It is probably quite evident that there are a number of fire alarms available, and at significantly varying prices, so it may be tough to understand the differences between Optical, Ionisation and Heat alarms. This guide is aimed at taking some of that misunderstandings away.
So what is the difference between the models? As stated above you can find three types of alarm, each featuring its own uses.
Optical Alarm: This kind of smoke alarm usually uses an infrared beam between two points, the alarm being triggered in case the beam be disturbed. In much the same way as a criminal might trip a burglar alarm when breaking in to a bank vault or museum in the movies, in the event the beam is broken, the alarm should go off. It detects larger smoke particles best.
Ionisation Alarm: These alarms use 2 small plates (one charged positively, one negatively) and an alpha particle source to create a constant current running throughout the gap between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber it interferes with this process, interrupting the charge. When the charge drops, the alarm goes off. These alarms are best at detecting smaller smoke particles.
Heat Alarms: A heat alarm will trigger when the room temperature reaches a certain level. They are doing not detect smoke, and they are not for use as a substitute for any smoke alarm, but should be utilized in assisting these alarms for greater fire detection.
So why do we need various kinds of fire alarm?
Various kinds of alarm exist due to the several types of fire. Surprisingly, fires act in different ways depending on what exactly is burning, and it is important to identify the fire as soon as possible. Different alarms are better at discovering different fires, and selecting the best alarm for the best room could keep your life some day.
Fires could be particularly smokey, often brought on by the burning of papers or clothing etc, and burn rapidly, producing smaller smoke particles. The Ionisation alarms are better at detecting these fires.
Other fires can be a lot less smokey, often being harder to detect, and are due to the burning of carpets, sofas or electrical devices. These fires often burn less rapidly, producing larger smoke particles. Optical alarms will likely be better at detecting these fires.
Which fire alarm do you need? This post is meant being a general guide, as well as for more descriptive safety advice it is highly recommended which you contact Fire alarms Cheshire. This being said, the information below should enable you to decide.
Optical alarm: Family room, dining area, hallway
Ionisation alarm: Bedrooms, walk in wardrobes
Heat alarms: Dusty areas like garages, unconverted lofts etc in which the dust could interfere with the other alarm types.
Alarms can be purchased as either battery operated, or mains byskyu with battery backup. The mains alarms will continue to work for an occasion after power is lost towards the unit, only as a backup. If it is the case, mains should be restored to the unit straight away, or the battery changed.
Some alarms even have a choice of interconnectivity, meaning if one alarm sounds, then all of the alarms sound. This can be highly beneficial in larger properties where one alarm may not be heard by everyone. The concept would be to boost the alarm to everybody straight away – the moment a fire starts – and getting the alarms linked together will achieve this.
Fires are accountable for a large number of deaths each year, as we know through the adverts broadcast on television or radio. This is a fact, and may be reduced by just checking your alarm to make sure that it really works, and that it is the proper alarm for that location it is placed. Be aware that alarms need replacing after a certain amount of time, which is worth checking on the unit and to note the replace by date. If you are unsure, check with the local Fire Service.