Everything you ever wanted to know about alarms but were afraid to ask..
Optical Smoke Alarms
Optical (or photoelectric) alarms are light sensors. They contain an infra-red LED which, every few seconds, pulses a beam of light into the sensor chamber to check for smoke particles.
As smoke enters, the infrared light is scattered onto the photodiode light receptor, triggering an alarm. They detect the larger smoke particles from slower smouldering fires. As an absolute minimum, you should install a smoke alarm on each floor of your home.
Alarms using dated Ionisation technology are becoming obsolete and you should consider replacing them.
Heat (thermal) alarms detect heat (hot air) instead of smoke. They are designed to be used in kitchens and garages because they’re not prone to false alarms from cooking or exhaust fumes.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “silent killer” because it is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is poisonous to humans. Carbon monoxide can be produced by any fuel-burning device such as a gas boiler or fireplace.
Carbon monoxide alarms detect the poisonous gas and provide an early warning. In the event of a carbon monoxide leak, it is critical that you get to fresh air as soon as possible.
Interlinked alarms can be linked to other alarms; heat, smoke alarms and CO, so that when one senses danger they all sound. They are particularly useful in larger properties or if you have alarms installed in garages or outbuildings.
In Scotland, since February 2022, interlinked smoke and heat alarms need to be fitted in all homes.
Smart alarms allow you to receive alerts on your mobile phone via an app whenever the alarm is triggered. Additionally you can silence alarms via the app and receive self-test information and battery status. Smart alarms need an additional gateway hub connected to your Wi-Fi but will still work as an audible alarm if there is no Wi-Fi.