You should already have smoke detectors in your home. if you haven’t, you need to get some. They’re an important safety device for any property. Most homes have more than one. Along with carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors are a simple piece of technology that you’d be foolish to go without. That’s why no home should be without multiple smoke detectors.
Assuming you’ve got some smoke detectors already, you might still not know how they work. If you don’t, then you’ve found the right article for you. In it, we’re going to look at how smoke detectors work and a lot of information associated with them. That way you’ll know exactly how these ingenious pieces of kit actually keep your home protected and your family safe.
Smoke detectors have been around for a number of years, and while the technology might have changed a bit, they tend to follow the same principle. These aren’t expensive, so there isn’t really any excuse not to have them.
The importance of smoke detectors
Smoke detectors detect smoke which is normally the result of a fire. While a bit of smoke might make them go off because you burnt the toast or had another kitchen disaster, this shouldn’t put you off keeping one in the kitchen. That’s one of the most likely places a fire might start in the home, and while you should always stay in the room when something is cooking and not leave it unattended, this isn’t always realistic in modern life.
If you’ve got a smoke alarm, you should be alerted as soon as possible that there’s a fire. That means you can deal with the situation quickly and effectively. Either by putting out a small fire, or by evacuating the property immediately and phoning the emergency services. Smoke detectors are especially important at night when you might be asleep. While some people might be woken by smoke, most aren’t, or at least until it’s really thick. That might be too late. A smoke alarm should be loud enough to wake you anywhere in the home, and will therefore give you an early warning.
How to use smoke detectors effectively
Always make sure you’ve checked the battery of your smoke alarm regularly, and replaced any faulty units. Most modern ones should have a testing button. Your smoke alarm should be loud enough to wake you even from the other side of your home. You should have multiple smoke alarms in different rooms, especially if you keep doors closed, to give the alarm the earliest possible chance of detecting a fire.
If there is a fire, you need to act quick. Make sure you have planned escape routes from every part of your home. A small fire in the kitchen may be able to be dealt with if you have appropriate equipment like an extinguisher and fire blankets. Make sure you know what type of extinguisher should be used with different types of fire, and don’t tackle a fire with something that it’s unsafe to do so. Never attempt to tackle a fire if you aren’t sure you know what you’re doing. If it seems to big, don’t even attempt it. Evacuate you and your family from the building immediately and phone the fire brigade once you are outside the home. Don’t risk you or your family’s personal safety at any point trying to tackle a fire by yourself.
Now you know all that, you might want to know how smoke detectors actually work. How do they work?
How do smoke detectors work?
Traditional fire alarms used to work by simply sensing the temperature in a room and alerting when it reached a certain level. These simply weren’t as effective because they could only detect heat rises in the immediate area, rather than smoke that might have spread from a fire that’s too far enough away to detect on a heat basis.
Nowadays, smoke alarms work either on an ionization or photoelectric basis. Ionization smoke detectors containt a tiny bit of radioactive material that goes between two electrically charged plates to create what’s known as an ionization chamber. This in turn creates a current that flows between the plates in the air. When smoke comes into this area, particles are absorbed which changes the current and makes the alarm sound. That’s how ionization alarms work, and they’re good for detecting fast fires with raging flames.
The other type of smoke detector is a photoelectric alarm. These tend to work better with slower-starting and more soldering sorts of fires. They work by using a sensor that detects when smoke enters the system and interrupts a light beam. The alarm is then triggered by scattered smoke particles.
You might now be wondering which sort of smoke detector is going to work best for your home, and which you should get. The answer is: both. You aren’t really going to know how fire is going to start in your home, and it could get going either quickly or slowly. That means you need both technologies for the safest coverage. While you should have multiple detectors in your home anyway, thankfully you don’t need to buy lots of each type of detector, because the best ones these days are combination units. That means each system uses both technologies and can detect with both methods. They’re the safest and best fire detectors to use.
Now you know a bit more about fire detection and how basic fire detectors work. Remember to get multiple units around the home and make sure you check they’re working and have good battery power regularly. Don’t attempt to tackle big fires yourself and evacuate your property as soon as possible while phoning the emergency services. Fire alarms are an important safety device, so get your home kitted out today.