Smoke Detectors - How to Choose the Correct One

In order to determine which type of smoke detector is best for your home, there are a few things you should consider before making your final purchase. One important factor to consider is the placement and type of smoke alarm. In addition, some insurance companies offer discounts for having smoke detectors installed. Ultimately, you need to choose the right one for your home and family. Listed below are a few tips to help you decide.

Photoelectric

If you’re shopping for a smoke detector for your home, there are a few things you should know about the photoelectric and ionization types. Photoelectric smoke detectors are more sensitive to large particles created by fires, while ionization smoke detectors are more sensitive to low-smoke fires. Photoelectric detectors are also generally more cost-effective than ionization smoke detectors.

While both types of smoke detectors work in different ways, photoelectric alarms tend to detect smoke much faster than ionisation alarms. Detecting a fire quickly allows you time to make your way out of the burning material before it begins to spread. The longer a fire burns, the more smoke and visibility hazards it produces. Hence, a photoelectric alarm is the better choice for homes.

Ionization

Smoke alarms with ionization technology can detect flaming fires. UL published an extensive study in 2007 called “Smoke Characterization Study” in which it tested smoke alarms using current standards Test and Tag. The study showed that ionization alarms failed the UL 217 test a mere 20% of the time. This is not acceptable, because it is necessary for an alarm to trigger in 100% of the cases.

The main difference between ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms is that photoelectric smoke alarms detect the presence of visible smoke particles from slow fires, while ionization alarms detect faster fires with smaller particles. Both types of alarms are effective in protecting the home, but the photoelectric alarm is regarded as superior in detecting smoldering fires. If you are considering purchasing a smoke alarm, it is important to consider the type that best fits your home.

Hardwired

Both battery-operated and hardwired smoke detectors have their advantages and disadvantages. Hardwired smoke detectors offer a better level of safety protection, but require little to no installation expertise. Both types are equally affordable, so deciding which one to choose is up to you and your budget. Before purchasing one, make sure to research the benefits and downsides of each type. Listed below are a few of the pros and cons of each type.

To install a hardwired smoke detector, you need to run the wire to the device from a power source. The power source could be an existing wall outlet, circuit breaker panel, or switch. When installing hardwired smoke detectors, leave the excess cable through the hole in the drywall, and follow the installation instructions carefully. For each detector in a series, the electrician will run a 3-wire cable with a ground between each one.

Combination

In one study, authors found that a combination of photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors triggered the alarm faster. In four of the fires, the integrated dose of CO reached the incapacitation level before the photoelectric detectors triggered the alarm. This indicates that combined detectors are faster to detect a fire with a moderate level of CO. This study demonstrates that smoke alarms can save lives in homes with multiple smoke detectors.

A study of the EN-54 standard shows that this combination is the best type of detector to protect people from fire. It covers the performance criteria and test methods of point smoke detectors that use ionization or scattered light to detect smoke. In addition, it details the dimensions of the fire room and the location of the detectors. The standard also outlines the procedure for conducting a standard fire to ensure that the detector is sensitive enough to detect the presence of smoke.

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