We’re always telling you to check your smoke alarm. It’s not only important if you burn wood, or have a gas or electric fire. Fire kills, and can start from many sources, and so having a working smoke alarm in your home is of vital importance.
Have you ever wondered how your smoke alarm works? Here is a brief overview:
A heat detector is the oldest from of fire-detection. It has simple functionality and has a detection element inside, which activates when it reaches a fixed temperature. Heat detectors are not ideal for residential properties, as it’s the smoke you want to be alerted too, at the earliest opportunity….Not when a room is ablaze, and the heat of the room has increased significantly.
Ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors:
With smoke detectors you have three options, ionization, photoelectric or a mix of the both….
Ionization Detectors – These detectors contain radioactive material, which pass between two electrically charged plates. This creates an ionization chamber. If smoke enters this space it absorbs alpha particles and disrupts the ionization process. This reduces the current and so activates the alarm.
Photoelectric Detectors – These detectors respond better to smouldering fires. These work using a photoelectric sensor and light source. As smoke enters the chamber and crosses the path of the light beam, light is scattered by the smoke particles. This is what triggers the alarm.
Using Both Ionization and Photoelectric Detectors – The safest alarms use a combination of the two outlined above. This increase the levels of reliability in a fire alarm. Giving you the earliest warning possible.
5 Points About Smoke Alarms:
1: You should change your batteries once a year. Unless your alarm is wired from the mains electricity.
2: You may need more alarms than you currently have. Fires can start anywhere, and so it’s advisable that you have one in each room, and in each hallway in a home.
3: It’s best to have an alarm installed by a professional. If your alarm needs to be wired in, it’s always best to use a qualified professional.
4: Consider combination alarms. Alarms, which alert you to both smoke and CO (Carbon Monoxide) are a very smart decision. Especially so if you burn wood or use gas – anywhere there is a flame.
5: Check your smoke alarm. This should be done regularly, at least once a month. Press the test button and allow it to ring for 2 to 3 seconds.