Smoke Detector: FSA Eligibility

Smoke Detector: reimbursement is not eligible with a Flexible Spending Account (FSA)

Smoke detectors are not eligible for reimbursement with a flexible spending account (FSA), health savings account (HSA), a health reimbursement arrangement (HRA), a limited purpose flexible spending account (LCFSA) or a dependent care flexible spending account (DCFSA).

How does a smoke detector work?

Smoke detectors are among the most ubiquitous home safety aides available that are placed in stationary locations in a building to warn the inhabitants about the presence of fire or smoke. According to Vivint, today’s smoke detectors began as “heat detectors”, which functions simply by incorporating an element that activates when it reaches a fixed temperature or a massive temperature change occurs. 

However for larger spaces like residences, smoke detectors are the preferred choice as they can not only sense temperature changes, but also to elevated levels of smoke that could be dangerous in an emergency situation. 

What are the types of smoke detectors?

The two most common types of smoke detectors are those that utilize ionization or photoelectric smoke detection. From the National Fire Protection Organization

Ionization: These smoke detectors 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, this disrupts the regular flow of ions, reduce the available electric current and triggering the alarm. 

Photoelectric: Unlike ionization smoke detectors, photoelectric alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. When smoke Smoke enters this chamber, it will alter the light being reflected onto the light sensor, which will cause the alarm to sound. 

Are smoke detectors qualified health expenses?

Though they play an extremely vital role in supporting public health and providing an advance warning in an emergency, smoke detectors are not used in the treatment of a medical condition and therefore would not be eligible for reimbursement with tax-free healthcare accounts.


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