Last Updated on August 9, 2021 by rampartsecurity

Smoke Detectors FAQ

Smoke detectors are often a set it and forget it item for homeowners. As a fire alarm company, we see the difference early notification from these devices can make. How much do you know about your smoke detector and the different types available? There’s no better time to do this than with the National Fire Prevention Association’s Fire Prevention Week on October 3-9, 2021. We’re exploring this year’s NFPA Fire Prevention Week theme: Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety.

What Are The Sounds of Fire Safety?

  1. When you hear a beep, get on your feet! A beeping alarm means smoke or carbon monoxide is present, so get out, call 9-1-1-, and stay out.
  2. When you hear a chirp, make a change! A chirping alarm usually means the battery needs replaced in electrician smoke detectors.
  Keep in mind that these sounds apply to battery-operated, electrician smoke detectors. These are the home improvement store and general merchandise store smoke detectors that are not programmed into your alarm system and not connected to a central monitoring station. Because fire safety is so important, we want to make sure you know how to stay say with either type of smoke detector. Non-monitored smoke detectors are usually ionization smoke detectors and when smoke enters, the ion flow is disrupted and triggers the alarm.  

How do monitored smoke detectors differ from electrician smoke detectors?

Most monitored smoke detectors use photoelectric smoke-sensing technology to detect smoke. A simple way to think of these devices is when smoke enters the chamber, internal light becomes refracted and triggers the alarm. Some have additional features to detect a rapid rise in heat even if there is no smoke. This means it can detect sooner, alert you faster, and give you more time to get out of your home.  

What is the key advantage of a monitored smoke detector?

Overall, the key advantage of monitored smoke detectors is that the fire department is immediately dispatched by the alarm’s central monitoring station. Therefore, if you’re asleep and do not notice the fire, or if no one is home, help is on the way before you even know it. The central station would proceed to notify the individuals on your call list while firefighters are on their way. You may also receive alerts when the smoke detector is not operating correctly. This could literally be a lifesaver later on if a fire does occur. Compare this to the non-monitored smoke detectors that you don’t necessarily know immediately if the device is failing. The 24 hours a day / 7 days a week protection offers many people peace of mind.  

What maintenance do monitored smoke detectors need?

Since monitored smoke detectors are available in two different types, hardwired or wireless, it depends on the type. The wireless smoke detectors will send a low-battery message to the keypad and beep. These batteries are easily replaced by the homeowner after putting the system on test. Hardwired smoke detectors will make the keypad beep when not properly powered. We recommend an annual fire alarm inspection for all homes with monitored smoke detectors, and especially for hardwired smoke detectors to clean and test the devices.  

How can a person who is hard of hearing or deaf know about the alarm?

Life safety experts develop devices that you enable you to “feel” and “see” the alarm. These alarm alert devices are triggered by the sound of the smoke alarm. For example, devices such as strobe lights, bed shakers, and low frequency sounders can alert the hearing impaired of an imminent emergency and allow time to escape. Remember to keep any mobility devices, as well as your phone and a flashlight by your bed.


If you takeaway one thing from this post, schedule an annual fire alarm inspection or set up an easy schedule of replacing the smoke detector batteries twice a year when you change the clocks.

Home Alarm Inspection Advantages

  • The comfort of knowing your system can call out for help when an emergency occurs after preventative cleaning and testing the fire devices and checking battery levels
  • Avoid waking up to a low battery triggering alarm in the middle of the night.
  • Prevent false alarms by knowing more about your system’s normal operation.