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Post 13 April 2014 In Blog

Why do you need a smoke detector?

A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whether you’re awake or asleep, a working smoke alarm is constantly on alert, scanning the air for fire and smoke.

For the best protection, use both types of smoke detectors

There has been a lot of debate about which type of alarm works best: photoelectric or ionization. If you're familiar with Consumer Reports' smoke alarm tests, you know that the answer is ... neither. We recommend both technologies to ensure maximum protection from fire. Here's why.

Tests of a dozen smoke alarms from BRK Electronics, First Alert and Kidde found clear strengths among the two technologies. Smoke alarms that use ionization technology were great at detecting a fast, flaming fire such as burning paper, but poor at detecting a smoldering fire, as in a couch or mattress. The opposite was true of photoelectric smoke alarms. That's why you need both types of alarm in your home. Or consider a dual sensor model, which embeds the two technologies in a single alarm.

There should be at least one set on each level of your home, including the basement and attic. Be sure to place a detector in every bedroom and outside each sleeping area. Interconnected models, called out in Consumer Reports smoke alarm tests, will all sound simultaneously when any one is triggered. That way you'll be warned of a fire in the basement when you're asleep upstairs. To avoid false alarms, don't mount ionization or dual smoke alarms in the kitchen, where burnt toast might set them off, or near sources of steam such as a bathroom, laundry room or sauna.

Please also keep in mind that more than 500 people die from carbon monoxide (CO) yearly, a colorless, odorless gas that's known as the "silent killer." Installing smoke and CO alarms throughout your home is the first step toward staying safe.

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