When it comes to home safety measures, installing or upgrading smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is one of the simplest. It’s also one of the most necessary. Detectors are an essential element of any security plan.

At ADT, we know that the sooner we detect an emergency in your home, the better your odds are of getting out safely. Every second counts. Let’s keep your home safer by taking a look at how integrated detectors work and which type of detector is right for you.

Below we’ve got everything you need to know about wired versus wireless smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, so you can make the best security choices for you, your family, and your home.

What Is an Integrated Alarm System?

An integrated system of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, regardless of whether they are wired or wireless, means that your alarms work in tandem. When one sounds an alert, each alarm goes off. Should a unit be triggered in your kitchen, maybe because you forgot about dinner in the oven, every unit in the house will ring. Even if you’re upstairs, you’ll be alerted to the fact that there’s trouble.

Integrated systems are an improvement over single-unit detectors. You just aren’t going to hear one alarm going off in the basement or a room on the other side of the house. With smoke alarm and carbon monoxide integration, your entire house is alerted simultaneously. This can shave seconds, if not minutes, from your reaction time to the situation. The sooner you know there’s danger, the sooner you and your loved ones can get to safety

What Are Wired Detectors?

There are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that can be wired directly into your home’s electrical system, as well as your home security system should you have one. They run on electricity but have batteries as a backup in case your house ever loses power. This safety measure also means you’re less likely to have to track down the offending unit when one of them starts sending out a low battery alarm chirp at 3 a.m.

A professional setup is needed for a system of wired detectors. Many new homes may already have this integration incorporated into the build, however. Depending on which state you live in, this may even be a requirement. If that’s the case, you’ll only need an electrician to install each unit, rather than having a more extensive wiring or rewiring service performed.

If you live in an older home, you may need the entire electrical system evaluated by a professional before installation. More of a pain and costly? Yes, indeed. But if your home’s wiring is out of date or not up to code in some way, fixing this issue adds a layer of fire and carbon monoxide safety to your home. Faulty wiring is an issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.

Pros and Cons of Wired Detectors


  • Run on electricity

  • Integration means you’re alerted to issues farther away from you

  • Battery backup during power outages

  • Newer homes may already have hardwired, interconnected alarm systems built-in


  • Installing a new system into your home’s wiring requires a professional electrician.

  • Maintenance of the system may require shutting off power to your home completely.

  • Rewiring may be required when you replace your detectors if the model you have is no longer available.

  • Older homes with outdated wiring may need extensive work before your system is ready.

What Are Wireless Detectors?

Wireless detectors also give you an integrated alarm system while allowing you to know what’s going on at home, even when you aren’t there. Wireless detectors that offer this type of smartphone connection, so you get alerts right to your phone, are sometimes called “smart” alarms. 

ADT smoke detectors are professionally installed and customizable with both wired and wireless options. If you also have a security system installed in your home, these detectors can be incorporated and will be monitored by your security agency.

Wireless detectors run on batteries, just like single-unit detectors, but their signal operates via Wi-Fi or radio frequency (these units are marked “RF”). An ADT professional can ensure proper location and installation based on expert evaluation of your home. That way, you can rest assured, knowing you are covered, and your home is safe.

Older homeowners or anyone not comfortable with smart home systems may have difficulty adjusting to or may not want all the bells and whistles that come with wireless detectors. However, if you live in an older home with detectors that aren’t hardwired, selecting a system of integrated wireless detectors will save you from having a professional retrofit your home.

ADT wireless smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are monitored around the clock, but with smart home options, you can keep an eye on your home while you’re away. Phone alerts let you know when your alarms have been triggered, and with the ADT Control app, you can even unlock your doors to help first responders handle your emergency easier and faster.

Pros and Cons of Wireless Detectors


  • Stay connected to your home when you’re away through an app or text alerts

  • Add more units easily.

  • Wireless detectors are DIY-friendly, with no professional installation needed

  • Integrate easily with other smart home systems, including your security system


  • Run on batteries, so each unit’s battery will need to be replaced when it runs low

  • Signal range limitations may affect the connectivity and operation of units in larger homes

  • Increased “tech” aspects may make some people uncomfortable

Ease-of-Use Saves Lives

Finding the integrated alarm system that works best for you is important. It can even save your life. The National Fire Protection Association found that death rates are twice as high in homes where the smoke alarms have dead batteries or are otherwise disabled.

Additionally, older model alarms are often disabled for being too sensitive. Anyone who’s ever burnt their toast in the morning knows how obnoxious an unnecessary smoke alarm piercing the air can be. Steam from cooking or even your shower are also common culprits that see a battery removed from a unit or a unit removed from the room.

Newer models of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are much more sophisticated. They react more quickly than ever to actual dangers while also being better at distinguishing what is and isn’t cause for alarm.

Upgrading to these newer devices will prevent the danger of a unit being removed or disabled out of annoyance. So, the next time you find yourself considering taking down a detector that goes off every time you boil pasta, think about upgrading it instead.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Maintenance

If your detectors run on batteries, be sure to replace them as soon as they let you know they’re running low. Experts recommend that you test detectors monthly, as well, to make sure each works and is loud enough to be heard from another room. Be sure to check the expiration dates that should be stamped on these units, too. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors need to be replaced about every 10 years.

Whether you have a wired or a wireless system, replacing individual units as they expire is worth what may feel like an unnecessary cost. Just remember that doing so is an investment in the safety of your family and your home. 

With our commitment to providing same-day or next-day service, an expert will always be available to help you through any security decision, system upgrade, or maintenance. You can count on us to help you protect what means the most to you.

Integrated Alerts for a Safer Home

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are such small things. It’s easy to set them up and then just sort of forget about them. But keeping your home safe from fire and the dangers of carbon monoxide involves more than just occasionally changing batteries. If you’re still using single-unit detectors, upgrade to an integrated or smart alarm system the next time those detectors need to be replaced, if not sooner. Both wired and wireless detectors will create a safety net around your home. 

At ADT, we believe in developing and installing the security measures that suit each of our customer’s individual needs. We’re passionate about serving our customers and relentlessly test our products to ensure the highest quality of performance and security. If you’re considering upgrading your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, you can find all your smart home security solutions with us.

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