The What, Why, and How-To Guide for Smoke Alarms

Share Now

The What, Why, and How-To Guide for Smoke Alarms

Posted on 04, Aug. 2023

A smoke alarm is a self-contained tool, when it senses the effects of a fire, it emits sound. This should not be confused with smoke detectors - these are the only smoke sensors and should be connected to a fire alarm system to be heard. Smoke alarms are usually found in residential areas, while smoke detectors are commonly used in commercial or industrial areas.

There are many different types of smoke alarms available for home use

1. Ionization alarms

These alarms contain a small amount of radioactive material, which can react to fire particles created by fire. They are very good at detecting fires that have little or no smoke. The disadvantage of these alarms is that they are radioactive, and they do not quickly detect large amounts of smoke. You can set these alarms on foys or stairs.

2. Electric smoke alarms

These alarms use an existing light source for a light-sensitive sensor. When smoke enters the alarm, the sensor detects this and activates the alarm. They are excellent at detecting smoldering fires and smoke (from foam-filled furniture and overheated PVC cords). However, it is not uncommon for distractions and dust to enter the light sensor, creating a false alarm. It is best to install these alarms in the hallways, bedrooms, and living rooms.

3. Other Types of Alarm

These include a dual-sensing alarm, a hybrid between ionization and imaging electric smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms that warn you when carbon monoxide reaches dangerous levels. Heat alarms can be a great choice for kitchens and garages as they detect heat instead of smoke or steam.

What to Look For In A Smoke Alarm?

Always invest in a good quality alarm. As it can be a matter of life and death, this is not something one should take lightly. Here is a list of features one can look for in a smoke alarm:

  • Comes with a General Certificate or ActiveFire registration - this is to ensure that the model complies with the standard Australian safety rules.
  • 7-10 year battery - it is also important to replace batteries when they are out of date.
  • Insect screen - to prevent insects from turning off false alarms.
  • Communication - allowing alarms to respond to eh other and alerting everyone in the house.
  • Escape lights - useful when the power goes out, to help direct people to a safe place.
  • Check button - lets you check to see if the alarm is working.

How to Make Successful Use of Your Smoke Alarm

Once you have decided on a smoke alarm, it is important to know where to place it in order to maximize its effectiveness. It is important to note that smoke rises and spreads when it comes in contact with a ceiling-like barrier. So a ceiling can be the best place for your smoke alarm.

To install a smoke alarm on the roof, keep in touch with an electrician if you are unsure how to do it. Smoke alarms will also require batteries as a primary source of power or as a backup in the event of a large power failure in the event of a fire. Alkaline batteries are a good choice as they can last between 12 and 18 months, while lithium batteries usually last about 5 years.


It is also recommended that you check your alarm weekly by pressing the built-in check button. This is designed to mimic the discovery of smoke. If your smoke alarms are connected, you can check if they are working properly. If you experience problems, check your manual or contact an electrician. 

If you are looking for a reputable fire alarm provider, BuildMyInfra with the help of a diverse range of products due to its vendor connection offers a wide range of high-quality smoke alarms, including wifi smoke detectors specially designed to keep you and your family safe.