We all agree we need fire alarms, but which detectors are the right fire alarms for your home? There are many things to consider when choosing a fire alarm. There are several types, each suited to different purposes and areas of the home. You’ll want to place detectors optimised for certain types of fire in the room they’re most likely to occur to ensure you’re alerted as early as possible. And you’ll also want to consider false alarms. Sensitive alarms that alert you early are great, but you don’t want them going off every time you cook.
Here are the main types of fire alarms for your home, what they do and where in the home they’re best suited to…
Optical Smoke Alarms
Optical smoke alarms are sensitive to larger particles found in smouldering fires that produce a lot of smoke. This makes them slightly quicker to detect these types of fires than other alarms. Upholstery and overheated wires both create slow smouldering fires, and therefore optical alarms are suited to rooms
where these are often present, such as bedrooms and family living rooms.
Ionisation Smoke Alarms
Ionisation smoke alarms are sensitive to small particles. This makes them particularly effective at detecting flames where there is rapid combustion but little smoke. Paper and clothing tend to produce fires such as these. Ionisation alarms can be prone to false alarms, so they are best kept away from kitchens where cooking can set them off. You should also keep Ionisation alarms away from open windows to minimise false alarms. They are better suited for stairwells and upstairs landings.
Heat alarms are an excellent option for kitchens. You want to avoid dealing with a false alarm whenever you burn a piece of toast. And heat alarms solve this problem. Unlike the other alarms above, which detect particles, these alarms detect temperature changes. You can go about cooking without worrying about cooking fumes or steam setting off your alarm.
This is also a great option for the garage, as car fumes won’t trigger the alarm either. Heat alarms go off when they detect a specific temperature, although some can also detect rapid increases in temperature and alert you to fast flaming fires even before the usual temperature threshold is met.
If you’re thinking, ionisation alarms sound great but also like heat detection. Or perhaps an optical smoke alarm is ideal but you’re also concerned about carbon monoxide. Thankfully several alarms neatly package different sensors together. You can combine rapid heat detection, smoke detection, and carbon monoxide detection all together in one device.
Mains Powered Smoke Detectors
In addition to the various detection methods smoke detectors use, you also have the option of battery-powered or mains-powered alarms. The batteries in smoke detectors can run out. A detector will alert you when this happens. However, a mains-powered detector offers a more permanent solution.
Of course, mains power could go out. This is why mains-powered smoke alarms use a battery backup. Furthermore, mains-power alarms can be interlinked so that all alarms will alert you when a fire is detected. The downside is they require more work to set up than battery-powered alternatives and must be installed by a qualified professional.
The Importance of Choosing the right fire alarms for your home.
The type of fire alarm you choose will depend on your needs. Whichever fire alarm you end up choosing for your home make sure you comply with manufacturer requirements and ensure that you regularly get the battery serviced, checked or replace batteries, as required. It’s not just about the legal requirement; it’s about the safety of your loved ones and your belongings. Do everything you can to make sure your home is safe.