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December 19, 2022

The Three Common Types of Smoke Alarms

 When a fire ignites in your home, fast action on your part is vital. The safety of you and your family depends on how quickly you detect the fire and vacate your house. Early fire detection also means the fire department can put out the fire sooner, which can result in less damage to your house. This is why your home must have working smoke alarms. Smoke alarms are especially valuable overnight when you and your family are sleeping. Three common types of alarms are the ionization, photoelectric and dual smoke alarms. 
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The Ionization Alarm 

This alarm contains an ionization chamber where the air between two electrodes are ionized. This permits a current to flow between the electrodes. When smoke enters the ionization chamber, it reduces the current between the electrodes, which triggers the alarm. The ionization alarm responds best to fast flaming fires such as burning paper. 

The Photoelectric Alarm 

This alarm uses a photoelectric sensor and a light source that emits a beam of light in its optical chamber. When smoke enters this chamber and crosses the light beam, some of the light is reflected off the smoke. This reflected light hits the photoelectric sensor and activates the alarm. The photoelectric alarm works well with slow and smoky smoldering fires such as a couch cushion that is smoldering from a burning cigarette. 

The Dual Smoke Alarm 

This alarm combines the sensing technologies of both the ionization and the photoelectric alarms. The dual smoke alarm therefore works well with both fast flaming fires and slow smoldering fires. 

Which Smoke Alarm Should You Use? 

The National Fire Protection Association recommends that you use both fire detection technologies. This means using either the dual smoke alarm or both the ionization and photoelectric alarms together. This makes sense since either of the two types of fire can occur in a residential home. 

Unless the manufacturer’s instructions say otherwise, test all smoke alarms every month and replace the batteries at least once per year. Smoke alarms have a limited working life and should be replaced every ten years. 

In addition to saving lives, smoke alarms can save you money on your homeowners insurance premiums thanks to safe home discounts. Smoke alarms mitigate fire damage to your home, which may be reflected in your premiums. 

Protect your home today. Call Mikel’s Insurance Services for more information on home insurance. 

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