Fire & Smoke

When considering a smoke alarm, you need to consider what type you require and where. There are a few different types of smoke alarm to think about:

Ionisation – these are the cheapest option.  They are designed to detect small particles of smoke before it gets too thick.  They are however, not so good at detecting slow burning and smouldering fires which give off a lot of smoke. These have a tendency of going off when toast is burnt in the kitchen.

Optical – These are more expensive than the ionisation but are a lot better at detecting the larger particles of smoke which occur with slow burning fires.  However, they are not as effective with a faster flaming fires.  These can be located outside a kitchen.

Heat alarms – They detect what they say, instead of being sensitive to smoke they are heat sensitive.  One alarm does not detect a very large area of heat within a room so it is suggested that a few are added to one room to ensure the increase in heat is detected quickly.  They are ideal for a kitchen.

Another option is to buy a Combined optical smoke and heat alarms or a combined smoke and carbon monoxide alarm which will help to increase the speed of detection.

Mains powered smoke alarms – no need to replace a battery.  Run through your mains power of the house. This will need to be fitted by a qualified electrician. Retro fitted smoke alarms have no signal wire, so to overcome this and allow the alarms to talk to each other you can have radio synced bases.  These are very easy to install.

Battery operated alarms are not ideal as people tend to let the battery go flat and forget to replace it.  Commonly, in rented accommodation batteries are removed to stop the bleeping or alarm from going off after burning toast.  However, something is better than nothing at all.

Fit smoke alarms at least 300mm from a wall or light fitting.


Best location for your alarms

  • Kitchen and garage – heat alarm.
  • Landings – ionisation smoke alarms or combined optical smoke and heat alarms.
  • Bedrooms, living rooms and hallway – optical smoke alarms or combined optical smoke and heat alarms.

Exeter's Electrician
Bailvieaire, Oxton, Kenton, Exeter. EX6 8EX.
T. 07966 395 305