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Emergency Lighting Blog

News and Information for Public Egress, Building Safety and Government Compliance

Monthly Archives: April 2015


Which Type of Smoke Detector Should You Buy?

When buying a smoke detector, safety and reliability should be your first concern. But with so many options, it is difficult to determine what kind of smoke detector will allow you and your family to sleep soundly at night.

There are two different types of smoke alarms you should expect to see on the market:

  1. Ionization: This type of smoke detector is best at alerting you to fires that are large and growing fast. Ionization alarms detect smoke by using a small amount of radiation. When smoke enters the air, the radioactive material disrupts the flow of electricity causing an alarm to sound.
  2. Photoelectric: This type of smoke alarm is best at alerting you to small fires that are smoldering. This alarm uses light to determine when smoke is in your home. When smoke enters a photoelectric smoke alarm, the light inside of the alarm is scattered.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the best type of smoke alarm you can get is both an ionized and photoelectric smoke detector. Since each one detects different types of fires, this will give you and your household maximum protection. You can also purchase combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors for maximum safety.

Of course, no smoke detector is going to be effective if you don’t remember to change its batteries. Three out of five home fire deaths occur due to inoperable smoke detectors. If you aren’t a fan of changing batteries and hearing beeps, consider purchasing a ten-year smoke detector.