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What Are the Different Types of Fire Alarms?

Posted on: May 17, 2011

Different fire alarms are designed for different applications, and while they all serve the same purpose, they do so in different ways that may make some better than others in certain situations. The three types of fire alarms are as follows:

  • Thermal fire alarms – activated by heat
  • Ionization fire alarms – activated by flaming fires
  • Photoelectric fire alarms – activated by smoke

Each type of fire alarm has advantages and disadvantages and is designed to cover protect different types of rooms.

Types of Fire Alarms

Thermal fire alarms – thermal fire alarms sound when the temperature in a room reaches a certain level. While this means they can only detect a fire that’s already started, it also means that they are not affected by dust, smoke, or other airborne particles. Thermal fire alarms are not used in many buildings but can be very effective areas where particulates may be present in the air.

Ionization fire alarms – during a fire, invisible particles become ionized, which changes the way they carry electrical currents. Ionization fire alarms detect these changes and sound when the flow or current reaches a certain level Ionization fire alarms are highly effective against flaming fires where a lot of combustion is taking place, but are typically not as good at detecting smoky, smoldering fires.

Photoelectric fire alarms – photoelectric fire alarms use beam of light shot at a panel to detect fires. When the beam is interrupted by smoke or other particulates in the air, the light disperses and comes in contact with a photocell, which triggers the alarm. Photoelectric fire alarms work well against smoldering fires, but are not as effective against flaming fires.

If you want to upgrade your New Jersey, Delaware or Philadelphia building’s fire protection, call Confires today. We have years of experience in installing thermal, ionization and photoelectric fire alarms and can answer any questions you may have about your fire alarm.

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