Now as we established, the best detectors utilize both technologies, photoelectric and ionization. This is because large smoke particles (resulting from slow burning, smoldering fires) do not disrupt the electric current in an ionization detector as much as small particles (the small electrons and ions are able go around the smoke essentially maintaining a constant current). Small smoke particles result from a quickly burning open flame and do not cause the light in a photoelectric detector to refract as dramatically. All in all, if you can’t spring for the dual sensor, photoelectric is generally the way to go. But because we can’t be held liable, here are some people more certified to help you make an informed decision (link is also below): What Type Of Smoke Alarm Is Best For Your Home?. All in all, a false negative is bad at any time and a false positive is only bad sometimes. As stated before, thousands of people are saved by smoke detectors and systems every year. Many people are annoyed by false fire alarms because they lack specificity. Whether it be a reaction to boiling water, a steaming shower, or flat-iron singed hair, it is not uncommon for a detector to trigger a false warning response. The decision is not a trivial one. A majority of household fire related injuries and deaths result from smoke inhalation and not from the flames themselves. Disclaimer: the following video describes a tragedy and an interview of maybe the most uncompassionate person you’ll ever encounter (5:19).
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