One problem with smoke alarms is that they can generate false alarms in places like garages, where smoke can be a by-product of normal, day-to-day activity. And smoke alarms that are prone to excessive false alarms often are disabled, which can cut the noise level in the house, but at the expense of fire protection.
In such situations, it may be best to avoid a smoke alarm altogether, and instead install a heat alarm. Heat alarms are not bothered by smoke; rather, they are activated when the temperature rises above 130 degrees F.
Heat alarms are not as widely available as other types of fire protection alarms, but you can find them online, generally for about $25 each. Some currently available choices are Kidde model HD135F, USI Electric model 2430 and BRK Electronics model HD6135F. All are hard-wired alarms with battery backups. Heat alarms are best thought of as additions to, not substitutes for, more traditional smoke alarms. For more information on alarms, see Shopping for a Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detector.
Photo © Kidde