Whether you’re buying a new Smoke Detector for your home or you’re looking to upgrade your existing unit, there are several factors to consider when you’re shopping for one. It’s important to find a unit that not only has the most features, but that will also provide you with the best value.
Ionization vs photoelectric
Choosing between an ionization vs photoelectric smoke detector for your home will depend on where you live and the type of fires you expect to encounter. Ionization detectors are best for bedrooms, hallways, and bathrooms. They are also used in commercial buildings.
Photoelectric detectors are better for detecting slow, smoldering fires. In contrast, ionization smoke detectors are more effective for fast flaming fires. These types of fires are mainly attributed to cooking incidents and flammable liquids.
Both of these types of detectors provide an adequate amount of time for people to escape. However, it has been found that ionization detectors are more likely to be disabled or not work at all.
Ionization smoke alarms are also much more expensive than photoelectric detectors. They are especially useful in areas where fast flaming fires are common. Ionization smoke alarms are also more susceptible to false alarms. Luckily, this does not affect the overall risk of dying in a fire.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology conducted a study on home smoke alarms. In the report, the Institute recognizes that ionization and photoelectric detectors work equally well in providing time for people to escape. They recommend that you install both types of alarms in your home.
In some full-scale fire tests, it was found that the difference in time to alarm between the two types of alarms was not very noticeable. But in other cases, the difference in time to alarm was significant. The ionization alarms failed to provide adequate egress time in about 55% of smoldering fire scenarios and in about 4% of fast-flame fire scenarios.
Battery-powered vs electrically-connected
Choosing between hardwired and battery powered smoke detectors is a crucial decision. A fire in your home could be fatal if you do not have proper protection. The pros and cons of these two types of detectors are outlined below.
While battery-powered systems are a lot more affordable, they require frequent battery changes. They also do not have the interconnectivity of wired units.
While both types are vital, the decision of which one is best for your home is determined by your specific needs. If you have kids or pets, you may want to consider a hardwired model because they are more reliable. In addition, a hardwired smoke alarm is often designed with a backup battery in case of a power outage.
A hardwired smoke detector draws power from the main electrical box in your house. You may have to hire a professional electrician to install your smoke detectors. Some of them can be interconnected to other smoke alarms in your home. This can save precious minutes in the event of a fire.
Generally, a battery-powered system is a better choice for most homes. However, they do not offer the same level of reliability as their hardwired counterparts. They need to be replaced every 10 years, and they will need to be maintained by a qualified electrician.
Carbon monoxide detection
Detectors for carbon monoxide are used to protect your home from a gas that can kill you. This dangerous substance can be a by-product of the burning of a number of common household appliances, including wood burning home heating systems.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, and highly poisonous gas. It can also damage your body’s ability to produce oxygen. This is why you should install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. These detectors are able to detect the presence of CO quickly and alert you when the danger is present.
Detectors for carbon monoxide can be either battery-operated or hardwired. Battery-operated models are easy to install and work during a power failure. Hardwired devices are connected to the electrical system in your home, and usually include backup batteries.
Battery-operated detectors should be replaced every five years. Some smoke alarms can be battery-powered, but you will need to monitor the battery. You can check the battery with a test button.
Carbon monoxide detectors are available in standalone units or as part of a smoke detector. You should have one installed in each living room, sleeping area, and outside a mechanical room. You should also have one installed in the basement, attic, or attached garage.
Carbon monoxide detectors are triggered by an electrochemical sensor. The sensor consists of electrodes placed in a chemical solution that senses changes in the electrical current when it is in contact with carbon monoxide.