Do you want to make sure you’re protecting your family from the potential of house fires? In a worst-case scenario where a house fire has broken out, an early warning is vital in order to evade the fire and survive uninjured.
Each and every home in Australia needs a smoke alarm for that reason. You might notice that there are plenty of different types out on the market, and it can get a little confusing, so we have outlined a few things to help get the most efficient smoke alarm for your household.
There are generally two types of smoke alarms for home use: Ionisation and photoelectric alarms.
Ionisation alarms have a tiny amount of radioactive material inside of it which when reacting to the particles emitted in a fire, sets of the alarm. The benefits to ionisation alarms are that they are the best at detecting fast-flaming fires which don’t create much visible smoke. As most house fires are likely to be smoky and smouldering before flames, these alarms are known to be slow to detect smoke. These alarms can get annoying, as they are prone to nuisance alarms (from cooking). Despite its drawbacks, ionization alarms can be used in addition to photoelectric alarms as an added layer of security. However, it is not recommended to use ionization alarms as a households sole alarm for detecting smoke.
Photoelectric alarms are triggered when smoke enters the test chamber of the alarm, the light is scattered by the smoke particles. These alarms are best at detecting the most typical type of house fire, smoky and smoldering fires (as opposed to ionisation alarms). Sometimes, there are false alarms created by dust or insects entering the alarm unit, so occasionally cleaning the unit is important.
Other types of alarms
These two types of alarms are used for special purposes
• Carbon Monoxide alarms: mostly used overseas to help ensure safe central heating systems
• Heat alarms: Mainly used in kitchens.
The winner: Photoelectric Alarms
Photoelectric alarms are the best way to protect your home from a fire, as its ability to detect smoke is much faster than ionization smoke alarms. Studies show that the average time it takes to detect smoke with a photoelectric alarm is 3 to 5 minutes, whereas an ionised alarm will take a lot more time – up to 20 minutes. As time is of the essence, it will give you and your family a better chance at handling the fire, and escaping unharmed.
Australian law dictates that smoke alarms are legally required in most residences in Australia to be mains-powered and installed in each level of the house. Each state has different requirements, so check with your state’s regulations to make sure you’re meeting the state’s requirements.