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Archive for April 2015

The Difference Between a Smoke Alarm and a Fire Alarm System

April 20, 2015

fire smoke alarm

Fire alarms and smoke alarms save lives and you cannot afford to live or work without them. Though, there is universal confusion that fire alarms and smoke alarms are the same thing. In fact, they function very differently and as a result suited to different environments.

Smoke Alarms and Smoke Detectors

A smoke alarm or detection system is one, or more units mounted on the ceiling, as either stand-alone units or networked together in a system.

Components are activated when smoke and heat are present in proximity to the alarm. Temperature sensitive units respond to heat; those with photoelectric sensors respond to smoke particles in the air. Smoke detectors that use an ionization sensor depend on chemical reaction, to detect smoke caused by blazing fires. They are the most common and are fairly cheap.

When a stand-alone unit is set off, a fire alarm sound goes off. When one unit of a system is set off the whole system responds with an audio alarm. Inexpensive, stand-alone single units can be purchased for under $20.00 and are battery operated. A network of detectors can be either wired to 120V household electrical circuit and connected to other detectors throughout your home, or battery powered. Though, most units running on the home electrical system also have battery back-up in the event of power failure.

A fire alarm system is comprised of:

Detection devices - heat sensors, photoelectric sensors (for smoke) and ionization sensors (for chemical reaction).

Alarms- including audio and visual features; such as loud buzzing, ringing, and flashes of light.

A fire alarm control panel the main control unit of a system; connected to a central monitoring station at a home security company or a local fire department.

Manual signal boxes - the customary break glass, and pull switch boxes which are manually operated to signal a possible fire.

An emergency battery system which kicks on in the event of power failure.

Fire suppression components, such as a fire sprinkler system; engaged in the actual event of a fire.

Hire a Qualified Professional

A home or commercial fire alarm system requires the certified services of an electrician or fire alarm technician for installation and maintenance. For an estimate, or more information on smoke alarms, smoke detectors, and fire alarms call J.P. McCurdy Electrical Services 781-595-7074.