Frequently Asked Questions: Smoke Detectors in Westchester, NY

Smoke detectors are must-have devices for home and business owners. The right smoke alarm installation can save lives with alerts that help you catch small fires and smoke before a problem gets out of hand. If you often downplay the importance of smoke detectors in your residential or commercial space, you should reconsider installing an updated device for the safety of your family members, colleagues, personal belongings and investments.

After the recent tragedy that occurred in Brooklyn, many of our clients in Westchester have been asking us about their smoke detectors. Whether the ultimate decision is to change batteries, clean or replace the smoke detectors, there are a few things everyone needs to know about the technology.

By reading through our frequently asked questions, you can determine which types of smoke detectors are right for your applications, where to install the smoke detectors and how to test them for accurate performance.

What Fire Protection Should My Home Have?

Each city or town has their own sets of regulations that determine what type of fire protection your home needs.  As a general rule of thumb, most homes should have;

  • At least 1 smoke detector per floor
  • At least 1 smoke detector per bedroom
  • At least 1 smoke detector outside bedroom areas
  • Replace smoke detectors every 10 years
  • Both Photoelectric and Ionization smoke detectors

Recent Changes for New Smoke Detectors in Westchester, NY

Depending on the smoke detector, it can be difficult to determine if your unit is operating as intended. Most outdated technologies run solely on removable batteries that die with little warning. If your current smoke detector is over a decade old, explore your options for an upgrade with Knight Security Systems.

In 2019, New York legislators put a law in place that requires all new smoke detector installations to follow strict guidelines. Residential smoke detectors must contain a non-removable battery that lasts for a minimum of 10 years or the system must connect to your home's electrical supply. There is currently no regulation that states you must transition to an updated model, but officials highly recommend it.

Have our experts perform a smoke detector installation for your property in Westchester, NY. We pay close attention to the regulations in your area to keep you within compliance.

Different Types of Smoke Detectors

Knight Security Systems is dedicated to making your home or business as safe as possible. We understand that the smoke detector selection process can be intimidating, so we offer professional advice to draw up tailored solutions. Generally, smoke detectors can be broken up into two main categories — photoelectric and ionization.


Photoelectric-type alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. Smoke enters the chamber, reflecting light onto the light sensor; triggering the alarm.


Ionization-type smoke alarms have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionizes the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm.

How Can I Tell the Difference Between Photoelectric and Ionization Smoke Detectors?

The easiest way to tell the difference is by removing one of your smoke detectors and reviewing the rear of the device. Ionization-type smoke detectors will have a “Radioactive Materials” warning on it. The National Fire Protection Association recommends having both because they detect fires in different ways.  And yes... they make dual sensor smoke detectors that use both technologies.

What Should I Do if My Smoke Detectors Are Beeping or Blinking Red?

Many fires in Westchester go unnoticed for far too long because smoke detectors make a beeping sound, and homeowners decide to take them down. One important thing to realize is most smoke detectors have a backup battery in them. Although a smoke detector might be hooked into your home’s electrical supply, you may need to replace a battery. Although there are other reasons why a smoke detector might be beeping or blinking red, the most common is a battery outage.

The most important thing to do is to determine which smoke alarm is beeping and replace it immediately.  If you notice that all the smoke alarms are beeping, it’s likely they are all programmed to sound simultaneously.  As a practice of good habit, change all your smoke detectors' batteries at the same time.

What's a Monitored Smoke Detector?

Knight Security Systems introduces those in Westchester to security and camera systems that work alongside smoke detector installations. Get notifications sent directly to your smartphone in the event of a fire or emergency, and determine an appropriate course of action with a real-time view of your property. We help you see everything going on within your home or business for peace of mind.

A monitored smoke detector uses the same technology as the ones you might currently have, but they are hooked through your security system. If the smoke detectors sense smoke or flames, the smoke detector alerts everyone in the home audibly, exactly as a traditional smoke detector would.

The difference is, upon alerting your family audibly, the smoke detector simultaneously communicates with your security system and sends a fire signal to the Central Station and Fire Department.

The benefits of a monitored smoke detector include :

  • Protection if occupants of a home are sleeping
  • Peace of mind if no one is in the home during the day or away on vacation
  • Safety for pets or other stay-in guests that might not be able to get to the phone in time
  • A homeowners insurance discount of up to 20%

How Should I Configure My New Smoke Alarms?

Professionals at Knight Security Systems have over 50 years of experience crafting safety solutions. We'll visit your residential or commercial building to get your smoke detectors and corresponding technology up and running. We're here for you at any time of day or night with 24/7 customer support to schedule routine maintenance, check-ins, smoke detector battery replacement and more.

All of our technicians undergo thorough training for fire alarm design and setup.

How Often Should I Test My Smoke Alarms?

Regardless if you have Ionization or Photoelectric-type smoke detectors, monitored or not monitored smoke detectors, the most important part is that you stay proactive and always test your smoke detectors once a week.  The National Fire Protection Agency estimates that over 800 lives could be saved per year in the United States if homes had working smoke alarms!

Contact Knight Security Systems for Fire Protection Technology

Residential and commercial smoke detectors are your first line of defense against the unexpected. If you're looking to upgrade your existing fire alarms, Knight Security Systems is your premier source for Honeywell products that keep you in control of your property. Browse our home and business security solutions online today, and complete a contact form online for more information.

Make sure to test, clean and replace your smoke detectors regularly and if you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call at 914.232.0003

For more information visit the National Fire Protection Association at

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