Does Your Smoke Detector Protect You and Your Family?

If you are like me, you bought smoke detectors for your home trusting that they would protect you and your family if a fire broke out.  It turns out there is some reason to worry that some types of smoke detectors are better than others at detecting fires in a home.

There are 2 basic types of smoke detectors – ionization and photoelectric.  And 9 out of 10 homes have the ionization type of detector rather than the photoelectric type.  MSNBC’s consumer reporter Herb Weisbaum reports today in an article entitled What You Need to Know About Smoke Alarms that this is because they are cheaper and fire departments have given away the ionization type of detectors for years.  But they may not be the best choice.  

Weisbaum reports that several states and municipalities are now favoring the photoelectric type of detectors because they are better at detecting smoldering – rather than flaming – fires.  

Perhaps the most important suggestion in this article is for people to consider buying dual-sensor models which combine both ionization and photoelectric capabilities.  This is recommended by Consumer Reports as well. I am planning to switch all our smoke alarms to these dual-sensor models.