230v Fire/Smoke Alarm Comparison Guide
Below is an installation video from BRK about their ‘Push Fit’ series of smoke alarms but the first 2m 50 secs describe where and what smoke alarms should be fitted to a domestic household.
Types of Sensor
- Thermoptek– The latest smoke sensing technology it combines optical sensing with a thermal enhancement system to provide a fast reaction to all types of fire.
- Ionisation Alarm – Ionisation technology is particularly sensitive to small particles, which are produced in large quantities by ‘flaming fires’, fires that consume combustible materials and spread quickly. For example, oil catching fire in a frying pan or paper burning in a wastebasket would be detected quickly by this type of alarm.
- Optical Alarm – Optical technology is more sensitive to large particles which are produced mainly by smouldering fires. These are fires that smoulder for a long period of time before actually bursting into flame, such as a cigarette butt slowly burning into bedding, carpet or furniture.
Smoke alarms may cause problems in areas such as lofts, garages and kitchens where dust, fumes and non-dangerous smoke can trigger them and continually set the alarm off. In these cases, a heat alarm is better, and they are in fact required under the latest Building Regulations.
Heat alarms use advanced thermistor technology which is the most reliable method of heat detection available today – varying electrical resistance in a semiconductor is used by thermistors to detect temperature changes. The alarms are pre-set to sound when the temperature reaches a fixed point, between 54ºC and 70ºC.
Fire brigades recommend using a carbon monoxide alarm alongside a conventional photoelectric or ionisation one, particularly due to the increasing European restrictions on the use of ionisation sensor-based alarms alone.
Carbon monoxide alarms work by electrochemically converting carbon monoxide, a deadly poisonous gas given off by fires, to carbon dioxide, which generates an electrical current. The current is used to measure the concentration of carbon monoxide (CO) in the atmosphere and will sound the alarm if the levels are too high.
Carbon monoxide alarms are available both as battery or mains powered alarms, and typically need replacing every 5 years.
Mains Powered – Alarms permanently powered by the mains supply. They also have an integrated battery backup option that provides power in the event that mains supply power is lost.
Battery Powered – Either alkaline battery that needs replacing every 2-3 years or Lithium that can run up to 10 years. There are a number of manufacturers producing Lithium battery alarms that should be replaced at the end of their lifespan, between 7 – 10 years normally.
Comparing Fire Alarms
Choosing a fire alarm is not something to be taken lightly – fire alarms can and do save lives, so it is imperative that you invest in a high-quality alarm (or even multiple types of alarms) to protect your property, yourself and your family.
Lithium Back Up
Battery -10 Year Lithium
Base for Mains Units
Mains + 9V Back Up
Mains + Recharg Capacitor Back Up
Mains + Recharg Lithium back Up
Mains + Lithium Batt. Back Up
Battery + Long Life Lithium (10 y)
Mains+ 9V Back Up
Mains + Lithium Back Up
Radio Frequency Bases
Mains Powered with Interlink
Mains Powered with 9V Alkaline Batt.Back Up
Mains Powered with Tamper-proof Rechargeable Lithium cells