Yes, there are in fact two different types of smoke detectors – the ionization smoke detector, and the photoelectric smoke detector. Which kind do you have in your home? Most homes have ionization smoke detectors installed. Check the labeling on your smoke detector, if you see the word “radiation”, you likely have an ionization detector. If you see the letter “P”, you likely have a photoelectric detector. They both use different technologies to warn you of possible smoke/fire. So which one should you use in your home? The newer technology of photoelectric smoke detectors claims to be able to detect smoldering fires MUCH sooner, and create less false alarms. Ionization detectors, however, claim to be able to detect fast flaming fires a little bit sooner than photoelectric detectors. Studies show that a huge problem with ionization detectors is that many people disable them because of false alarms (such as burning your toast) and they disable the smoke detector to quiet it - and never hook it back up, which of course can be VERY dangerous. So which type should you choose? That decision is completely up to you. No matter which type you choose, you should always have working smoke detectors in your home. For getting the most protection, smoke alarm manufacturers suggest you use BOTH kinds – that way you have both types of technology on your side.
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