Smoke & Heat Monitoring Service Review
Stay Safe With a Smoke & Heat Monitoring Service
Editor's note: ADT recently announced the completion of a merger with Protection 1. Although the two companies currently operate independently, both will eventually operate exclusively under the ADT brand. When ADT and Protection 1 complete this brand integration, we will update our home security reviews to reflect that information.
Most of us think of home as the safest place imaginable, but from a fire-safety standpoint, your home may be a very dangerous place. You greatly increase the chances for survival and safety by using smoke and heat monitoring services. The best services, Frontpoint, Protect America and LiveWatch, could make the difference between life and death for the people you cherish. For tips that can help protect your home, read our articles about smoke and heat monitoring.
Smoke & Heat Monitoring Services: What to Look For
Smoke detectors identify smoke particles in the air using photoelectrics or ionization methods, sometimes both. Ionization smoke alarms use a tiny bit of radioactive material between electrically charged plates. Smoke ionizes the air and allows the current to flow between the plates, triggering the alarm.
Photoelectric smoke detectors employ a light and a sensor. The smoke particles reduce the amount of light that reaches the sensor, initiating the alarm. Photoelectric detectors are largely better for detecting slow-growing, smoldering fires, though ionization sensors react more quickly to fast, open flames. Heat detectors spot a rapid increase in the temperature of an area or trigger if air temperatures reach a particular level.
When it comes to smoke and heat monitoring, you want the best possible service; however, each system varies depending on the needs of your particular household. Look for a company with a healthy balance of alerts, monitoring services, security devices and customer support options. Here are a few things to look for in a home fire alarm system.
Every company in our review offers excellent emergency response times and alerts for smoke, fire, scorching and freezing temperatures, carbon monoxide and intrusion. The best services also offer powerful alerts for natural gas leaks, flooding, power failure and personal safety. Personal safety alerts help you protect your children and monitor medically dependent family members. Each alert requires proper equipment to work correctly so you should check to see if a company provides this equipment as part of your monitoring package.
Every company offers professional, 24-hour monitoring, cellular or internet monitoring, and follow-up notifications as part of basic monitoring plans, but quality varies between each company. Look for interactive monitoring that lets you control your security system from afar using an online account or a mobile app, even if you have to pay more to use these features. Though not available with all fire alarm systems, home automation gives you control over lights and thermostats while you're away. Many services have a two-way intercom that lets you speak with monitoring experts when an alarm goes off.
Equipment & Security Devices
Smoke and heat monitoring companies routinely offer a wireless equipment package that you can customize according to your needs. Aside from fire and heat sensors, most services also sell additional security devices such as sirens, panic buttons, personal keychain security devices, glass-break sensors, pet-immune motion detectors and security cameras. Additionally, the best companies offer a variety of door and window sensors, which you can place on or within the doors around your home and in your garage.
Help & Support
Solid customer support options are vital to smoke and heat monitoring. The most helpful companies offer a diversity of online tutorials, FAQs and alarm-history reports to help you understand your system. Email, phone and live chat support let you get direct assistance if you have a technical problem. Some systems require professional installation while others are only DIY installation; there are pros and cons to each type of installation that depend on you and your ability and willingness to install equipment on your own. The best fire protection services have excellent equipment warranties and system-relocation options.
Although preventable, smoke inhalation, fire and burns are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Although fire fatalities have declined over the past few decades, there are far too many deaths and injuries each year. To protect your loved ones, common sense suggests smoke and heat sensor systems can help you avoid these tragic situations.