For many families, the extent of checking for fire safety may be making sure the batteries in your smoke detector are still good. In recent years, however, studies conducted by organizations like the National Fire Protection Association have shown that just one type of smoke detector may be inadequate in detecting a fire early enough for a family to safely evacuate. See if your home is up to date with the most recent fire safety tips about smoke detectors:
Two Types of Smoke Detectors
When buying smoke detectors for your home, it’s easy to grab a few of the same smoke detectors to spread out around the house; but there are two common types of smoke detectors and having just one may put your home at more risk. The reason is that these two types of smoke detectors sense fires differently. To maximize your fire prevention efforts, it’s a good idea to have both an ionization smoke detector and a photoelectric smoke detector in your home. Here’s why:
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Ionization Smoke Detector
This type of smoke detector is generally more responsive to flaming fires. These smoke detectors will respond quickly to raging fires or fires with large flames.
Photoelectric Smoke Detector
This type of smoke detector is generally more responsive to smoldering fires. Smoldering fires generally begin slowly over a longer period of time and open flames may not form until well after the smoke levels become dangerous. A photoelectric smoke detector will usually give earlier alerts for these types of fires to give time for a safe evacuation.
Why you need both
Fire safety tips are now commonly recommending homeowners to have both types of smoke detectors for the best overall fire prevention. If a homeowner only has an ionization smoke detector, a smoldering fire may not be detected until smoke levels are already too high. On the other hand, if a homeowner only uses a photoelectric smoke detector, it may not detect flaming fires as quickly as an ionization alarm, which may give fires time to rapidly spread before the residents are alerted. If a homeowner has both types of smoke detectors, though, the home will be more prepared to detect both types of fires to alert residents of a potential hazard sooner.
It may be tempting to get by with one type of smoke alarm, but no one can predict the type of fire their home may face and every minute is critical once a fire starts. Homeowners who already have one type of smoke detector can easily buy and install the other type; combination alarms with both ionization and photoelectric technologies are also available for those who wish to replace all of their smoke detectors with combination smoke alarms.