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Smoke Detectors, Local vs. System

One of the most common mistaken calls we get is when someone’s local smoke detectors are triggered.  For whatever reason, many people assume that the smoke detectors installed inside and outside each bedroom are connected to the burglar alarm system.  We have actually had customers insist that we are wrong and they are positive they are one system with the burglar alarm system.

These local detectors are typically installed by the job electrician during the construction of the house to meet local building codes.  They are not, and cannot be, tied into a burglar alarm system.  There is no auxiliary output on the detectors to be monitored by an alarm system.  The purpose of a local smoke detector is to alert occupants of a fire, while they are at home.

Local smoke detectors are all wired together so when one is triggered, they all sound off.   If you do have a system smoke detector connected to your alarm system, when triggered it will sound a siren on each detector and sound the burglar alarm siren, as well.  If you have a smart phone app for your alarm system, you will get a notification of the alarm.

Most insurance companies will provide a small discount on homeowners policy premiums if the monitored alarm system has a separate smoke detector(s) connected to it.  The sole purpose of this incentive is that in a real fire situation, if nobody is home, the alarm system will alert the fire department more quickly than if the fire is completely out of control and a neighbor sees flames coming out a window.  Quicker response means less damage to the home and a smaller insurance claim.

If you do have an alarm system with a system smoke detector, make sure to ask your monitoring company for a certificate showing the system is being professionally monitored and includes a smoke detector.  Provide this certificate to your insurance company and ask for a premium discount.