There Are Different Kinds Of Smoke Alarms

If you are going to get a fire alarm system in your house, you want to make sure that you are getting the right one. You don't want to risk a fire that you aren't aware of. There are different kinds of fire alarms that you can get, including automatic alarms that will go off on their own and manual alarms which you would need to trigger. Other differences in fire alarms include a couple kinds of smoke alarms: ionization and photoelectric. What are the differences between those two?

Ionization Smoke Alarms

It is important to note that these smoke alarms have a small amount of radioactive material in them. It isn't dangerous for you or anyone in your house because the material releases its isotopes in very tiny amounts. It mostly becomes a problem if you need to dispose of the alarms. The way that these alarms work is that the radioactive material is held in between two electrically charged plates. That causes the space in between the plates to become ionized. When smoke from a fire floats into that ionized air, it disrupts it and triggers the alarm. An ionization smoke alarm works really well when it comes to smoke from an actively flaming fire. 

Photoelectric Smoke Alarm

These smoke alarms have a small light source and sensor array. The goal is to have an unbroken beam in between the light source and the sensor array. As long as the beam is unbroken between the light source and the sensor, there is no problem. But, smoke floating through breaks the beam, which triggers the alarm. These alarms are really good at detecting the fire from fires that are smoldering, which are generally fires that are just getting started. 

Dual Alarms

A dual alarm is one that has both photoelectric and ionized sensors. That's because the different kinds of sensors are better at picking up smoke from different fires earlier. That time difference may not be a large one most of the time, but there are times that the difference can be large enough to make a significant difference, which will let you get out of the burning structure as quickly as possible. 

If you are getting a new system, you want to make sure that you are getting the right kind of alarm for your building. Talk to a company that installs fire alarm systems to see what they recommend.