It’s also a story about photoelectric detectors, which, according to Fleming and our test, could be the difference between life and death.
According to Fleming, and as the Charlottesville test seemed to demonstrate, photoelectric detectors are faster than ionization detectors at detecting the larger particles released by a smoldering fire– by 30 minutes and sometimes longer.
And smoldering fires, Fleming says, are the reason to have a smoke detector in the first place. This is the type of fire likely to kill you when you’re sleeping at night.
Yet despite these assertions, neither Kidde nor First Alert print warnings on the packaging of ionization detectors to alert consumers that the detector won’t detect smoldering fires until they’ve erupted into flames– and that they’re more susceptible to nuisance alarms. Kidde even goes a step further in defending ionization detectors, claiming in an article on the front page of its website that “Studies show both types will effectively detect either type of fire.”
Seriously, forward this to your friends and clients.