How Smoke Alarms Detect Fires

May 31, 2022
 |  Fire Alarm  |  Fire Alarm System

According to reliable statistics from the New York Department of Health, smoke alarms in homes reduce a person’s risk of dying by about 50%. Without smoke alarms, hundreds of more people would die every year because of fires. 

Since smoke alarms are a crucial safety measure to have in one’s home or office building, it’s important to know how they work. Smoke alarms detect fires by sensing small particles exposed in the air through different technologies. Once a smoke alarm system has detected a fire, they signal an alarm that sounds and warns those in the home or office of a fire. 

In our article, we will discuss the different types of smoke alarms and how they detect fires. The team at Sentry Communications cares about safety which is why we want you to know all you can before choosing to get a fire alarm installation in Long Island. So without further ado, let’s dive in. 

How Does A Heat Detector Alarm Work?

On the market, heat detectors are considered one of the oldest and most common forms of fire detection devices. However, heat detection devices are not the same as smoke alarms, even though they have a similar function. 

A heat detector tracks the temperature inside of a room instead of smoke. In most instances, heat detectors will detect the heat that occurs because of combustion. When a heat detector detects a rapid rise in temperature or when a certain pre-set temperature is reached, it will trigger an alarm. 

How Does An Aspirating Smoke Alarm Detect Fires?

In recent years aspirating smoke alarms have become increasingly popular for homes and companies. Aspirating smoke alarms (or detectors) are considered to be constructed with innovative state-of-the-art industry-leading technology and materials. 

These smoke alarms are incredibly sensitive fire detectors that are popular because they use a comparatively earlier siren. This is why homeowners and businesses incorporate aspirating smoke alarms into their fire detection security systems. 

Unlike other smoke alarm detection devices, ASD systems have a small flexible tube that draws air from different rooms. Once the air is drawn from different rooms, this device analyzes the air samples to determine if smoke particles are present. Since this revolutionary system does not rely on airflow, it can detect smoke before the smoke from a fire becomes visible. 

Most often, people choose to install an aspirating smoke alarm in areas with high airflow. This means that they are often installed in places where condensation is prevalent or in a business building where quick detection of a fire is crucial, like in a computer server room. 

How Do Photoelectric Smoke Alarms Detect Fires?

Photoelectric smoke alarms are considered to be the best at detecting smoldering fires. A photoelectric smoke alarm utilizes a photoelectric sensor in conjunction with a light source. Ultimately with this type of smoke alarm, when smoke enters a room, it makes contact with a light beam. Sensing the smoke, this light beam sounds an alarm as soon as smoke particles scatter the light. 

How Do Ionization Smoke Alarms Detect Fires?

Unlike photoelectric smoke alarms, ionization smoke alarms work by combining radioactive material between two electrically charged plates. These plates are what create an ionization chamber. Essentially, an ionization smoke alarm ionizes the air in different rooms so that a continuous flow is created between two plates. 

These plates absorb alpha particles, and smoke disrupts this ionization process, leading to a reduction in flow which triggers the ionization smoke alarm. 

Speak With A Smoke Alarm Expert At Sentry Communications Today

Smoke alarms remain a key element of fire alarm monitoring because they save lives and prevent severe damage to homes and businesses. If you would like to learn more about smoke alarms and the options available for your home or business, you can speak with one of our experts at Sentry Communications. We have extensive experience with smoke alarms and can guide you toward the right choice, so give us a call today at 1-866-5-SENTRY.