5 Types of Fire and Smoke Alarm
Fire and smoke alarms are essential for any property. They keep occupants safe as well as preventing major damage to the building itself. Not to mention being a legal requirement for landlords and commercial properties.
In most cases, that requires more than just one type of alarm. In this post, we’ll look at five types of fire and smoke alarm and why they’re useful.
1. Ionization smoke alarms
The most common type of smoke alarm is an ionization alarm. Radioactive material sits between two charges plates, ionizing the air to create a flow of current. When smoke enters, it disrupts the flow, reduces the current and activates the alarm.
This is ideal for detecting flaming fires, which rise higher within a room.
2. Photoelectric smoke alarms
Photoelectric smoke alarms use an LED light and a sensor (within a chamber) to detect smoke. The light source is angled away from the sensor, and only reflects onto it when smoke enters the sensor’s chamber, triggering the alarm.
While they are less common than ionization smoke alarms, they are better for responding to smouldering fires rather than those with flames.
3. Fixed temperature heat alarms
Heat alarms are ideal for areas where high heat and smoke might normally occur. Placing a normal smoke alarm in a kitchen, for example, would cause far too many false alarms.
A fixed temperature heat alarm has a heat sensitive element which melts down at a certain temperature to trigger the alarm. This essentially alerts you to a high temperature which wouldn’t normally be present even in a hot environment.
4. Rate-of-rise heat alarm
Slightly more advanced, rate-of-rise heat sensors work by detecting an unusual rise in heat. If the temperature goes up by 7°C, for example, in the space of a minute, the alarm will be triggered. The main benefit of this is that it can be used at lower temperatures than its fixed temperature counterpart.
5. Carbon monoxide alarms
While not strictly a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide sensors detect one of the most dangerous gases in the air. Anything that’s powered by fuel – including gas, oil and wood – can potentially emit carbon monoxide.
If you’re exposed to it, carbon monoxide can displace oxygen in your blood, depriving vital organs. A carbon monoxide alarm will alert you to any carbon monoxide in the air, so you can get specialist help as soon as it’s detected.
Some additional options
Within these five types of smoke and fire alarm, you’ll find a few extra variations…
Wired vs wireless
Wireless smoke alarms are generally superior to wired detectors as they are easier to install and pose no risk to your home’s wiring should a fire break out. That said, with wireless alarms, you’ll need to make sure you replace the batteries as soon as it’s required.
Smart – Audible, visual
Another difference comes in the way alarms alert you. The vast majority of alarms work by sound, with a high-pitched noise alerting you to the danger. However, for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, it’s also possible to get visual alarms which use lights and vibrations to raise an alarm.
You can also choose a smart alarm, which send alerts to your phone. This is obviously a big bonus if a fire starts while you’re out, but it can also be useful for sending notifications when the batteries are low.
Get the right alarms for your property
At Selectron, we stock a vast selection of the latest fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to keep your property and its occupants protected. Whatever your requirements and preferences, our security specialists can talk you through your options and find a safe, effective solution.