As I have stated in a previous thread, I have been opposed to ionization-only smoke alarms due to their ineffectiveness at detecting slow smoldering fires compared to photoelectric or dual sensor alarms.
However, it looks like Universal Security Instruments (USI, the #3 player in the smoke alarm industry behind Kidde and BRK/First Alert) has come out with a new patented ionization technology known as IoPhic:
According to USI, the new IoPhic models are more effective than dual photoelectric/ionization models at sensing both fast flaming as well as slow smoldering fires, yet costs less than competing photoelectric-only models. USI also claims it is less prone to false alarms than a standard ionization smoke alarm.
This looks like it could be a good solution, however, as with any claims by a company, it should be taken with a grain of salt. Also, some will still be uncomfortable with the americium that is used in any type of ionization alarm. Since this is a closed patent by USI, neither Kidde nor BRK are allowed to come up with competing models using the same technological improvements, otherwise it would violate USI's patents.
For our new house in Gilbert, since it will have Kidde alarms, we just bought a Kidde PI2010 dual-sensor hardwire alarm (brands must match when interconnecting). However, the house that my brother lives in has USI alarms (one photoelectric, the rest ionization), and maybe if one of those ionization alarms fails or breaks a new IoPhic model would be an option.
What does anyone think about this?