When it comes time to replace your smoke detector, you may discover that it is also time to upgrade your older smoke detector to a newer version. New innovations in smoke detection have caused these devices to go far beyond “smoke detection” and have become heat and flame detectors.

Smoke Detection

The two types of smoke detectors are ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors. Ionization smoke detectors use a small amount of americium-241. This creates an electric current that can be disrupted by smoke. However, this version is much more likely to have false alarms. The second type is the photoelectric smoke detector. A light source deliberately misses a sensor when there is no smoke. However, when the smoke enters the smoke detector, this scatters the light and allows for the sensors to detect the smoke. This is more effective at detecting slow, smoldering fires. Since both smoke detectors are so useful, it may make sense to use a dual sensor, which uses both types. However, fire-safety experts argue that the dual type is not recommended because the ionization component leads to a delay in when the smoke detector goes off.

Heat Detection

An alternative to a smoke detector is a heat detector. This option is designed to respond to convection heat. When the ambient temperature reaches a point that indicates a fire, the heat detector goes off. There are both fixed and rate-of-rise detectors. The rate-of-rise detector determines when there is an abrupt rise in temperature, a sign of a fire. This can reduce the number of false alarms. Since both smoke detectors and heat detectors can be effective at detecting fires, it may be recommended that you use both in your home.

10-Year Alarms

If you are tired of replacing your smoke detector, there is fortunately a 10-year sealed smoke detector. These are powered by lithium batteries that are designed to last for 10 years. Since it is recommended that you replace your smoke detector every 10 years, this is a perfect time frame.

Other Features

Besides considering how the smoke detector detects the fire, you should look at other features that come with it. This includes smoke detectors that will trigger other smoke detectors in order to create a household alarm that will be more likely to be heard by all residents. Battery backup ensures that your alarm will continue to work even if the original battery fails. There are also versions that allow for the alarm to be quickly deactivated with the press of the button. Think about all of the things that you dislike about your old smoke detector and use this to determine what characteristics your smoke detector will have.

Talk to a company like All American Air & Electric, Inc. for more information about installing a smoke detector.