Which smoke detector is best?

Ahhh…the holidays are here: cooked dinners, cookies in the oven, candles lit…so…

Which smoke detector is best?

We all had the once finicky smoke detector near the kitchen:

Screenshot 2017-11-18 at 12.32.07 PM

We want to be safe, but let’s eliminate the dinner alarm :).

There are too basic types of smoke detectors:

  •  Ionization
  • Photoelectric

Ionization Smoke Detector

This is the cheaper one of the two. And you guessed it: this is the “dinner alarm” smoke detector. Ionization alarms are generally more responsive to a flaming fire (for instance, when a lit candle tips over and ignites the tablecloth at Thanksgiving). Yikes!  

Ionization-type smoke detectors have a small amount of radioactive material between two electrically charged plates, which ionize the air and causes current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the flow of ions, thus reducing the flow of current and activating the alarm. (For those technical types)

Photoelectric Smoke Detector

This alarm uses a light beam to help detect the presence of smoke. This is effective for fires that from a smoldering source. A classic example would be a lit cigarette that accidentally catches on some fabric .

Photoelectric-type alarms aim a light source into a sensing chamber at an angle away from the sensor. Smoke enters the chamber, reflecting light onto the light sensor; triggering the alarm. (For those technical types)

Now they we know the two basic types of smoke alarms, which one should we use? Smoke-Detector1-300x300                First off, it is very important to have your smoke detectors interconnect, especially if you have a larger home. That goes for whatever type of smoke detector you decide to use.  Experts recommend both types of detectors.  The reasoning is because type of detector detects 2 different kind of fires rapidly.

First rule of thumb is again, make sure your detectors are interconnected. Even if you only decide to install one type.

The kitchen is a one of the most important place to install a smoke detector nearby. The best detector recommended for the kitchen? The ionization is the best choice because it detects flaming fires the commonly occur in the kitchen. How do you make an ionization type a smoke alarm and not a dinner alarm? There are two things you can do:

  1. Buy an ionization alarm with adjustable sensitivity. It will have a “hush” button that will reduce it’s sensitivity for a small period of time.
  2. Check you ventilation in your kitchen. Perhaps the poor ventilation is the cause of the problem.
  3. Go out for dinner! Sorry, I just had to put that in there. 🙂

If you need help deciding if your smoke detection system is adequate, or need help installing a system, feel free to contact me!

Happy Holidays!!!

Zach Shaw

Call (267) 371-3193