If You Have These Smoke Alarms, Get Rid Of Them!

By
Home Inspector with Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula
https://activerain.com/droplet/4XsG

If You Have These Smoke Alarms, Get Rid Of Them!


There are two types of smoke alarms, photoelectric and ionization. Which one should you use? Ionization alarms respond marginally faster to an open or “fast-flame” fire than a photoelectric smoke alarm. On average, ionization alarms will react about 30 to 90 seconds faster to this type of fire. 


However, nearly 100% of residential fire fatalities are from smoke inhalation and not from the actual fire. Most fatal fires happen at night while the occupants are asleep. An ionization alarm will respond 30 to 90 minutes slower to a smoldering fire than a photoelectric alarm. In these situations, a photoelectric alarm will alert the occupants and allow a safe exit about 96% of the time. Ionization alarms will give sufficient warning less than 40% of the time, meaning that 60% of the time someone may die!


A slow response time isn't the only problem with an ionization alarm. Nuisance tripping can occur when cooking, showering, etc. Many times, people become frustrated and intentionally disable the detectors, leaving their household completely unprotected. Approximately two-thirds of all residential fire deaths occur in homes that are unprotected. Ionization alarms account for over 85% of disabled alarms. Most of the remaining fire deaths occur when a smoke alarm sounds too late for the occupants to escape.




Significant research going back to the mid-1970's clearly shows ionization alarms are slow to react to smoldering fires. I
t has taken decades, but there is finally a growing public awareness of this problem. The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) recently took a stand, and now recommends that only photoelectric smoke alarms be installed. 


Which Ones Do You Have?


If your alarm has a “Hush” feature, it is probably an ionization unit. If the label mentions radioactive material, Americium-241, or if there is an "I" in
the model number- it is probably an ionization alarm. If there is any doubt, play it safe and replace the units with photoelectric alarms.








What About Combination Smoke/CO Alarms?


Combination photoelectric/carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are available. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. CO detectors should be replaced every 5 to 7 years. With a combination unit, you are either replacing the smoke alarm too soon, or relying on a CO detector that is past its expiration date. Separate units make more sense. Photoelectric alarms provide the best protection in real-world fires. This year, don't just replace your smoke alarm batteries – replace your alarms with photoelectric units and recommend that your families, friends, and neighbors all do the same!


Steve Stenros- First Choice Inspections, a CREIA MCI and ICC certified inspector provides home inspections in San Diego, Orange, and Riverside counties in southern California. Clients receive a FREE lifetime appliance RecallChek with every standard inspection. Steve can be reached for appointment at 888-335-3040. If You Have These Smoke Alarms, Get Rid Of Them!

 

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Re-Blogged 8 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
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  6. Dan Edward Phillips 08/08/2011 04:39 AM
  7. Dan Edward Phillips 08/08/2011 10:39 AM
  8. Gene Riemenschneider 08/13/2011 05:50 PM
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Anonymous
David

You get very useful info from blogs,sometimes.Thanks.

Dec 22, 2011 02:24 PM #42
Rainmaker
138,046
Steve Stenros
Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula - San Diego, CA
CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego

Glad it was useful for you, David!

Dec 22, 2011 02:33 PM #43
Anonymous
petercameroon

I have veray Blogs       However, nearly 100% of residential fire fatalities are from smoke inhalation and not from the actual fire.


<a href="http://www.alliedprotection.co.uk/">Fire alarm servicing</a>

Mar 27, 2012 08:06 PM #44
Anonymous
William Streeter

I have wired smoke smoke alarms. They go off for no apparent reason. I am at my wits end. Can you help me understand why.

Jan 17, 2015 01:21 AM #45
Rainmaker
138,046
Steve Stenros
Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula - San Diego, CA
CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego

William: How old are your smoke alarms? If they are more than ten years old, they are at the end of their useful life and should be replaced (with photo-electric type) anyhow. It's hard to say why they may be sounding off. It could either be alarm failure or a wiring issue...

Jan 17, 2015 02:37 AM #46
Rainmaker
1,471,105
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

The NFPA recommends having one alarm on each level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside each sleeping area.

