Testing Smoke Detectors

When it comes to smoke detectors, we all have them and we all hate changing out the batteries when that ear-piercing screech bellows throughout the house. Even though this makes us want to throw a sledgehammer through the detector, we all know how valuable these devices are and the lives they can save. Fires damage houses and burn valuables to the ground, but smoke is deadly as it creeps into the lungs. This is where smoke detectors come in. They can identify deadly smoke quickly in order to save the precious lives in a house. In today’s world, advancing technology is giving us new products almost daily. The tough part is deciding which product is the best fit for a home or person. The same goes for smoke detectors. There are photoelectric, ionization and combination smoke detectors in today’s market. The most important question when choosing a smoke detector is which one will respond the fastest and most effectively when a fire occurs.

This question was answered in a test done by ABC News in conjunction with Montgomery County Fire Rescue (Maryland), where three different types of smoke detectors (photoelectric, ionization and combination) were tested to see which one had the fastest response time. The first test simulated a candle tipping over in a residential home, where the three different types of smoke detectors were set directly above the fire. The results came out as follows: the first to detect the smoke was the ionization in 44 seconds. Next was the photoelectric at 2 minutes and 28 seconds, and the last to detect it was the combination smoke alarm that detected it in 3 minutes.

The next test to determine the response time of the detectors simulated a fire started by a cigarette being pushed into a couch. This type of fire was put in place to replicate a very smoky and smoldering fire. The results of the test were as follows: the first to detect the fire was the photoelectric in just under 4 minutes; second to detect was the combination detector going off at just over 4 minutes, and last was the ionization which took 11 minutes and 41 seconds to detect the fire.

These tests were conducted to show that in order to stay safe, houses should install both photoelectric and ionization types of smoke detector technology, in order to detect any fire in the least amount of time. Only a matter of minutes can separate life or death, so make sure you pick the detector that will best suit your home. For any inquiries or more information on smoke detectors, give us a call or stop in at our local store!