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Smoke Detectors Versus Heat Sensors

We all fear intruders breaking into our homes and take sensible precautions to prevent that, but another, more primal danger to home safety is fire. Overwhelming heat, smoke and flames have struck fear into peoples' hearts for centuries, since they can be so deadly to loved ones and so destructive to property.

Equipping your house with some kind of device to alert you will go a long way to protect you and everything you hold dear. Before making any decisions, you might want to learn the differences between smoke detectors and heat sensors. Although there are a handful of combination smoke-heat devices on the market, most models are either one or the other. You can also buy stand-alone alarms or devices that must be connected to some kind of home security system.

Before you buy anything, it is good to know the different types of smoke detectors available so you can choose the best smoke detector for your needs. You can choose one that is solely battery-run, making it easy to install and place anywhere in your home, or a hardwired smoke detector connected to the electrical system.

If you have an older house, it might not be set up to connect a hardwired type smoke detector to your wiring, at least in a DIY project, so you would need to hire an electrician. One of the benefits of a hardwired detector is that you can install several in your house and interconnect them. That way, they all sound the alarm if there is any trouble, rather than just one, and there is a greater likelihood that everyone in the house can quickly take precautions. The best hardwired models also have battery backup, so you get both types of protection.

In addition, you can choose between a photoelectric smoke alarm or an ionization smoke detector. The photoelectric variety is best suited for noting smoldering fires that have not yet burst into flame. The ionization model is best at sensing flaming fires. You also can get a smoke detector that includes both detection methods for more comprehensive coverage, since you can never predict which type of fire might strike.

If you're in the market for a smoke detector, you should check out the Kidde PI2010 smoke detector. It offers sensors for both photoelectric and ionization detection and is a hardwired smoke detector that connects to your home's electrical system. You can link it to as many as 12 other Kidde smoke alarms, which count among an impressive total of 24 compatible Kidde security devices. This works nicely if you have a large house and want considerable protection.

Another option is the First Alert BRK 3120B smoke alarm, which also offers photoelectric and ionization sensors. It is a hardwired model that needs battery power as a backup in case you have a power outage. It can connect to 12 other First Alert smoke detectors as part of an interconnection capability that includes a total of 18 security devices.

If your home's electrical system will not work with a hardwired smoke detector, you might want to check out the Nest Protect 2nd Gen smoke detector. Unlike many battery-powered smoke detectors, this one can be interconnected with 18 other devices in your house, which provides an extensive amount of smoke detection service.

Heat sensors for the home also offer protection from fire, but they are different devices altogether. These monitor the temperature in your home in different ways, depending on the type you get, which is useful for discovering the kinds of fires that produce very little smoke but are still deadly.

Some heat sensors alert you if the temperature in an area rises above a fixed level. Others monitor the rate of rise (ROR) of the temperature and let you know if it appears to be dangerous. You can also get combination models that are sensitive to both types of temperature change.

Heat sensors can be a convenient replacement for highly sensitive smoke detectors in certain areas of the home, such as the kitchen. Sometimes smoke detectors go off needlessly when routine cooking releases a bit of harmless smoke. Heat detectors also work well in environments where dust might trigger a false alarm in a smoke detector, such as a garage, home workshop, stable or outbuilding.

Although we are addressing fire-related topics, some heat sensors also monitor drops in temperature, which is valuable for homeowners who experience cold winters and face the prospect of frozen pipes or other troubles posed by extreme cold. Heat sensors can save lives if you have an elderly or disabled person in your home, since these individuals can be quite sensitive to sudden and extreme temperature changes of either excessive heat or cold.

Heat sensors can come in hardwired or battery-powered models. You can use them on their own or in conjunction with smoke detectors for the most thorough smoke, fire and heat monitoring you can arrange for your home.

The Kidde HD135F Fyrnetics Hardwire Heat Detector is a hardwired device that comes with a battery for power backup in case the electricity goes out. It can be interconnected with a total of 24 Kidde home security devices, uses a 9-volt battery and responds to temperatures once they reach 135 degrees Fahrenheit.

Another option is the BRK Brands HD6135FB Hardwire Heat Alarm, which is hardwired for the home's electrical system but uses battery power for a backup. It detects temperatures at 135 F and up, and it can check for fixed temperatures and the ROR.

Given the different types of protection that you can get from each of these lifesaving devices, it is not surprising that home safety experts recommend using both smoke detectors and heat sensors as part of an overall protection plan. This way, you will be alerted no matter what kind of fire begins in your home, and you can get loved ones to safety and take steps to ensure the fire is extinguished.