Different types of smoke detectorsMayara
If you are looking for a smoke detector, you should know that they might look all the same, but they are not. Depending on where you need to install your device and your building’s occupancy classification, you will need specific characteristics and distinct ways to detect smoke. From the method of detection to the specific power supply your device requires, find out more about different types of smoke detectors and figure out which one fits your needs the better.
Where do I need smoke detectors?
Generally speaking, we could say that all types of buildings require smoke detectors. Not all of them need a complete fire alarm system, but even simple houses or small spaces should be equipped with the basics of fire protection. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the precondition for a building to have a fire alarm system installed is related to its occupancy and hazard of contents.
The type of activities performed inside a building, the number of people involved in such activities, and the risk involved are directly related to how a fire might occur. Such characteristics should be counted in when determining the type and quantity of smoke detectors you need.
Also, different ambients and the components inside a room produce distinct types of smoke in the event of a fire. Flaming fires produce a different type of smoke than smoldering fires, for example. Considering this, you should be equipped with the right device for any situation. Check the most common smoke detectors below.
Ionization smoke detectors
The most known smoke detectors are ionization and photoelectric. Both perform well when detecting different types of smoke. Still, some features entail specific devices to perform better in particular situations. Ionization smoke detectors tend to respond better to smoke produced by flaming fire, for example.
This device uses ionized particles to detect the presence of smoke. Each ionization smoke detector carries a small amount of radioactive material placed between two electrically charged plates. The reaction between these elements causes the ionization of air and creates a current between the two plates. When smokes enter the chamber, the flow is disrupted, and the alarm is triggered.
Understanding the process makes it easier to visualize why this type of smoke detector would work better with smoke produced by flaming fire, right? The more aggressive and open the flames, the thicker the smoke, and the easiest for the device to detect it.
Photoelectric smoke detectors
One of the advantages of photoelectric smoke detectors is that this type of detection tends to work better at an early stage. It means that photoelectric smoke detectors respond better to smoldering fires.
These devices use a light source and a light sensor to detect smoke. The light source inside the sensing chamber is positioned at an angle away from the sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, though, smoke particles block the light beam, partially reflecting light onto the sensor, that triggers the alarm.
Now, if one type of smoke detector works better with flaming fires and the other type works better with smoldering fires, which one should you choose? The best answer would be both. In fact, the US Fire Administration recommends every home to be equipped with ionization and photoelectric smoke detectors or dual sensor smoke alarms.
Projected beam smoke detectors
Suppose you need to install detectors in big places, such as arenas, churches, or warehouses. In that case, you might need a third type of smoke detector. Following the same principle of photoelectric smoke detectors, projected beam technology detects smoke through beams of light, but across large areas.
The equipment consists of at least one light transmitter and one photosensitive receiver. Consequently, the receiver monitors the amount and frequency of light emitted, controlling any anomalies.
In the absence of smoke, light passes uninterrupted from the light transmitter to the receiver in a straight line. The transmitter activates to a sensitivity level based on a percentage of total obscuration. Therefore, when the smoke blocks a certain percentage of the light transmitted, a fire signal is activated.
While spot-type smoke detectors have maximum coverage of 900 square feet, beam smoke detectors have a theoretical coverage of 19,800 square feet. In this case, beam smoke detectors cover an area that would require a dozen or more spot-type sensors.
Battery-powered smoke detectors
Since smoke detectors don’t use a lot of power, many are battery-powered models and require very little maintenance yearly. However, you should check the device at least every month or every quarter of a year. Regularly cleaning and checking your device can avoid malfunctioning and false alarms.
If you notice the smoke detector beeping or chirping, it might be a low battery. Then you should check the device and change the batteries as soon as possible. Find out how to replace your smoke detector battery here.
Hard-wire smoke detectors
Alternatively to battery-powered smoke detectors, you can opt for hard-wired ones. These devices are wired into your home’s electrical system. Therefore, they require even less maintenance.
Unlike you might think, even though they are hard-wired, these devices still require a battery, which is not the device’s primary power source. In this case, the battery works as an auxiliary power source in the event of a power loss.
Where to find your smoke detectors
When buying smoke detectors, you should look for a reliable company that will give you all the assistance you need, within the response time you want. At The Fire Alarm Supplier, you can find all of that. We provide you with hundreds of products, like ionization, photoelectric, and projected beam smoke detectors. If you’re still not sure of the best solution for your project, contact us today.