Ohio has become the fifth state to require photoelectric smoke alarms in new homes.
In the state’s first official acknowledgement that traditional ionization alarms are insufficient, new building codes require both ionization and photoelectric alarms on all floors of homes.
The rule applies to new homes. It does not affect existing homes unless a renovation or addition involves the two areas where detectors are specifically required: bedrooms and hallways outside bedrooms.
For years, experts have called for photoelectric detectors instead of — or in addition to — ionization detectors. Studies have shown that photoelectric devices are better at detecting smoldering fires, the most common home fire.
Ionization detectors are considered better at detecting flames, although they are also more likely to be triggered by harmless kitchen smoke or steam.
“After doing the research, it was determined that both technologies are better than one,” said Debbie Ohler, staff engineer with the Ohio Board of Building Standards.