Smoke detectors are incredibly useful devices for homeowners and businesses. Not only do they alert you when smoke levels are high, but some advanced models on the market today can also detect carbon monoxide, offering another means to protect your and your family. If you’re thinking about installing smoke detectors, or you’re considering upgrading your home or business’s current units, enlist the help of a professional who offers residential and commercial electrical services.
Smoke detectors are a fairly common household item, but many people do not know how they work. Find out how these incredibly useful devices work.
Smoke detectors are incredibly sensitive and loud – a small amount of smoke can set them off. In spite of their inopportune behavior, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are sophisticated and necessary tools to alert people when they are in danger. After all, you really wouldn’t want to live in a home without a smoke detector, would you?
Ionization Smoke Detectors: How They Work?
Smoke detectors come in two main types: Ionization detectors and Photoelectric detectors. An ionization detector contains an ionization chamber that, in turn, contains ionizing radiation. Two facing plates – one positive and one negative – within the chamber are activated by a charge from the device’s battery.
As oxygen and nitrogen atoms pass through a charged chamber, ionized radiation is created. When smoke enters the chamber, it disrupts the steady ionization process and interferes with the electrical current between the charged plates. As a result, the smoke detector sounds an alarm.
Photoelectric Smoke Detectors: How They Work?
In photoelectric smoke detectors, light-emitting diodes are used to send beams of light across T-shaped chambers. Inside one of these T-shaped chambers is a photocell that detects light. When smoke makes it into the chamber and interferes with the light projected within, the light becomes scattered as it hits the base of the T-shaped chamber, and as it comes into contact with the photocell. As soon as it detects scattered light, the photocell sets off a trigger that sounds an alarm.
Photoelectric smoke detectors are made to detect smoke from smoldering fires that are less intense than roaring fires. As a result, they aren’t as sensitive as their ionization counterparts.
Routine Maintenance & Testing
Smoke alarms need regular maintenance and check-ups. It’s not enough to just have them installed and forget about them.
Ideally, your smoke detectors should be tested once a month to make sure they’re operational. Smoke alarm Batteries can die. Wires can be chewed through by mice in the walls. Thankfully, smoke alarms have test buttons that can be pressed, and you should be able to hear a loud, piercing sound. If not, something’s wrong.