There are 2 basic types of detectors: Photoelectric and Ionization. Photoelectric detectors are better at sensing smoky fires, such as a smoldering mattress. Ionization smoke detectors use an ionization chamber and a source of ionizing radiation to detect smoke. This type of smoke detector is more common because it is inexpensive and better at detecting the smaller amounts of smoke produced by flaming fires. Either type of smoke detector is a must to help ensure the safety of your family in case of a fire.
Air system filters are overlooked quite a bit because they are usually high on the ceiling and hard to reach. You should change these air filters out at least every six months or sooner if needed. There are all kinds of air filters to choose from, such as pleated, activated carbon, electrostatic and several more. Some air filters are disposable and are cheap to buy, and others are cleanable but are higher in cost.
When replacing the air filters remember to ensure that the air flow is going the correct way. The air flows from the house and then into the return air duct. Most air filters have an arrow to show the correct way to install them. When cleaning reusable air filters, follow the instructions on how to clean them. Below is a chart to show the MERV ratings. The higher the number, the better the filter protection:
Throw-Away Fiberglass - MERV 1 - 4
Pleated 30% ASHRAE - MERV 10 - 11
Pleated 65% ASHRAE - MERV 13 (65% ASHRAE is about 20% effective on less than 1 micron particles)
Pleated 95% ASHRAE - MERV 14
For more information, contact Scott at www.scottsauer.com.