What Are The Different Types of Smoke Detector & Smoke Alarm

House fires are one the most common and detrimental types of fires that can occur; house fires can happen at any time of the day or night and without a fire alarm to provide an alert, fatality can and does often occur. On average, someone in the US dies in a fire every 2.5 hours and someone faces fire related injury every 30 minutes. Many of the house fires that do occur could easily be prevented with an investment in a smoke detector. Most smoke and fire alarms are equipped with sirens that are loud enough to alert an entire household, but homeowners who have fire alarms in more than one room are more protected and more likely to avoid fatality, injury, and property damage.

Smoke detectors provide 24 hour prevention from fire damage, because of this every household and office should have at least one working smoke detector. Without a properly installed and maintained smoke and fire alarm, any building is at risk to the destruction that fires can bring. Smoke and fire detectors are there to protect the premises by alerting the presence of the smoke that a fire emits. In many instances, the smoke and fire alarm alerts the property in time for the fire department to arrive before any permanent damage is caused, preserving the property’s condition and averting any unnecessary financial situations.

What type of smoke detector should I get?

All smoke and fire alarms provide protection, but the type of protection that you receive depends on the type of fire alarm that you purchase. Along with the various types of smoke and fire alarms available on the market, there are also several types of sensors available that all serve different purposes including: ionic smoke detector, photoelectric smoke alarm, and even a combination of the two. They all serve different purposes and the type of smoke and fire alarm needed depends on the type of fire you are looking to protect against. The ionic sensor works by ionizing the air and causing a current to flow between the plates; when any type of smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the current and the alarm will go off to inform homeowners that smoke is sensed. The ionic sensors respond quickest to fast and quick burning fires that can rapidly damage the property. The photoelectric sensor works by reflecting a light into the chamber, opposite of the sensor. If any smoke enters the chamber, it reflects the light back at the sensor, causing the alarm to sound. The photoelectric sensor provides maximum prevention against slow burning and smoldering fires. There is a large difference between slow burning and quick burning fires and since no one knows what type of fire may occur, the best protection is provided through a dual sensor smoke detector. A dual sensor effectively detects all fires regardless of its burn rate.

Best of Both Worlds: IoPhic Protection

One of the new technologies made by Universal Security Instruments is the dual sensing IoPhic smoke alarm. The IoPhic smoke detector contains both ionization and photoelectric sensor technology along with microprocessor intelligence to prevent nuisance/false alarms. Another benefit of the IoPhic alarm is that there are not two separate sensors; the IoPhic alarm is equipped with a single sensor with both ionic and photoelectric technologies that costs less than most other dual sensors. The microprocessor will be able to recognize the type of fire, either fast-burning or smoldering, and will appropriately adjust the alarm response. Due to dual sensor technology and microprocessor technology, the USI IoPhic alarm performed 87% faster in response to fast-burning and smoldering fires. The IoPhic alarm prevents false alarms by using USI’s surface mount technology; the surface mount is less susceptible to radiated noise than those alarms that are mounted using older methods. The IoPhic smoke alarms’ sensitivity has been calibrated during production to reduce variation between the alarms. The IoPhic smoke detector also performs a self-diagnostic test on itself to be sure that there is no defective alarm. The IoPhic smoke detectors provide protection against both fast burning and smoldering fires; there are many different factors in determining what type of fire can occur but since the specific type of fire is unpredictable to the consumer, the best way to prevent costly damage is to invest in the dual sensor alarm.

Proper Installation Is Key

Other than sensor type, another important factor in ensuring an effective smoke and fire alarm, is how many are installed. One smoke alarm might not provide a quick and effective response to a fire, because a fire can occur on any floor or room in a building. If the fire occurred on the ground floor, but there was no smoke alarms on that floor, by the time the smoke alarm on the second or third floor identified the alert, unsurmountable damage could have already occurred. Many smoke detectors, including the IoPhic detector, are interconnected with other units. Having interconnected smoke detectors on all floors and in more than one room will deliver maximum security; when one alarm goes off in the interconnected system, all of the smoke alarms will sound. When the interconnected system of devices goes off, there is a higher likelihood that all floors and rooms will have optimum time to evacuate and to prevent damage. Smoke alarms can also be interconnected with other types of alarms, including carbon monoxide alarms.

Interconnecting Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon monoxide alarms are also crucial to the safety of those who are on the premises, and without a CO alarm, there is no other way to detect the presence of the toxic gas. Carbon monoxide (CO) is colorless, odorless, and tasteless so without the CO alarm, there is no way to know if the gas is present. CO gas is extremely hazardous and can be fatal if exposure is prolonged. Children and pets would be the first to show the symptoms of CO exposure that can include: flu-like symptoms, confusion, fast heart rate, unconsciousness, convulsions, and even death. A CO alarm is vital to protecting the area from prolonged exposure, since CO gas can be emitted by household appliances, cars, and fireplaces. Similarly to how some smoke detectors have dual sensors, there are CO alarms that also serve more than one purpose. The combo CO & smoke alarms that also alert against dangerous levels of natural gas, or methane. Methane is an energy source that can be emitted by stoves, heaters, and water heaters. Natural gas is, similar to CO, odorless and colorless. If a natural gas leak does occur, there is a risk for explosion or fire. The USI carbon monoxide and natural gas alarm can detect hazardous levels of both methane and CO.Interconnecting fire and CO alarms provide protection from both common issues; if any CO or methane is present, all CO alarms will sound, and if any smoke is present, all smoke detectors will sound their alarms. The interconnected systems will provide the quickest and most effective protection against fire, CO, and methane.

Backup Battery: Provides Protection Even in Power Outage

Another factor to consider when purchasing any of these alarms is how the alarm is operated. There are smoke and fire detectors as well as carbon monoxide alarms that are battery operated, wired in, or plugged in. Some alarms have a variety of both battery operated and wired in/plugged in. The most protective alarms are those that are powered through direct wiring or plugging in, but also have a backup battery. The backup battery ensures that even in the event of a power outage, the device will still work. Most of the alarms that are battery powered or have a backup battery also come equipped with audible sensors that alert the consumer when the batteries are running low and need to be replaced. This feature allows the alarms to provide maximum protection even without power.

Universal Security Instruments Provides Products for all of Your Safety Needs

Regardless of the type of alarm you are looking for: fire and smoke detector, carbon monoxide, or dual sensing, USI has a wide selection of all devices. Universal Security Instruments, USI, is an international top quality producer of top quality and easy-installation products to ensure maximum protection from fire, carbon monoxide, and natural gas. Founded in 1961, USI provides reliable security products along with a wide range of product knowledge and over 40 years of industry experience.

Wattson Lumen
Wattson Lumen

Certified receptacle. Amped up electrical supplies enthusiast. International Popstar and unqualified lifequard. Wattson prefers to lighten your day with humor and led lights (Just don't ask him to jump in if you're drowning).

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