alarms, which sound when the CO concentration passes a certain level, and CO monitors, which continuously measure and display the CO concentration in a room. These devices will alert you when CO levels are higher than usual, even if they are below the threshold required to trigger an alarm.

How to further protect your family and home

To boost your protection from smoke and carbon monoxide emergencies, consider smart alarms as part of a full smart security system. With these detectors, you can monitor the status of your home remotely from your smartphone. Most importantly, you’ll need to know that help is on the way as soon as possible. With Xfinity Home, you’ll get 24/7 professional monitoring included with your home security plan. So when an alarm is triggered, we’ll notify the authorities for you. You’ll get an immediate response—ideal for emergency scenarios when every second counts.

What’s more, smart carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are self-monitoring. These devices continually perform self-diagnostic checks to ensure they’re working properly.

As part of a comprehensive smart security system, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors take safety and protection to another level. These devices can help ensure peace of mind, minimize the amount of necessary maintenance, and give you the flexibility to stay up to date and informed of the safety status of your home.

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