Should you be concerned?
Are you wondering what type of crimes have been committed in the area your looking to purchase a property in? or maybe
you would like to find the best and (worst) areas in Toronto to live in. Then you might want to start here:
Type and Age of Smoke Detectors.
To know the difference between ionization and photoelectric alarms, you need to take the smoke alarm down and look at
the back. Ionization alarms all contain a trace amount of a radioactive material, Americium 241. They’ll all have a warning
about this on the back side. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors DO NOT last forever, they actually have a 7-10 years
Make sure you look for this and purchase a unit that has not expired.
Smoke Detectors - Are you really Protected?
The one to buy will depend on the type of fire. There are two types of fires - one that creates smoke very quickly, such as
in the kitchen due to a fire in a pan called a "hot" fire and smoldering fires such as those in a couch burning slowly or in the
early stages of a fire.
Uses a radioisotope, typically Americium-241, to ionize air; a difference due to smoke is detected and an alarm is
generated. Ionization detectors are more sensitive to the flaming stage of fires than optical detectors, while optical
detectors are more sensitive to fires in the early smoldering stage.
Ionization smoke detectors are usually cheaper to manufacture than optical detectors. They may be more prone to false
alarms triggered by non-hazardous events than photoelectric detectors, and may be much slower to respond to typical
A photoelectric, or optical smoke detector contains a source of infrared, visible, or ultraviolet light (typically an incandescent
light bulb or light-emitting diode), a lens, and a photoelectric receiver (typically a photodiode). May be better suited for
those slow smoldering fires.
Ionization vs Photoelectric - Which One Do I choose?
Although photoelectric alarms are highly effective at detecting smoldering fires and do provide adequate protection from
flaming fires, fire safety experts and the National Fire Protection Agency recommend installing what are called combination
alarms, which are alarms that either detect both heat and smoke, or use both the ionization and photoelectric processes.
Some combination alarms may include a carbon monoxide detection capability.
NBC Today reported on how the most common smoke detectors may not go off in time...view the video.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors - its the law!
The Ontario Government passed a law in late 2014 - Ontario Regulation 194/14 requiring carbon monoxide detectors to be
in every home on every floor especially near all sleeping areas, such as bedrooms and or rooms that somebody might fall
asleep in, such as in an unfinished basement where there is a couch. For added protection carbon monoxide detectors
should be placed in every bedroom and as close to sleeping areas on every floor.
You can purchase models which plug into an electrical outlet or you can purchase a dual unit which is a smoke and carbon
monoxide detector in one package.
Placement of Smoke and Carbon Detectors
The placement of the smoke detectors are also very important. The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs website can provide
more information on the placement of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors make sure you look around the site it has
some good info. You can also look over CMHC's bulleting on Carbon Monoxide.
Where to Buy.
There are individual units, combination units (smoke and carbon detectors) or (photoelectric and ionization smoke
detectors) you can get them in battery or hardwired (house wiring) connection. Carbon Monoxide detectors can be plugged
into a wall outlet or hardwired. You can now purchase detectors with lights and even ones for hearing impaired. So many to
choose from. I recommend to do some homework, figure out which ones best for you...there are even NEST type detectors
now which may give you even more flexibility. You can also start with the manufacturer Kidde very popular in Ontario there
are other manufacturers, it's up to you to choose.
One last note - To this day even with all of the TV reports of smoke and carbon monoxide related deaths, I still see so
many homes that do not have smoke detectors and or carbon monoxide detectors. Many have outdated units, no units in
key locations and or units in the wrong locations. I also recommend that in basements you provide carbon monoxide
detectors and in some cases you may even benefit with multiple units depending on how the basement is configured, it may
be the law...read the Ontario Fire Regulation 194/14 for more information. Remember your family (kids) count on
you...better to be safe then sorry!
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Poisons in your home?.
Flame Retardants are used in the manufacturer of furniture products also (electronics, car padding and building
diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs are now showing up in peoples bodies and are thought to disrupt hormone signaling and
HBO ran a documentary based on flame retardants called "Toxic Hot Seat". The Dr. Oz show also posted a piece
about "How to Avoid Toxic Flame Retardants in your Furniture" it goes on to help you identify if you have flame
retardants in your furniture . The Chicago Tribune "Playing with Fire" has a website which has a six part series, also, if
you scroll down to the bottom you will find much more information and I also managed to find a paper by The
Environmental Working Group "No Escape" which has detailed information about the exposure to flame retardants in
mothers and babies.