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Essential Details Of Smoke Detectors

Where There Is Smoke . . .

It's an oft-repeated expression, 'where there is smoke, there is fire.' ATX electrical wants to do all they can to ensure the devastation of fire is never experienced by their Austin, Texas neighbors. In previous blogs, we pointed out how attention to such electrical maintenance procedures as: upgrading and replacing electrical panels, home safety inspections, electrical repairs, power surges and surge protection devices can deter home fires. We also informed of AFCI outlets, with sensors to detect electrical 'arcing' in our blog titled 'The ABCs of GFCI and AFCI.' Today’s blog digs deep to provide details on the different types of smoke detectors available to protect Austin Texas residents from fire.

. . . There Are Smoke Detectors

There are two categories of smoke detectors, identified by the type of smoke detection sensor found within:

  • Ionization Smoke Detectors: These smoke alarms have a chamber containing two electrically charged plates, along with radioactive material to ionize the air, which has a mixture of protons and electrons, that circulates between these plates and provides the alarm a tiny, continuous electric current. If any degree of smoke enters this ionization chamber and disrupts the flow of the electric current, the alarm will sound. An ionization smoke detector works best at detecting fast flaming fires.
  • Photoelectric Smoke Detectors: As the name would indicate, a photoelectric detector uses a light beam and light receptor known as a photocell. According to the design of the chamber, any smoke that enters between the light beam and receptor will either increase or reduce light on the photocell sensor and cause the smoke alarm to sound. Light scattering devices have an LED light beam directed at an outside area and a photosensitive element. When smoke particles cross the light beam, the beam hits those particles, deflects them to the photosensitive element, and sets off the alarm. Light obscuring detectors send the light source directly to the photosensitive element. When smoke particles partially block the light beam, the photosensitive element is altered by a reduction in light and the alarm sounds. Photoelectric sensors are optical smoke alarms that quickly detect slow, smoldering fires producing more smoke.
  • Dual Smoke Detectors: A combination of both ionization and photoelectric. There are also other types of smoke alarms, including infrared, carbon monoxide, and heat sensors.

Eeenie Meanie Miney Moe

Where home safety is concerned, choosing a smoke detection device should not be based on the childhood game of 'eeny, meanie, miny, moe, I choose this one!' The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) recommend that homes have both photoelectric and ionization smoke detector protection as a single unit — and ATX electrical, dedicated to serving the electrical needs of its Austin, Texas neighbors, wholeheartedly agrees!

Hard-Wired Smoke Detectors

Hard-wired smoke detectors are attached to a home's 120-volt electric system, in contrast to individual battery-operated combination alarms. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends all new and remodeled homes be inter-connected with dual sensor alarms and have a sealed 10-year lithium-ion backup battery. Consider also a hard-wired detector connecting to a home security system that will send an alert to the local firefighters.

Contact ATX electrical for a free in-home consultation on the type of smoke detector that will work best for your Austin, Texas home or business!

Contact ATX Electrical for a free consultation of your home or business’s electrical system. ATX Electrical provides a lifetime warranty with any electrical panel replacement or upgrade.

Schedule your free in-home consultation