Smoke Detectors in the Home

It's no dispute that smoke alarms (and carbon monoxide detectors) can save lives. Here's some information about the different types of detectors and the best ways to install them in the home.

Photoelectric alarms use a beam of light to detect the presence of visible smoke particles. Smouldering fires, such as couch fires, are best detected with this type of alarm. (1) The International Association of Firefighters recommends that these types of alarms are the best type as they can detect fires before a spark occurs.(2)

Ionization alarms are triggered when smoke particles interrupt ion current that flows between two metal plates. They are usually more responsive to flaming fires, such as kitchen fires that create more smoke particles.(1) It may contain some radiation. (3)

It is suggested that for best protection, both types of detectors be placed in the home. Another solution is to invest in Combination alarms, which would have both detecrors inside one unit.

To ensure that the detectors can reach all areas of the home, place one unit per room, and ensure that there is at least one unit per level of home. Follow the instructions on the best way to mount each alarm.

Carbon Monoxide detectors are designed to measure CO levels over time and sound an alarm before dangerous levels accumulate in the home. Place one per level of the home and follow the instructions for mounting. It is recommended that should a CO detector sound that you vacate the home and contact your gas company immediately.(4)

For more information, contact:
· (1) National Fire Protection Association:
· (2) International Association of Firefighters:
· International Association of Firefighters Canada:
· (3) Treehugger:
· (4) Enbridge Gas:

The information contained herein is accurate at time of printing and is copyright Bruce Witchel 2015.
For further information on real estate matters, please contact Bruce at 416-WITCHEL 416-948-2435 or by email at Bruce @
Bruce Witchel, Real Estate Agent
Mississauga, ON,
(416) 948-2435