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Different Types of Smoke Detectors

Different Types of Smoke Detectors

Here’s what you need to know about the different types of smoke detectors.

Smoke detectors are used in different buildings all across the country, saving people’s lives. However, many people still don’t know how they work. There are two main varieties of detectors, and each type serves a different function. Here’s what you need to know about the different types of smoke detectors.

Ionization Smoke Detectors

Ionization detectors can detect smoke through the use of ionized particles. Each detector has a small mass of radioactive substance in it, and that substance is located in the middle of a pair of electronically-charged plates. The way these components react with each other is what causes air to ionize. As a result of this, a current is formed between the two plates.

Anytime that smoke gets inside of the detector, this current gets disrupted, causing the alarm to go off. Ionization smoke detectors are said to be better at detecting flaming fires, which are more aggressive and have open flames. Smoldering fires aren’t as easy for these detectors to notice, but other smoke detectors are better-suited for finding these fires.

Photoelectric Smoke Detectors

Photoelectric detectors function differently from their ionization counterparts. These detectors use light sensors to find smoke and rely on a light source. Whenever smoke gets into the detection chamber, the particles of smoke start to block the light beam, causing light to get reflected onto the detector’s sensors. This is what causes the alarm to go off. These smoke detectors are better for detecting smoldering fires because these are the types of fires that tend to fill rooms with smoke and fumes before they break out into open flames. This also means they’re better at finding fires early-on before they get out of control.

Which One Should You Install?

The best way to determine which smoke detector is best for you is to install one of each type in all rooms in your building. This will maximize your building’s safety by being able to detect as many fires as possible. You can never be sure when a fire will take place in your building, let alone what type of fire it may be, which is why we suggest you play it safely and be ready for any fire by installing different types of smoke detectors.


Anderson Fire Protection, Inc. has the expertise and skill to help your home or commercial property for all your fire protection needs. We have been working in the Maryland, Northern Virginia, Southern Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C. areas for over 25 years. We are known for our top-notch customer service and high-quality results. If you are ready for fantastic fire prevention and protection services, from fire sprinkler installation to fire alarm design and to consult, give us a call at (410) 796-4915 or visit us online.

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