Explained: The Different Types of Smoke Detectors

smoke detector

You already know that a smoke detector is a critical lifesaving device. What you may not know is that there are several different types to choose from. Let’s break down the pros and cons of each.

3 Types of Smoke Detectors

Ionization: An ionization smoke detector tends to be quicker at detecting fast, flaming fires. It generates a steady current of ionized air that, when interrupted by smoke, triggers the alarm. Because it is more sensitive to smoke and steam, you shouldn’t install it any closer than 20 feet to the nearest cooking appliance or bathroom door.

Photoelectric: A photoelectric smoke detector will alert you to a slow, smoldering fire faster than an ionization detector. When smoke interrupts a beam of light inside the device, it sets off the alarm. Keep it at least six feet away from a cooking appliance and at least three feet from a bathroom door.

Combination: A combination smoke detector is equipped with both ionization and photoelectric sensors to detect fast flames and smoldering fires.

Which Type of Smoke Detector is Best?

To be clear, an ionization smoke detector will respond to a smoldering fire, just as a photoelectric smoke detector will react to a fast flame. It’s the difference in response time that distinguishes the two. How much faster is one over the other? Well, the jury is still out on that. In some tests conducted by the U.S. Fire Administration, the response time was considerable and trivial in other tests. But because every second counts in a life-threatening emergency, the USFA recommends installing both types of detectors or a dual-sensor model.

From the USFA: Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, and because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home, the USFA recommends that every home and place where people sleep be equipped with either (a) both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms, or (b) dual sensor smoke alarms (which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors).

Turn to the Rancho Cucamonga Area Fire Restoration Pros

The type of smoke detector doesn’t matter nearly as much as its placement and maintenance. While a functioning smoke detector can get you safely out of the house in the event of a fire, only licensed, experienced restoration experts can restore your home to its original condition. For comprehensive fire restoration services, turn to the pros at Cut N Dry Restoration. To schedule your appointment, call (909) 829-5002.

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