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What’s the Deal with Smoke Alarms?

Ionization Smoke Alarms:

This type of smoke alarm uses a small amount of radioactive material that ionizes the air between two electrically charged plates, causing a measurable current to flow between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, it changes the flow of current, which is detected and activates the alarm. Ionization alarms may be more prone to nuisance alarms caused by cooking activities.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms:

This type of alarm uses a light source that is aimed away from a sensor in a sensing chamber. When smoke enters the chamber it reflects the light onto the sensor, which is detected and activates the alarm. Photoelectric alarms may be less prone to nuisance alarms caused by cooking activities.

Often the best solution to reduce nuisance alarms is as simple as moving the alarm to a different location. Sometimes moving the alarm just a few centimetres can make a difference.

Smoke alarms must be installed on every storey of the home and outside sleeping areas. Because smoke rises, the ideal location for a smoke alarm is on the ceiling, well away from corners. However, if the device is prone to frequent nuisance alarms, try moving it from the ceiling to the wall, no less that 10 cm and no more than 30 cm from the ceiling.

Smoke alarms in kitchens are prone to react to combustion particles from toasters or ovens. Moving the smoke alarm from the kitchen to a hallway outside the cooking area could eliminate troublesome nuisance alarms.

Please note that battery-operated alarms can be easily relocated by the homeowner, however moving electrically-connected alarms will require the services of a certified electrician.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for more information about the correct placement and installation of smoke alarms.

Monitored or Not?

You may be asking yourself if it’s worth getting a monitored alarm. If you already have a monitored alarm system, or are looking to get one, our recommendation is to get a monitored smoke detector. Usually you can get this at no extra cost, and many dealers offer it free with their basic systems, and these detectors also include low & high temperature sensors to prevent freezing.

Thanks to Make it Stop

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