How to Choose a Smoke Detector for Your Home
It’s that time of year again…time to “fall back” and enjoy an extra hour of sleep. This is also a great time to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors. Or better yet, consider replacing your smoke detectors altogether with hard-wired models expertly installed by Excel Electrical Technologies.
What makes them better than their battery-operated counterparts? Read on to find out.
What Is a Hard-Wired Smoke Detector?
A hard-wired smoke detector is a smoke alarm system that is wired directly into your home’s electrical system. If one alarm detects a fire anywhere in your home, all connected alarms will sound providing early warning and saving precious minutes during a fire. While they rely on electricity, hard-wired alarms are also equipped with a battery back-up in case your home loses power, providing an added layer of protection and peace of mind.
Types of Hard-Wired Smoke Detectors
There are two main types of hard-wired smoke detectors on the market today, ionization and photoelectric. Both detect smoke particles but with different processes. As such, their degree of effectiveness will depend on the specific fire situation.
- An ionization smoke alarm contains a small bit of radioactive material that sits between two electrically charged plates. The charge ionizes the air and causes a current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, the flow of ions is disrupted, activating the alarm. Ionization smoke alarms respond well to flaming fires involving aggressive and open flames, like those caused by flammable liquids, wood, paper, or open flames around combustible materials.
- A photoelectric smoke alarm aims a focused light source into a sensor chamber. When smoke enters the chamber, it reflects light onto the light sensor, triggering the alarm. These types of alarms are generally more responsive to large smoke particles from slow, smoldering fires, like those caused by candles or cigarettes left unattended.
Ionization or Photoelectric: Which Is Better?
Experts agree that any smoke detector is better than no detector at all. And no one smoke detector type is better than the other since every fire is different. Because fires are highly unpredictable, having both an ionization and a photoelectric is the standard recommendation as both are responsive and reliable. No matter the type of smoke detector you select, it’s crucial that you test your detector routinely.
At Excel Electrical Technologies, your family’s safety is our top priority. That’s why we recommend and install both ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors. Contact us today for more information about hard-wired smoke detectors or to schedule a free in-home consultation and new installation quote.