Smoke Detectors: The Best and The Worst


According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 96% of homes and establishments in the United States have at least one smoke detector. We’re happy to hear that most Americans finally got the memo. But when it comes to smoke detectors, there are two main types and one of them is far less superior.

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The Two Types of Smoke Detectors

  • Ionization - these alarms use a small bit of radioactive material to detect the incinerated particles that make up smoke. This type of smoke detector presents a major problem: they’re very slow to detect slow-burning or smoldering fires and by the time it actually alerts you, there could be enough smoke and carbon monoxide in the air to disorient you or your family members. Unfortunately, these types of smoke detectors make up roughly 90% of the smoke alarms in the United States.
  • Photoelectric - these smoke alarms are nearly twice the price of ionization alarms, but they’re well worth it! They use a small beam of light to detect smoke which is significantly faster - 20 to 50 minutes faster to be more exact. With that said, these alarms are said to the best smoke detectors to have in your home, especially in the bedrooms and hallways. If you already have ionization alarms in the kitchen area, you can leave them for now, but we recommend swapping them all out eventually.

Don’t Forget About Carbon Monoxide Detectors!

Aside from smoke detectors, every home should also have carbon monoxide detectors to alert you when high levels of the toxic colorless, odorless gas are present. After all, carbon monoxide kills nearly 400 people each year.

You should replace your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every 8-10 years for the safety of your home and family. GEN3 Electric can install these life saving devices by ensuring that the device is up to code and wired properly. Call us today at 215-512-4102 to learn more!

About The Author

Bill earned a degree in Electrical Engineering and Architecture, then founded Generation 3 Electric in 2000. His father, an electrician, was his inspiration. These days, Bill actively manages his company and enjoys focusing on new technology and marketing.