This upgrade was easy and the least expensive upgrade we've done to date on our Redwood, and in hindsight it's likely the most important one. After watching a segment on 60 Minutes last year in testing smoke alarms, I discovered that standard Ionization smoke alarms can take up to 30 minutes to sound an alarm during a slow smoldering fire.
For less that $20 we invested in a Kidde Dual Ionization and Photoelectric Sensor Smoke Alarm. It took two minutes to replace the old ionization unit, and now we have dual coverage.
From The US Fire Administration of FEMA:
"Ionization alarms sound more quickly when a flaming, fast moving fire occurs. Photoelectric alarms are quicker at sensing smoldering, smoky fires. There are also combination smoke alarms that combine ionization and photoelectric into one unit, called dual sensor smoke alarms.
Because both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires, and because homeowners cannot predict what type of fire might start in a home, the USFA recommends the installation of both ionization and photoelectric or dual sensor smoke alarms.
In addition to the basic types of alarms, there are alarms made to meet the needs of people with hearing disabilities. These alarms may use strobe lights that flash and/or vibrate to assist in alerting those who are unable to hear standard smoke alarms when they sound."
Lowes, Home Depot and most home improvement stores carry these dual smoke alarms.
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