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Smoke Detectors


Alarms play an important part in keeping your home safe. Smoke alarms and other fire alarms can give you an early warning in case a fire breaks out somewhere in your house, it is recommended that you keep your alarms in working order. How many of us can say we have had our alarms go off for no reason, and next thing you know we are using a pillow as a fan to stop the alarm. There are two types of smoke detectors, ionization and photoelectric. Here are some facts of these two main detectors and how you can use them to keep your home safe.

Ionization Smoke Detectors

These alarms use a small bit of radioactive material that detects the incinerated particles that make up smoke. These detectors are also the most common ones used in a home.

90% of people use the ionization alarms in their homes, these alarms can be an issue with not detecting slow-burning or smoldering fires.

Most Common Types Of Fire Starters

  • Cigarettes

  • Frayed Electrical Wires

  • Fireplace Embers

  • Curling Iron, Blow Dryer, other heating hair products

By the time an ionization alarm activates, smoke and carbon monoxide levels have likely built up sufficiently and give you less time to escape your home and get to safety. The main reason for people to use these alarms is one, they are less expensive than the photoelectric detector and two, the battery tends to last longer. Since these alarms have a high false-alarm rate and can be triggered by smoke or air from cooking and showering, people disconnect or silence their alarms. Just make sure if you do this, you need to remember to turn the sensor back on!!!

Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

The second type of smoke detector used is the photoelectric alarm which uses a beam of light to detect smoke particles. Although these alarms are twice as expensive as the ionization alarms, they can detect smoke 20-50 minutes faster than the ionization alarms. That's a great head start!!

Which Alarm Should You Use?

Experts recommend people invest in both types of alarms. Use these alarms in these areas in your home.

Photoelectric Alarms

  • Bedrooms

  • Hallways

Ionization Alarms

  • Kitchen (if used at all)

In addition to smoke detectors, your home should also have separate detectors for carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning, causing many deaths a year. It is an odorless gas emitted by furnaces, stoves, grills and other appliances that burn fuel.

Ask An Electrician

Most homeowners opt for hardwired alarms which don’t require periodic battery changes to stay active; these alarms are powered by your home’s electrical wiring, so they’re always functional as long as you have power. In some cases, issues with smoke alarms are caused by electrical problems or insufficient current to keep them properly powered. For battery-powered alarms, all that’s required is to change the battery every few months to keep the alarm in good working order. With hardwired alarms, though, it’s a little more complicated. You’re going to need to call in an electrician to check out the situation, and they’ll either have to fix the wiring or possibly replace the alarm if it’s found to be defective.


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