If you’ve ever looked into buying smoke alarms for your home then chances are you’ve come across the terms ‘Ionised’ and ‘Photoelectric’. They are in effect two of the most commonly recognised forms of smoke detector technology on the market. But what exactly do they do? What’s the difference? And ultimately, which one is best?
Ionised smoke alarms
Ionised smoke alarm systems contain a tiny amount of radioactive material which sits between two electrically charged plates, all of which is then housed in a small chamber. The radioactive material reacts with the electrically charged plates and causes a small current to flow between the plates. This process is known as ionisation. When a foreign body enters the chamber (namely smoke) it disrupts the flow of current and in effect breaks the circuit, triggering off the alarm.
Photoelectric smoke alarms
As opposed to electric current, photoelectric smoke alarms use a mixture of light and reflective mirrors. Here’s how they work. Firstly an infrared light source is beamed at continuous intervals into the centre of a small chamber at an angle which is directed away from the sensor. When smoke enters the chamber it breaks the beam and reflects the light source directly onto the sensor triggering off an alarm.
So which is best?
It depends on where you’re placing them within the confines of your home. Ionised smoke alarms for example are extremely sensitive to smoke, so placing them near kitchens where toasters and grills might regularly set them off could be a problem. However on a landing area next to bedrooms might be ideal. Photoelectric alarms on the other hand (although extremely efficient) aren’t quite so sensitive to smoke, and therefore by placing them in or near kitchens they’re far less prone to false alarms when you burn the toast or your grill pan gets a little overheated.
What about costs?
Typically photoelectric smoke alarms cost twice as much as the ionised type. However in the event of a smouldering fire the reaction time for a photoelectric smoke detector is quicker than that of an ionised smoke detector. Conversely in the event of a fast moving fire the ionised type has been proven to react quicker.
So what’s recommended?
Using a combination of the two types placed in the right areas will arguably offer you the best protection; and provided that they’re serviced and tested regularly, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t offer complete peace-of-mind for many years to come.
If you’re thinking of buying one or more smoke alarms for your home then you might want to think about contacting the team at Static Electrics to fit them. We’ve been serving the people and businesses of the Sunshine Coast and the surrounding areas for many years and as such, have the skills and the expertise to carry out a perfect job. For a competitive no-obligation quote, contact us on 07 5445 8305 today.