What Type of Smoke Detector is Best for Home Safety?

What type of smoke detector is best to warn you in event of a home fire?

The National Fire Protection Association reported 384,000 residential fires in 2010. These fires resulted in 2,665 deaths, 13,800 injuries, and $7 billion in damages.

While Texas’ statistics are below the national average, they are just as alarming. FEMA’s fire statistics put our fire related deaths at 10.3 per million people in 2010. The 2010 census has Texas’ population at a little over 25 million people. So 10% of fire related deaths in the US occurred in Texas.

Houston is home to 25% of Texas’ residents.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 37% of fire-related deaths occur in homes that do not have smoke detectors. This is more than enough reason to invest in residential and business smoke detectors.

But which type of detector should you buy? There are several types of detectors, and it is important to know the differences between them.

Types of Smoke Detectors

Ionization Detectors

Ionization smoke detectors use a radioisotope between two charged plates. When the smoke enters the detector, it disrupts the current between the plates. The disruption of the current activates the siren. Ionization detectors work best on alerting you to high energy, flaming fires.

Photoelectric Detectors

Photoelectric smoke detectors use a light source. When smoke enters the detector, the light is reflected onto the sensor, triggering the siren. Photoelectric detectors work best with low-energy, smoldering fires.

Combination Detectors

Combination smoke detectors, while slightly more expensive, use both ionization and photoelectric technology to alert you to both flaming and smoldering fires.

Easy Installation and Operation

You have a choice of either battery operated smoke detectors are models that are hard-wired. The battery operated models generally use a standard 9 volt battery or long-life lithium batteries. The advantage of the battery operated models is their ease of installation. All you will need is a screwdriver and/or drill to mount your detector.

Hard-wiring a smoke detector is a little more work. Most high density buildings such as apartments and townhome communities use hard-wired detectors. When you hard-wire your detectors, they all sound the alarm if one detector is triggered. Hard-wiring is recommended in Houston’s building code because if a fire starts in one unit, all the residents in the building will be alerted to evacuate.

In single resident applications, a hard-wired smoke detector has its advantages. Most Houston home security companies will integrate additional security equipment into their monitoring system. If your smoke detector goes off when you aren’t home, your security’s monitoring center will alert the Houston Fire Department to a possible home fire.

When placing your smoke detectors, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. As a general rule, smoke detectors cover an area of about 900 square feet. Most manufacturers recommend that your detectors be no more than 30 feet apart. Be sure to check with your insurance company, as they might have further requirements for you to get the maximum discount on your homeowner’s policy.

Which Smoke Detector is Best?

Smoke detectors have a job – to alert you to a fire. The smoke detector you choose will be based on your own particular circumstances. However, the National Fire Protection Association recommends using a combination detector for maximum protection.

The NFPA recommends that you change out your smoke detectors every 10 years. If your detector is discolored, it is probably old and due for replacement.

Safeguard Home Security has protected Houston’s homes for more than 30 years. Call them at 832-469-4054 to learn how to integrate smoke detectors into your home security system.