Compare smoke alarms at Lowes and Home Depot. Smoke alarms save lives. You need alarms that detect flaming and smoldering fires for each bedroom, with at least one set on each level, including the attic and basement.
You should also have an alarm on each living level, in the basement, and near, but not inside, an attached garage.
If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Smoke detectors, sound an alarm when they sense the presence of smoke particles. Most local fire safety regulations require installation of functioning smoke alarms on every level of all homes and buildings.
Also carbon monoxide detectors alert you to toxic levels of an invisible and odorless gas that can cause serious health problems. Together, these two devices provide significant and cost-effective protection for your home and family.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
Types of smoke alarms available at Lowes and Home Depot
At Lowes you will find First Alert brand smoke detectors. Home Depot you will find smoke alarms from Kidde, First Alert and Gentex. Both stores may carry regional brands also. There are many brands of smoke alarms on the market, but they fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric.
Ionization smoke alarms – In this design, electrodes continually conduct a low-level electrical current through ionized air. Smoke particles that enter the ionized air disrupt this current, triggering the alarm. Ionization units are generally prone to false alarms from burnt food or steam, so use caution when mounting near a kitchen or bath.
Ionization smoke sensors may detect smaller, less visible fire particles, such as those produced by flaming fires, sooner than photoelectric sensors. Sources of these fires may include paper burning in a wastebasket, or a grease fire in the kitchen.
Photoelectric smoke alarms – This design detects smoke using a light sensor and a light beam. Ordinarily, the light beam points away from the sensor. When there’s a fire, the smoke particles scatter the beam, redirecting some light to hit the sensor, which triggers the alarm.
Photoelectric units are less prone to false alarms from burnt food and steam. Photoelectric sensors may detect larger, more visible fire particles, such as those produced by smoldering fires, sooner than ionization sensors. Sources of these fires may include cigarettes burning in couches or bedding.
Dual-sensor smoke alarms. These combine ionization and photoelectric technology to save you the hassle of installing two separate smoke detectors. Because homeowners cannot predict what type of fire might start in a home, the USFA recommends the installation of both ionization and photoelectric or dual sensor smoke alarms.
Ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms detect different types of fires. Since no one can predict what type of fire might start in their home, the USFA recommends that every home and place where people sleep have:
- Both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms. OR
- Dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.
There are also alarms for people with hearing loss. These alarms may strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to alert those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound.
Kidde and First Alert Smoke Alarms at Home Depot and Lowes
The two major manufacturers of carbon monoxide and smoke alarms are First Alert and Kidde. Purchases of battery operated units are about 60% versus hardwired units. That is simply because battery-operated units are easier to install. You generally will not find both brands at Lowes and Home Depot.
Lowes will stock First Alert and Home Depot currently stocks mostly Kidde and First Alert alarms. Some areas of the US may stock both brands. Smoke alarms are not expensive and are worth the lives they can help save.
Don’t be tempted by lower prices on off brand smoke detectors.
We’ve found that sticking with these two major brands is your smartest investment.
First Alert owns the BRK branded units, and the ONELINK line of wireless units. Product offerings include plug-in, battery, hardwired, and hardwired with battery-backup units. First Alert also offers combination units that detect carbon monoxide and smoke. These combo units use electrochemical and photoelectric technologies.
Top First Alert Choices at Lowes.
First Alert 3 volt Sealed Battery-Powered-Volt Smoke Detector. Item #: 610004, Model 0827B. $19.97
First Alert 120 Volt AC Hardwired 120-Volt Smoke Detector. Item 304190, Model 9120BP-12ST. $14.97
Kidde also owns FireX brand, Nighthawk and Silhouette lines. Nighthawk comes in plug-in and battery operated units. The Silhouette line comes in hardwired units and features a sealed, self-charging lithium battery that lasts for the life of the unit. Kidde also offers combo units, which have a smoke detector feature in addition to the carbon monoxide detector.
Top Kidde And FireX Brand Alarms at Home Depot.
Kidde Sealed Battery Operated Wireless Smoke Alarm. Item 974446. Model RF-SM-DC. $29.97
FireX 120 Volt Hardwired Alarm with Battery Backup. Item 343598. Model 21007581 $12.97
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers these general guidelines for safe alarm installation and maintenance:
• Install smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home, including the basement.
• Install a smoke alarm in every bedroom.
• Press the test button on each alarm once a month to make sure it is functioning.
• Replace the battery in a standard battery-powered smoke alarm twice a year. Alarms with lithium batteries can last up to 10 years.
• Replace all alarms every 10 years.
A working smoke alarm can help you and your family escape a deadly home fire. It can also help save the lives of firefighters who would otherwise have to risk their lives by searching a burning home for residents. A working smoke alarm continuously scans the air for smoke, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It never sleeps.
Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on installation and testing. Be sure to replace the batteries at least once every year or as needed.
You are twice as likely to die in a house fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm. Most fires start at night and the real killer is smoke. If you are asleep and you don’t have a smoke alarm to wake you up, your chances of survival are virtually zero. Smoke alarms are inexpensive, easy to install and give you extra time to escape.
Three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke and potentially saving your life and loved ones.
By Victoria Stone