Types of Fire Alarms

By: peakalarm914 | Posted: 07th April 2010

Fire alarms are vital to the protection of your home, family, and property from the threat of a debilitating fire. Fire alarms detect fire (or more commonly, smoke) and set off an alarm to warn the household or local fire department of the danger of impending fire. Chances are you've already got some fire alarms in your home. But if not or you are curious about the different types of fire alarms, it is important to understand each and how they work to protect you and your family. There are several different types of fire alarms, among them include photoelectric, ionization and combination alarms.


The photoelectric fire alarm "sees" smoke and alerts the household by setting off a loud, piercing alarm. For places where there is a lot of insulation or PVC, places where smoldering fires are likely to occur, the photoelectric fire alarm may be best. Photoelectric fire alarms are probably the more expensive compared with ionization fire alarms, but in households where fires are likely to occur that let off a lot of smoke, they may be worth it. One downside to owning photoelectric fire alarms is that the sensor on them can sometimes give off false alarms if bugs or dust get in them, making it important to keep these alarms clean. This is the higher maintenance fire alarm.


The ionization fire alarm "feels" the smoke of a fire. Particles are left by the process of combustion, and the ionization fire alarm detects these particles. If there is little to no visible smoke, or if it is most likely that the fire will be the type without visible smoke, the ionization fire alarm is best for you. This is the cheapest of the types of fire alarms, but does contain a small amount of radioactive material which means it is necessary to be careful with it. Another downside to this type of fire alarm is that in the kitchen it is most likely to give off a false alarm. Processes like frying and grilling in the kitchen mimic the process of combustion, confusing the fire alarm and making it go off.


Some fire alarms don't act only as fire alarms. For those who have natural gas in their homes in the form of a water heater, central heating unit, or gas stove, carbon monoxide poison may be a concern for you. To save you money and trouble, there is now a device called a combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. Many reputable businesses sell them, and they are equipped with two sensors - one for fire (smoke) and one for carbon monoxide. So if there is a gas leak or a fire, you will be alerted of both. These devices are very handy, as most carbon monoxide detectors run through an outlet, while the combination detector runs, like the smoke alarm, off batteries.

Whatever your choice for fire alarm, it is important to always go with the best quality possible because when it comes to the safety of your home and children, nothing can be more worth the money.

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Tags: bugs, fire department, particles, downside, households, several different types, insulation, fires, pvc, household, fire alarms, combustion, fire alarm, false alarm, false alarms, fire fire