Wired vs. Wireless Smoke Detectors: Which Are Right for Your Home?

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Your smoke detector is much like your seatbelt; it may seem simple or even unnecessary some of the time, but when you end up needing it, it can save your life. Did you know that, according to research by the National Fire Protection Association, you are 55% less likely to be killed in a house fire if you have a smoke detector? In addition, over 40% of home fire deaths that occured from 2014-2018 took place in homes without a working smoke detector.

Since smoke alarms significantly impact consumer safety, it’s common sense to have one. You probably won’t be surprised to learn that building codes require them in every residential and commercial building. But what you might be surprised by is that there are actually two different types of smoke detectors: wired and wireless. Whether you’re shopping for a smoke alarm because you’re undergoing a huge home improvement project or you just want to improve your fire safety, it’s important to learn about the differences between wired vs. wireless smoke detectors so that you can make an educated purchase.

Wireless/Battery-Powered Smoke Detectors

What image comes to mind when you hear “wireless smoke detector?” You might initially hear the word  “wireless” and assume that your wireless smoke detector will have advanced mobile device integration, wi-fi control, or Bluetooth connectivity. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The actual difference between wired vs. wireless smoke detectors is that wireless smoke detectors are battery-operated.

As soon as they detect smoke, battery-powered smoke alarms use radio signals transmitted through bandwidth to sound the alarm and alert you to danger. Battery-powered smoke detectors are used in millions of residential homes. You might be a little too familiar with the chirping noise that signals it’s time to replace the battery in your dying smoke detector. 

Sadly, many people do not complete this essential maintenance task. Research shows that 3 out of 5 smoke alarm failures happen because battery-operated alarms are missing batteries. 

Wired Smoke Detectors

Unlike battery-powered smoke detectors, wired smoke detectors are hardwired into your home’s power supply. If your home loses power, good-quality hardwired smoke detectors can continue to function if you invest in one that has a battery backup. Some hardwired smoke alarms also have built-in carbon monoxide detectors. 

Wired vs. Wireless Smoke Detectors: Which to Choose?

Now that you know about the differences between wired vs. wireless smoke detectors, how do you decide which fire alarm system is right for you? Most experts agree that if you’re truly looking for the best safety for your home, a wired smoke detector is the way to go, and wireless smoke detectors should be used for backup purposes only. What makes wired better than wireless? These are some of the advantages of wired vs. wireless smoke detectors:

Wired smoke detectors are louder

When you’re in the market for a good smoke detector, you want one that’s loud enough to wake you from the depths of slumber. When one room’s hardwired smoke alarm is triggered, it sets off all alarms in the home. When a wireless system is activated, only the affected room’s alarm sounds, potentially costing you precious time you need to evacuate your family. 

Wired smoke detectors are hardier

Durability is important for your smoke detector. Most hardwired units are designed to last up to 10 years (and according to building code, every smoke alarm needs to be replaced after 10 years, including wireless ones).

Research shows that “wired wins”

It’s been statistically proven that hardwired alarms are more effective than wireless alarms. Based on the previously mentioned 2014-2018 research by the National Fire Protection Association, wired alarms correctly operated during 94% of fires considered large enough to trigger a smoke alarm. Meanwhile, battery-powered ones operated only 82% of the time.

Backup is key

Because wired systems operate using your home’s electrical power and a backup battery, they are more fail-proof than wireless smoke detectors. However, it is still essential to test your backup batteries at least twice a year to make sure they are working. (If you have a wireless system, fire prevention experts recommend that you check batteries monthly.)

Don’t put savings over safety

When you mention you’re comparing wired vs. wireless smoke detectors, some people may recommend you choose wireless smoke detectors because they are typically cheaper. However, shopping for the right smoke detector is no time to skimp on spending. The few extra dollars a wired model costs compared to a wireless one aren’t worth it if things go up in smoke.

Keep Your Home Safe With Us

At Wes Carver Electric, we’re proud to be some of the best electrical contractors in Doylestown, PA, and the surrounding areas. We’re ready to install all different makes and models of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Our team will take care of all necessary smoke detector permits and inspections, so you can rest assured knowing your home or building is up to code and protected from unexpected fires. We’ll also take care of that buzzing fuse box or provide service for other electrical issues such as tripping circuit breakers, outlet malfunctions, and more. Get in touch with us today and get one step closer to protecting your home and family.