Smoke Alarms are an essential feature in every property; there are around fifty thousand domestic fires each year in the UK that sadly cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. Most of these casualties could have been prevented if a smoke alarm was fitted. A smoke alarm will notify anyone in the house of a fire giving them a higher chance of escape. Someone is twice as likely to survive a house fire if a Smoke Alarm’s fitted. Smoke Alarms come in different types; this article will explain the types of Smoke Alarms available in the UK.
What Is A Smoke Alarm?
Smoke Alarms are small devices usually ceiling fitted they detect fire (from smoke or heat) and issue a warning by beeping at a loud volume. Smoke Alarms warn of fire in the initial phases giving people the chance to escape quickly.
Are All Smoke Alarms The Same?
No, there are five types of Smoke Alarm available on the market Heat, Optical, Ionisation and two types of combined.
Activated by heat Heat Alarms are useful when an alarm needs to be installed in a kitchen as smoke won’t trigger them they only cover a small area though so multiple heat alarms are required for big Kitchens.
Optical Alarms detect smoke visually, the best for detecting slow-burning fires but slightly less responsive to rapid flame fires, they cost more to buy than other types of Alarm and are not suitable for Kitchens; they can, however, be installed nearby as smoke from cooking is unlikely to set them off.
Ionisation alarms are slighltly more responsive to fast fires and slightly less responsive to slow smouldering fires keep away from kitchens as smoke from cooking can set them off. Ionisation alarms are inexpensive and the cheapest of all five types.
Combined Optical & Heat
A combination of both Optical & Heat systems, the fastest of all alarms when it comes to detecting fire.
Combined Smoke & Carbon Monoxide
Detects both smoke and carbon monoxide (all homes that have a fuel burning appliance also need a carbon monoxide alarm)
All alarms are available as battery or mains powered.
Mains powered alarms usually have a battery as a back up (in case the electricity fails) Mains alarms can also be linked with other alarms via wiring or radio (radio-interlinked smoke alarms). All properties built since 1992 are required by law to have at least one mains powered smoke alarm. People who renovate their homes (even if built pre 1992) also require mains wired alarms, these regulations state that qualified Electricians must fit mains alarms.
As a rule of thumb standard batteries will need to be replaced every twelve months when battery power is low alarms will periodically beep telling you it’s time to replace the battery. Lithium batteries last longer than standard alkaline batteries (up to five times longer).
Some alarms come with a built-in ten-year battery; the battery cannot be replaced, so new alarms are required every decade which isn’t a problem as alarms only have a lifespan of 8-10 years anyway.
Other Smoke Alarm Features
Smoke Alarms are available with other features such as a test button so you can regularly check your alarms working and escape lights which can help wake you up and see where your going should you need to escape. For the deaf and hard of hearing vibration and strobe devices are available.
Where To Fit Smoke Alarms
Fit at least one smoke alarm on every floor of your home for maximum protection you can install an alarm in every room of your home (except bathrooms) make sure any alarms you purchase are British, or EU certified.
Need Help With Mains Powered Smoke Alarms?
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