Our smoke alarms went crazy today (again) because of the high humidity. This also occurs with steam from a shower. Do yours? This is a sign that you need to replace your alarms -- they are unsafe in addition to annoying.

I knew these false alarms are common with ionization type detectors. While I was reviewing the performance of different brands, I ran across the following article and the UL study -- which shows that ionization type detectors performed poorly with a 20% failure rate and slow response with smoldering fires, which could mean death.


See:

www.ashireporter.org/homeinspection/articles/silent-alarms-deadly-differences/2537

For all of the details and data see:


www.buellinspections.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Ion-vs-Photo-Smoke-Alarms-CREIA-092312.pdf

~90% of smoke detectors installed in homes are the ionization type, so you should check yours. Some makes include "ionization" on the product label on the back. Also look for "Americium 241", the tiny bit of radioactive material used in ionization detectors. If you cannot identify the type based on the label, look up the make and model number on the Web to confirm what type it is.

If you find an ionization detector, switch to a photoelectric model. Home Depot and Lowes carry them. For example: Kidde battery powered detector Model # 21008063, Home Depot Internet #100145111, Store SKU #376458 and First Alert battery powered detector, Lowes
Item # 986249, Model # 1039856

I hope this is helpful.

Mark Hays