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Choosing Between Photoelectric, Ionization and Dual Sensing Smoke Alarms

The First Alert Store understands the significance of selecting the appropriate First Alert Smoke Alarm to safeguard families from the many dangers associated with the presence of smoke and fire. First Alert Smoke Detectors utilize differing technologies to achieve the very best result in offering steadfast protection. First Alert Photoelectric Smoke Alarms are an optimal choice for those searching for a reliable means of alerting an area to the presence of smoky and smoldering fires. These fires are usually defined by their ability to slowly engulf a surrounding area in flames. First Alert Ionization Smoke Alarms represent an alternative means of deciphering smoke and were designed to quickly respond to fast flaming fires. Flaming fires are characterized by their blistering speed and are usually attributed to cooking incidents or flammable liquids. The installation of a working photoelectric and ionization detector can be instrumental in saving lives. However, it's often recommended that homeowners seek to employ First Alert Dual Sensing Smoke Alarms that utilize both technologies for maximum coverage.

Photoelectric Smoke & Fire Alarms

First Alert Photoelectric Smoke Detectors were specifically designed to decipher smoke patterns that originate from slow and smoldering fires. Photoelectric smoke alarms utilize a light source in a light-sensitive sensor. The light is continually positioned at a 90 degree angle. When the presence of smoke agitates and scatters the light in a photoelectric alarm's chamber, the detector initiates its alarm sequence. The First Alert 10-Year Sealed Battery Combo Photoelectric Smoke & CO Alarm with Slim Design showcases this technology with the added bonus of detecting carbon monoxide. Photoelectric smoke alarms are a highly efficient solution that features the following strengths:

  • Employ light sensitivity sensor to decipher the presence of smoke
  • Work best in detecting fires characterized by their slow/smoldering properties
  • Reduced number of false alarms triggered by cooking/shower steam


  • Ionization Smoke & Fire Alarms

    First Alert Ionization Smoke Alarms are generally acknowledged for their higher efficiency rating in detecting fast flaming fires. Ionization smoke detectors implement a trace amount of radioactive material that's fitted between two electrically charged plates. The sum of these ingredients creates a steady flow of ionized air within the smoke alarm. The presence of any smoke within the alarm's vicinity will disturb this flow and immediately warn the surrounding area. The First Alert Hardwire Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery Backup utilizes the aforementioned technology, while doubling as an efficient means of detecting CO. Ionization smoke alarms are usually defined by the following traits:

  • Employ electrically charged plates to determine the presence of smoke
  • Work best in detecting fires characterized by their fast/flaming properties
  • Currently the most popular means of smoke protection due to general availability


  • Dual Sensing Photo & Ion Smoke & Fire Detectors

    Photoelectric and Ionization Alarms utilize differentiating technologies to achieve the same goal. Because all fires are different, it can be difficult to select the appropriate alarm for any given surrounding area. That's why it's highly recommended that homeowners seek to install dual smoke alarms that combine both technologies. First Alert Dual Sensing Smoke Alarms remove the guessing game associated with selecting an individual alarm's strength; they instead focus on providing one smoke alarm that's capable of offering maximum smoke coverage. The First Alert Dual Sensor Photoelectric/Ionization Smoke and Fire Alarm with 10-Year Sealed Battery use both ionization and photoelectric sensors to offer the earliest possible warning for either type of fire. The availability of First Alert Combination Alarms that employ carbon monoxide detection offer even more safety precautions for homeowners to explore when outfitting their home.

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