1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Type Of Particles For Triggering An Ionization Smoke Detector ?


    For an ionization type of smoke detector, is it only small particles of
    combustion that will trigger it, or
    most any type of particle in the appropriate size range ?

    (if combustion particles only, what would be some examples, please ?)

    Same question for a photoelectric type ?


  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Default Particles

    Both ionizing and photoelectric smoke detectors will alarm when the path is obstructed by particles; the origin of these particles (smoke versus dust, etc.) does not matter. They are not picky. I've seen photoelectric models set off by gnats and other small flying insects; I'm pretty sure the ionizing ones would do the same.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    THEFIRENUT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    East Texas

    Default Ionization vs. Photoelectric

    The main difference in the two detectors is that Ionization detectors respond more quickly to flaming fires with smaller combustion particles; photoelectric detectors respond more quickly to smoldering fires.

    However, both ionization and photoelectric detectors are effective smoke sensors. Both types of smoke detectors must pass the same test to be certified as UL smoke detectors. You can purchase some units that have both ionization & photoelectric sensors. And with a little more money, you can include heat sensors.

    Pros & Cons:

    Ionization detectors are less expensive than photoelectric detectors, but some users purposely disable them because they are more likely to sound an alarm from normal cooking due to their sensitivity to minute smoke particles.

    Ionization detectors have a degree of built-in security not inherent to photoelectric detectors. When the battery starts to fail in an ionization detector, the ion current falls and the alarm sounds, warning that it is time to change the battery before the detector becomes ineffective.

    Back-up batteries may be used for photoelectric detectors.
    Last edited by THEFIRENUT; 05-10-2007 at 03:25 AM.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

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