If you’ve ever thought that fitting smoke alarms wasn’t really a necessity or that it spoils the overall aesthetics of your interior design then you might want to think again. According to government statistics, anyone who has a smoke alarm fitted to their property is four times less likely to die in a house fire than someone who hasn’t. In other words smoke alarms really do save lives. With this in mind, here’s everything you need to know about smoke alarms and probably more besides.
Types of smoke alarm
In essence there are two types of smoke alarms. These are Ionisation and photo-electric smoke alarms and each type of alarm system detects smoke in a different way. Ionisation alarms for example use minuscule amounts of radioactive material positioned between two electrically charged plates which ionise the air and permit the current to flow between the two plates. Should smoke enter the chamber then it disrupts this flow of ions, lowering the flow of the current, and setting off the alarm.
Conversely photo-electric smoke alarms consist of a light sensitive sensor and a light emitting diode which are also contained within a small chamber. When smoke particles enter the chamber it scatters the light beam, thus setting off the alarm.
Which type of alarm is best?
Both these smoke detection systems are tried and tested and have been around for many years. Although there are no statistics that prove that one particular type works better than the other, most professionals agree that photo-electric smoke alarms are best for the family home.
What about installation?
It’s recommended that smoke alarms be installed in all sleeping areas and all paths of travel between sleeping areas and exits, such as hallways. Try to avoid fitting smoke alarms near kitchens, or bathrooms where heat and moisture could affect them.
What about maintenance?
Smoke alarms should be regularly tested. They will have a test button that you should press to see if the alarm is indeed working and ideally this should be carried out once a month. Most smoke alarms will emit a warming beep when the battery needs replacing, but to be on the safe side look at replacing the battery at least once a year. You should also clean it regularly with a handheld vacuum cleaner or crevice tool attachment to keep it free from dust and particle build up.
When should I replace my smoke alarm?
Most smoke alarms will have a ten year shelf life and as such should be replaced after this time. Also if they’ve been dropped or damaged or have been painted over then they should also be replaced. Never try to replace them yourself. It’s always best to seek the services of a qualified electrician.
If you need a qualified electrician to install a new or replacement smoke alarm in your home then why not speak to Static Electrics. We’ve been helping the residents and commercial businesses of Brisbane and the surrounding areas with their electrical installations and electrical problems for many years. As such we have the necessary experience to ensure that we do a thorough and proper job. Contact us today on 0429 139 039 to book an appointment or to get a free, no-obligation quote. We look forward to hearing from you.