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Smoke DetectorsSmoke detectors are required in all residential dwellings. Smoke alarms give an early warning to residents that they should evacuate the home because smoke is in the air. Unfortunately, more than half of all fire deaths occur in residential buildings while occupants are sleeping. Death typically occurs due to suffocation long before the actual fire reaches the victim.

Building code requires all new homes have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors wired directly into the home’s wiring system. Many older homes do not have wired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Unfortunately, in many of these homes, smoke detectors get overlooked or residents forget to change the batteries. The outcome can be deadly!

If you own an older home or you aren’t sure if your smoke detectors need to be replaced, contact our residential electricians at Main Stream Electric and we will perform a home safety evaluation and test your detectors. We provide up-front pricing before we start the project and guarantee all installation. Our uniformed and certified residential electricians will discuss your smoke and carbon monoxide detector options and install a system that will help protect you and your family in the case of a fire.

FAQ

I have a battery-operated smoke detector. Is that enough?

According to the National Electrical Code, every smoke detector in your home has to be hard wired into your electrical system, be interconnected, and have a battery backup. Every bedroom needs to have a smoke detector and another is required within six feet of a bedroom door. If you have natural gas, propane, or an attached garage, you are also required to install a carbon monoxide detector within 15 feet of all bedroom doors.

What causes my smoke detector to false alarm (make an alarm sound when no smoke is present)?

A false alarm can occur for a number of reasons:

  • Alarm is old. If your alarm is 8-10 years old, it should be replaced. You can find the date code on the back of the alarm.
  • Alarm is installed near a kitchen, bathroom, dusty area, or near a heating vent or return. These areas tend to create false alarms.
  • Dust or insects are stuck in the alarm chamber causing the alarm to be overly sensitive.
  • The alarm is near cleaning solvents, particularly ammonia.
  • Alarm needs to be reset. Disconnect and remove the battery. Hold the test button for 10-15 seconds and your alarm will be reset. Then, re-install your alarm.

Why is the red light blinking on my smoke detector? Does it need a new battery?

If you see a flashing red light every 40-45 seconds, your detector is performing a battery test. This is completely normal. You will hear a beep or chirp approximately once a minute and the red LED will flash about four times a minute if your battery is weak.

Are carbon monoxide detectors necessary?

Carbon Monoxide detectors should be installed in every home. Carbon monoxide is known as the “invisible killer” because it is a colorless, odorless, and poisonous gas. Many people die and thousands are affected by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning each year. We recommend carbon monoxide detectors be installed in every home. Today, there are some devices equipped with both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Please contact Main Stream Electric in Sacramento at (916) 439-5253 or San Jose at (408) 422-8730 for an onsite smoke and carbon monoxide detector safety evaluation.