Blog by Carol Lome, Broker

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Smoke Alarms


Where: All of Ontario

Where needed: On every floor level, not just sleeping

Where needed: On sleeping floors - in hallway - between bedrooms and rest of home

Where needed: On ceilings - away from dead spaces like corners

Where needed: On walls 4 to 12 inches from ceiling (Inside wall better than outside)

Where not: Kitchens and garages - false alarms

Where not: Within 3 feet of bathroom door

Basements? They count

Crawlspaces? They count if they have a concrete floor. They don't count if they connect to a basement (since basement already has one)

Split levels: Only one required for both halves of the split, unless there are sleeping rooms on each half. Better on upper half.

What building types? Houses, cottages, cabins, chalets, duplexes, town homes, rentals too

Detector Type: Battery OK, even if rest are hardwired

Detector Type: Ionization or Photoelectric - both are OK

Ionization is less expensive - reacts faster to open flames (Radioactive material causes electrons to flow between two plates causing small electrical current - smoke interrupts current, triggering alarm).

Photoelectric better for smouldering fires (Small beam of light gets scattered by smoke, landing on a plate to generate a current and trigger alarm).

Other types: Voice - record parent's voice - reportedly more effective at waking children. More expensive ~ $100 vs. < $10.


Change batteries: When you change your clocks - daylight savings

Some hardwired have battery backup: Change batteries too.

Test: Monthly!

Replace: Every 10 years.

What if not there: Fine up to $25,000 or one year in jail ($50,000 for corporations)

Problems: About 1/3 don't work because the battery is dead. In 85% of fires where people were killed and smoke detectors didn't work, it was because battery missing or not working.