What Are the Different Types of Smoke Detectors That Exist Today?

Between 2014-2018, the US fire departments responded to over 353,000 house fires each year that resulted in a yearly average of 2,620 civilian deaths. Having a smoke alarm in your house is said to reduce the chances of death by 50%.

There are a few different types of smoke detectors to choose from, so it’s important to understand which is the best smoke detector for your home. In this article, we’ll take a look closer look at the best smoke alarms to keep you and your home safe.

Ionization Smoke Detectors

Ionization smoke detectors work best at detecting fires with aggressive open flames. These tend to be the most popular smoke alarms in homes because most fires in homes are started by flammable liquids, paper, or wood.

Inside an ionization smoke detector is a chamber. Inside the chamber are two electrically charged metal plates and a small amount of radioactive material between them. If smoke enters the chamber it reacts with the radioactive material disrupting the current. This sets off the alarm

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Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

Photoelectric smoke detectors work best at detecting smoldering fires that fill the room with fumes before breaking out into an open fire. These fires most commonly start in upholstered furniture and mattresses.

A photoelectric smoke detector uses light to detect fires. Inside the fire alarm, there is an LED light that shoots in a straight line across a light-sensing chamber. When the smoke from a fire rises into the chamber it causes the beam of light to deflect from its straight path.

Instead of the light traveling straight across the chamber, it is now reflected onto another sensor within the light-sensing chamber. When the light hits the sensor, the alarm is set off.

Dual Sensor Smoke Detectors

Most people will choose one of the above depending on the most likely type of fire in the room they are installing a smoke detector. Photoelectric smoke detectors are best suited to living rooms and bedrooms. Ionization smoke detectors are better suited to the kitchen. But this is still somewhat of a guessing game.

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Dual sensor smoke detectors remove the game of chance and contain both photoelectric and ionization sensor chambers.

Powering Your Smoke Detector

The final decision you have to make when installing a smoke detector is how it will be powered. Smoke detectors don’t rely on a lot of power so many people opt to use battery-powered smoke detectors.

Battery-powered smoke detectors are cheaper and require very little maintenance. You do run the risk of being caught off guard with a dead battery though.

The better option is a hardwired smoke detector that is wired directly into your home’s power supply. These still use batteries, but only as a backup supply if your home loses power.

We highly recommended opting for a series of hardwired smoke detectors throughout your home no matter what types of smoke detectors you use.

Understanding the Different Types of Smoke Detectors

Now you know about the three different types of smoke detectors you can decide on the best for your home. Just remember that it’s impossible to predict the type of fire that might break out in your home so it’s beneficial to be prepared for every possibility.

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For more useful tips for in and around the home, be sure to take a look at our other articles.

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