The Working Principles of Smoke Detectors and Where to Place Them in Your Home

26 July 2022

A house fire may occur due to numerous reasons. For one, a lit candle left near flammable or combustible items or materials can cause a house fire. It may also happen once your electrical systems and devices are faulty already. Appliances and equipment pieces that have been used for a very long time can likewise cause a house fire.

And once a fire occurs, it would release elements that could put everyone in danger. One of these elements is smoke. The smoke from a fire has fine particles that can cause respiratory irritation and shortness of breath. And as its temperature rises, it can easily damage one’s skin, lungs, eyes, and others. Fortunately, it is one of the early warning signs of a house fire that can be detected right away.

The Essence of Smoke Detectors

Detecting smoke in the initial phase of a house fire can be extremely helpful in finding its main source. A smoke detector, fortunately, can detect and sense any strong presence of smoke round-the-clock. Once it detects smoke, an alarm would be triggered to notify people inside the property about it. In some cases, a smoke detector can be connected to a fire alarm control panel to ensure that other fire safety devices can be activated to extinguish the fire source.

To date, smoke detectors can be grouped into three: photoelectric, ionisation, and dual smoke detectors.

A photoelectric smoke detector measures the amount of light that hits its sensor, allowing it to detect smoky fires. An ionisation smoke detector, alternatively, works by allowing the smoke to enter its ionisation chamber and neutralising the ionised smoke particles. Its alarm will then activate once the electrical current drops, which makes it useful for flaming fires. A dual smoke detector, ultimately, combines the working principles of photoelectric and ionisation smoke detectors.

Smoke Detectors Key Placement

To protect your home from fire, you must place smoke detectors throughout your interior so they can detect any types of early fires. They must also be placed on the ceiling. These devices, however, can also be placed on a wall as long as they are placed less than 12 inches from the ceiling. And to avoid conflict, your smoke detectors should be installed away from windows, air ducts, and any places with a draft.

As for specific placements of smoke detectors, here are some of the places where they must be installed.

  • Kitchen: Kitchen must be equipped with smoke detectors since a lot of fire-related processes are conducted here. But to ensure that smoke detectors will not alarm falsely, you must install them at least 10 feet from the stove or oven. 
  • Bedroom: Bedrooms must also be filled with smoke detectors as they are often filled with combustible materials like bed sheets, curtains, and clothes. Placing a smoke detector outside the bedrooms is ideal to ensure that everyone can hear it. Placing one inside is also necessary.
  • Basement: If you currently maximise a basement, you must also equip it with a smoke detector. Some fires may start in the basement due to faulty electrical components or improper storage of flammable materials. This detector needs to be linked with a control panel so anyone can be alerted even if they are not in the said area.

To know more about smoke detectors, you can contact us at Light-On Electrical.

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