questionschallenge: what is the best replacement hard…

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There was a lot of discussion about smoke detectors n a thread I started some time ago. I didn't know a lot of the information posted. Some of it may be useful to you.
http://deals.woot.com/questions/details/2e411706-4706-4b63-a806-916d295e57fa/does-steam-from-the-shower-set-off-your-smoke-alarm#27

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Still hoping for somebody's personal experience with changeouts. There are two types of smoke detector technology: ionization is best for fast moving fires (like the fossilized Christmas tree goes up), photoelectric is best for slow, smoldering fires. Each does poorly with the other type. They do make some detectors that have both types of sensor.

It seems every detector I look at has the same mixed reviews.

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A huge nod to noticing on changing them. As they're interconnected, they're probably all on the same circuit; the easiest way for the electrical contractor that installed them would've been to run 14/3 NM to all of them.

As for mixed reviews ... my experience is that false alarms have more to do with the installed location rather than the manufacturer. For some models, the connecting pigtails have changed, so I wouldn't put too much effort in staying with BRK; just stick to one brand to keep them interconnected properly.

Do get one with a battery backup; it's mandated in some jurisdictions nowadays.