Tag Archives: smoke detector


Blah, blah, blah (eye roll)…you’ve heard it once, and you’ll hear it again: “It’s important to service the appliances in your home annually!” However, is this truly necessary? 

Of course, in a perfect world, we’d do so, but in most cases you can probably defer, take your chances, and end up ahead of the game in the long run. 

With your heating system, however, I emphatically say: “Service your heating system(s) annually. NO EXCEPTIONS, even if it’s brand new!” 

Service is vital to extend the serviceable life of the heating system and maintain optimum efficiency (e.g., reduce operating costs), but also for safety reasons. 

 If, for instance, a crack develops in the furnace’s heat exchanger, deadly carbon monoxide can be dispersed throughout the home. Annual heating system inspections and service by qualified HVAC contractors could, in fact, be lifesavers, and they’re inexpensive. 

August (summertime) is a great time to have your heating systems fully serviced before the upcoming busy heating system! 

 TIP: Ask the HVAC contractor to leave a sticker on the appliance with the date and type of service. Then get on their schedule to return again next year (and years following) around the same time. 

 While well-maintained heating systems are essential for you and your family, consistent maintenance also gives confidence to future homeowners (e.g., would-be-buyers will know your home is well and proactively maintained). Finally, please make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout your home; I like the combination smoke-carbon monoxide detectors myself. 

There it is: install CO detectors and get those heating systems serviced! Super simple, super-smart moves.Do you have questions or comments about heating systems or home inspections in general? Go “All” in and tweet us (@AIHomeInspect).

Smoke detectors: Photoelectric, ionization, or BOTH?

Smoke detectorWe were asked to consider the relative merits and safety of the two main types of smoke detectors: ionization or photoelectric. Some say that ionization smoke detectors are prone to so many false alarms that users turn them off and they are therefore not as safe as photoelectric detectors. Others argue that their very sensitivity to flaming fires is what makes ionization detectors desirable. We decided to ask the experts. We queried the U.S. Fire Administration, National Fire Protection Association, International Association of Fire Chiefs, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, National Volunteer Fire Council, National Council on Radiation Protection and Consumer Reports. Bottom line: because ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors can each sense distinctly different, yet potentially fatal fires, and because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home, it is recommended that every residence and place where people sleep be equipped with both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR dual-sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors. See our article for complete details.