If you’ve been thinking about upgrading your building’s fire alarm system, you’ve probably come across the terms “addressable fire alarms” and “conventional fire alarms”. You may even already know the difference between the two: that conventional fire alarms are all wired to the same control panel, so if one goes off they all go off, whereas addressable fire alarms give each individual alarm unit (smoke detectors, heat detectors, pull stations, etc) its own unique address so you can see exactly which unit is going off at any time. So the only question left is, which type of fire alarm is best for your building?
Benefits of Addressable Fire Alarms
Obviously, the benefits of addressable fire alarms are numerous. Since they tell you (or, more importantly, your fire alarm technicians or the fire department) exactly which devices are going off, it becomes extremely easy to figure out either where there is a fire or, in the event of a false alarm, which specific device is going off. This makes them invaluable for large buildings or building campuses where a single control panel may service dozens of alarm units.
Another benefit of addressable fire alarms is that they require less cabling than conventional fire alarms. All of the devices installed as part of an addressable fire alarm system connect to a single cabling loop that runs through the entire premises, making it easy to install new devices.
Benefits of Conventional Fire Alarms
Conventional fire alarms are set up in zones, with each zone hardwired into a control panel or zone expander. Different devices have to be run on different zones, e.g. smoke detectors run on a separate zone from pull stations. That said, conventional fire alarm systems are much less expensive and require significantly less labor to install.
Addressable Fire Alarms vs. Conventional Fire Alarms – the Bottom Line
Given all this, it seems like a no brainer that addressable fire alarm systems are the way to go. And for large buildings or building campuses, they are essential – the information they provide to both fire alarm service companies and the local fire department (should they ever have to show up) is invaluable. That said, if you have a small storefront or an individual building, they may be more trouble than they’re worth. If you want to install a New Jersey fire alarm and you’re not sure if you should install an addressable fire alarm or a conventional fire alarm, call Confires! We can help you determine which type of fire alarm would be best for you, given the size and use of your building.