Oct 25, 2017 12:28 PM #47
Anonymous
leanne

omg need help my smoke alarm keep going off when no smoke is there goes off when im out the house too getting phone calls from my neighbour about them or getting woke up at 5.30 am with them going off

Dec 05, 2017 02:46 PM #48
Rainmaker
138,046
Steve Stenros
Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula - San Diego, CA
CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego

You probably need to replace them, Leanne. They are only good for 10 years... Suggest replacement with photo-electric type!

Dec 05, 2017 02:50 PM #49
Anonymous
Babak

Hi Steve,My photosensitive smoke alarms keep going off. My house is only 3 yo. But only one is the culprit. I changed the battery but as soon as I plug it in, it sets off all the alarms. Is this a bad smoke detector or do I have electrical problems. Thansk

Nov 17, 2018 09:49 AM #50
Rainmaker
138,046
Steve Stenros
Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula - San Diego, CA
CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego

Babak,

I think you have a bad alarm. Try replacing it...

Nov 17, 2018 03:34 PM #51
Anonymous
Jenna Daniels

My fire alarm keep randomly keeps going off. It beeps a couple times and then shuts off and sometimes it goes off again. I can’t tell which one is going off because it happens so quickly. I’m thinking it’s the one close to our water heater. Could it be causing it to be going off?

Nov 28, 2018 05:26 AM #52
Rainmaker
138,046
Steve Stenros
Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula - San Diego, CA
CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego

You'll probably have to disconnect one at a time and use the process of elimination to determine which one it is.

If the alarm near the water heater is a combo alarm (smoke and CO), you may have a possible hazardous condition there...

Nov 28, 2018 08:39 AM #53
Anonymous
Cristina

Hello, I have a photoelectric smoke alarm, 4 upstairs and 1 downstairs. They all went off overnight at the same time 4 times. Thankfully no fire. What can be causing this! Each of the ones upstairs are in bedrooms near the door and one downstairs in the luvingroom. Each bedroom has a ceiling fan could that be the cause blowing dust? It's seems that the main one that's connected to the electrical is the only one that had a red blinking light when it goes off all others are green. Could that be the bad one? I just bought my home so I don't know how old it is. Please help!

Mar 20, 2019 04:01 AM #54
Anonymous
Cristina

Hello, I have a photoelectric smoke alarm, 4 upstairs and 1 downstairs. They all went off overnight at the same time 4 times. Thankfully no fire. What can be causing this! Each of the ones upstairs are in bedrooms near the door and one downstairs in the living room. Each bedroom has a ceiling fan, could that be the cause blowing dust? It's seems that the main one that's connected to the electrical is the only one that had a red blinking light when it goes off all others are green. Could that be the bad one? I just bought my home so I don't know how old it is. Please help!

Mar 20, 2019 04:14 AM #55
Rainmaker
138,046
Steve Stenros
Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula - San Diego, CA
CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego

Cristina,

Are they combination CO/smoke alarms?

Mar 20, 2019 07:46 AM #56
Anonymous
Cristina

Hi Steve! No they are not a combination of CO and smoke alarm.

Mar 20, 2019 06:22 PM #57
Rainmaker
138,046
Steve Stenros
Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula - San Diego, CA
CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego

It sounds like only one alarm is wired (with the blinking red light). If the bedroom alarms are battery operated, they are not inter-connected and will not sound off at the same time unless you actually have smoke in the house. Try replacing the wired alarm with one in a bedroom and see if it blinks red. If so, it seems like it could be a wiring issue...

Mar 21, 2019 08:48 AM #58
Anonymous
Cristina

They are all hardwired, but all the others are ion detectors not photoelectric and have a solid green light. The one that has a red flashing light is the photoelectric it has the solid green light with a blinking red intermittently. I blew in it to maybe blow out the dust, put it back and it's been ok since. Should I replace them all for the same photoelectric detectors?

Mar 21, 2019 08:29 PM #59
Rainmaker
138,046
Steve Stenros
Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula - San Diego, CA
CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego

Yes, I would replace them with photoelectrics...

Mar 21, 2019 09:31 PM #60
Anonymous
Cristina

Thank you Steve

Mar 21, 2019 10:15 PM #61
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