The Important Difference Between Smoke Detectors

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Many people have smoke detectors in their homes but not all smoke alarms are the same.

There are two types of fires and both can be killers.

There are fast moving flames rushing through your home and slow, smoldering fires that can burn silently spreading toxic smoke.

The most common detector in homes today may not give you enough warning.

There are three types of smoke alarms.

The most common type of smoke detector that is used in 90-percent of homes in this country is the ionization smoke alarm which detects flames.

The photoelectric smoke detector senses smoke and dual detectors are a combination of both.

All three were put to the test in both types of fires to see how they performed.

The first was a slow moving fire. They are often caused by electrical shorts, or cigarettes or candles. Over time, thick toxic smoke traveled across the ceiling and came down on what could have been a person sleeping on a bed.

In test after test, the dual detector went off first, the photoelectric shortly thereafter and the ionization detectors took twice as long to sense the smoke.

In one test, the ionization detector, the type most people have in their homes, never even sounded at all.

In the next test, firefighters set a fast burning fire, like a cooking or grease fire.

In this test, the ionization alarm detected the flames and was the first to go off, quickly followed by the other two.

Ionization detectors are the most common because they are the least expensive and easy to find.

The primary message is to know what kind of smoke detector you have, know that you have options and be an informed consumer.

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