Are there different types of smoke detectors on the market? Are some better than others?

There are two basic smoke detectors for sale in the U.S. – ionization smoke detectors and photo-electric smoke detectors. Ionization detectors use a minute amount of radioactive material to detect smoke particles while photo-electric detectors use a beam of light to detect the smoke particles. Ionization detectors are the most common and are relatively inexpensive, but tend to have more false alarms. Photo-electric detectors tend to have fewer false alarms, but are more expensive and sometimes are difficult to find in stores. Both detectors work differently and each detects a different type of fire more quickly than the other one (smoldering fire vs. a flash fire), but studies have shown that both are equally effective and normally sound an alarm within seconds of each other regardless of the type of fire.

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1. Is it true that smoke detectors have a life expectancy?
2. How many smoke detectors do I need in my house? I live in a 30 by 40 single-story ranch.
3. Where should I install my smoke detector?
4. My smoke detector started sounding an alarm the other day even though there was no smoke and I had just changed the battery a few weeks before. Is my smoke detector still good?
5. Is it true that there are smoke detectors that you don’t need to change the battery every year?
6. How often should I test my smoke detector?
7. Do you really need to change the smoke detector’s batteries every time you change the clock? My smoke detector chirps when the battery needs to be replaced.
8. Are there different types of smoke detectors on the market? Are some better than others?
9. My smoke detector is always sounding a false alarm whenever I cook. I know I shouldn’t disconnect the batteries, but how about putting a plastic shower cap over it?
10. Do I need a carbon monoxide detector?
11. Where should carbon monoxide detectors be placed?