Well, if you now understand that a wireless smoke detector is a smart device as compared to the traditional heat detector, it would be great to have an idea of how they actually work. Many people are unaware of the working process of these smart smoke detectors.
How Wireless Smoke Alarms Work
Wireless smoke alarms connect and communicate through radiofrequency. These smoke alarms have unique signals for their different models and these will wirelessly connect with others in the same model series. Each wireless alarm comes with dip switches set on the back of the device. At the time, when all switches are on the same setting, all smoke alarms will sound when the Test or the Reset button is pressed.
Ionization vs. Photoelectric Smoke Detectors
If you choose wireless smoke detectors over traditional heat detectors, you are going to have three options: ionization, photoelectric, or a combination of the two.
Ionization Smoke Alarms
These smoke detectors are very efficient and much responsive to fast, raging fires and flames. These are having a little radioactive material that passes between two electrically charged plates creating an ionization chamber. This setup ionizes the air and produces enough to flow between the two plates. If smoke enters that space, it absorbs alpha particles and interrupts the ionization process. As a result, the current decreases, and the alarm becomes active.
Photoelectric Smoke Alarms
Photoelectric smoke alarms usually respond better to smoky fires, particularly those that begin with a long period of smoldering. These type of alarms uses a photoelectric sensor and a light source. At the time when smoke enters the chamber and crosses the path of the light beam, it scatters the light particles, sending them toward the sensor. This process triggers the alarm.
Combination of the Two
For best protection, using both types of smoke alarm technologies is the best idea. Combination smoke detectors use both technologies that are ionization and photoelectric. With the abilities of both in place, there are more chances of being alerted to fire and you and your family will get more protection in case of emergency and precious time for escape. Moreover, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) suggests the use of both technologies to ensure the protection and safety of your home.
How to Achieve the Best Smoke Detection Coverage for Your Home?
If you have already installed photoelectric smoke detectors, you can buy ionization smoke detectors and place one beside each installed photoelectric unit. In case, you are unable to know what kind of detector you are dealing with, you can check your owner’s manual. You can also simply remove the smoke detector and check from the back. You will find one of the two words, “photoelectric” or “ionization.” It is also possible that only the initial letters of the words are written on the unit.
If the budget allows you, it is also fine to consider replacing the smoke detector unit altogether with combination units. These dual-sensor devices provide both ionization and photoelectric technologies working in tandem.