Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

Unfortunately, carbon monoxide poisoning is among the major causes of poisoning deaths. This is in large part due to the fact that toxic carbon monoxide gas is colourless, odorless, and tasteless, and often affects people without their knowledge as they sleep. By having some reliable carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home, you can avoid ever having to worry about being unaware of a potentially fatal amount of carbon monoxide building up in your home. In addition to the carbon monoxide detectors, you may also want to upgrade or install some smoke detectors as well. These are just as important to you and your family’s safety by providing early warning in the event of a fire.

Types of Smoke Detectors

Most people are aware of what a smoke detector does, but not everyone knows about the two different types of smoke detectors and how they differ from one another.

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Ionization Detector

The first type of smoke detector is among the more common types of detectors found in people’s homes. This detector has a continuous electric current running through it at all times between two electrodes. When this current is interrupted by smoke particles entering the device, the alarm will sound to notify you of a potential fire hazard. One drawback of this type of smoke detector is the fact that the electric current can be interrupted by almost any small particle that finds its way into the device, whether it is smoke or steam. This means that the alarm may go off if you have the detector set up near your kitchen or bathroom, where steam and smoke will often be generated. As the technology behind the design of this type of detector improves, there are newer models that have a more precise range of detection however. The ionization detector is also a less costly option, and is often equipped with a battery power monitor that will notify you when it is time to change the battery.


This kind of detector is far more accurate than the ionization detector when it comes to detecting actual smoke from fires. They are particularly good at detecting smouldering fires and at differentiating between steam and smoke. A photoelectric smoke detector has a built in photoreceptor that responds when smoke causes a reduction in the amount of light that steadily reaches the receptor. Thanks to this, the detector will be less likely to let out a false alarm, but unlike the ionization detector, this type of smoke alarm does not notify you when it is time to change the battery. If you choose to have this kind of smoke detector installed throughout your home, be sure to remember to change the batteries on an annual basis. Pick a day that will be easy to remember, like New Years Day or a birthday.

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With help from Vancouver’s residential electrical service experts at Highmark Electric, you can start protecting your household from fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Our team of certified electricians can help you find the right smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that will work best in your home.