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Choosing a Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector For Your Home

The lifespan of a smoke detectors or carbon monoxide alarms will differ based on several factors, including type, model and where they are installed. Check your owner’s manual for specific information on when to replace a unit.

Smoke detectors typically have a lifespan of 10 years and a carbon monoxide alarms 5 years. If the device indicates an end-of-life condition, it should be replaced immediately.

Smoke detectors come in two different types: photoelectric or ionization sensor. Photoelectric smoke detectors are more sensitive to particles generated by fires that smolder, like a cigarette in a bed or on upholstery. Ionization smoke detectors tend to be more sensitive to particles generated by flaming fires, such as burning paper or grease. Most smoke detectors use one or the other type of sensor, although some use both.

If the smoke detector also works as a carbon monoxide alarm, it will only have one type of smoke sensor. For protection against both types of fires, install ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors or detectors that use both types of sensor.

Voice notification on carbon monoxide alarms and combination units lets you program the location of the device from preset selections. When the alarm sounds, the voice warning indicates the location and, for combination units, the type of threat detected.

Newer CO and smoke detectors can be integrated with home automation systems and smart phones to receive alerts when the alarm activates as well as battery level and device lifespan remaining. Audible status alerts, such as low-battery and end-of-life, let you know when the device needs attention.

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