The latest fire safety regulations stipulate that photoelectric smoke detectors should be installed in all domestic dwellings. But is photoelectric better than ionization? Will your family be safe in the event of a house fire?

Safety and security are foremost priorities for any home. You need to ensure that your family or tenants are living in a safe and secure environment. It is not about complying with regulations for the sake of it; it is about putting measures in place to protect lives in the case of residential fires.

What is the best type of smoke alarm for a home?

The two most common types of smoke detectors are ionization smoke alarms and photoelectric smoke alarms. Whilst ionization and photoelectric technologies work differently, they are both designed to provide fire protection.

An ionization smoke detector consists of two electrically charged plates with a small amount of radioactive material placed between them. This ionizes the air in the chamber, creating a current as the ions flow between the two plates. When smoke particles enter the chamber, they interrupt the flow of ions and decrease the current. This decrease in current is what triggers the alarm. Therefore, ionization smoke detectors tend to detect fast flaming fires with less smoke and larger smoke particles.

Photoelectric smoke detectors – as the name suggests – utilise light, as opposed to ions. A photoelectric smoke alarm has both a light sensor and a focused light source. The light source is a beam of light that crosses the interior chamber of the smoke alarm, where it cannot be detected by the light sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, it scatters this beam of light, causing it to be detected by the light sensor, thereby triggering the alarm. Photoelectric smoke detectors are better than ionization smoke detectors when it comes to sensing the smaller smoke particles that are typical of slow smoldering fires.

But is photoelectric better than ionization?

An important consideration is the type of fire you are likely to have in your home. Generally speaking, many lethal fire situations in homes tend to start with smoldering fires. These types of fires burn slowly without a flame for a long time. Whilst there might not be flames, the smoke that is produced is potentially lethal.

In fact, many mortalities in residential fires are the result of smoke inhalation rather than burns. Smoke inhalation is the leading case of death in residential fires. Remember that even small items like a candle or cigarette can be a catalyst, creating a smoldering fire that results in life-threatening smoke inhalation.

So is photoelectric better than ionization?

Early smoke detection can help your family escape your home before they have experienced lethal levels of smoke inhalation, and before the fire bursts into flame.

Therefore, installing photoelectric smoke detectors is the best option for residential buildings. In fact, the latest legislation stipulates that all domestic dwellings need to have quality photoelectric smoke alarms installed.

Why is the quality and design so important? Research indicates that well-designed quality photoelectric alarms are better that ionization smoke alarms at detecting a fire, regardless of the type of fire or the type of material that is burning.

Furthermore, ionization smoke detectors are far more likely to give false alarms – or so called ‘nuisance alarms’. Why is this relevant? Unfortunately, many residents become so annoyed with the rate of false alarms produced by ionization smoke detectors, that they disable or even remove them, thus leaving their home with no fire protection whatsoever.

To provide sufficient safety and accurate warnings, install quality photoelectric smoke alarms in the correct locations throughout your home.

As of 1 January 2022, there are new regulations in place pertaining to the type and positioning of smoke detectors in all domestic dwellings. Whether you are a homeowner or landlord, you need to ensure that your property complies with this legislation and you are proving your family and tenants with the best possible fire protection.

We stock top quality photoelectric smoke alarms that comply with the latest legislative requirements.

Many builders, homeowners and landlords need to purchase several smoke detectors in order to update their fire safety measures. Therefore, we sell bundles consisting of several smoke detectors at a discounted price. In addition, these affordable bundles also include a convenient control so that you don’t need to teeter on a ladder to test or disarm them.

Our photoelectric smoke detectors are quick and easy to install. It’s a wireless system, which means that you can easily install them yourself. However, if you own a large property or are otherwise unable to install them, we offer an affordable smoke alarm installation service.

Our qualified electricians provide a professional yet affordable smoke alarm installation service.

Our electricians are fully qualified with relevant experience. They also have a thorough understanding of the most recent smoke alarm legislation. Not only will they ensure that your home complies with all the relevant regulations, they will place smoke detectors to provide the best level of smoke detection in your home and avoid areas where steam and other factors might hamper the effectiveness of your smoke alarms.

You need to protect your family and ensure your home complies with legislation.