You want to make sure your home, family, and pets are safe in case a fire breaks out, so it’s important to have the necessary equipment installed to alert you to such an incident. But you might be confused about the difference between heat detectors and smoke detectors, and which ones you should be using. In that case, read on for more information on this subject.
What’s the difference between heat detectors and smoke detectors?
The obvious answer is that heat detectors detect heat and smoke detectors detect smoke. Heat detectors sense the temperature of the room they’re installed in and sound an alarm when this rises above a certain threshold. So, when the hot air being released by a fire will rise up and the heat detector will sense this change in temperature.
Smoke detectors sound an alarm when smoke enters its chamber and disrupts the circuit, triggering the alarm. Depending on the type of detector, this is either achieved using a light source or ionization.
Which should you install?
Of course, fire produces both of these things, so why are two different products necessary? The key thing is that a fire might not be producing both heat and smoke at the same time, at least not enough to trigger both these alarms. When a fire starts, it may smolder for some time before producing actual flames. At this point, it won’t be producing much heat, but it will be producing smoke. Smoke inhalation is perhaps the biggest risk of fire for anyone in the building, so it’s important that this can be detected even if there isn’t a large fire.
So, in your home, smoke detectors are usually considered more essential than heat detectors. If a fire breaks out while you’re sleeping, a smoke detector reduces your risk of dangerous levels of smoke inhalation. Heat detectors may be more common in commercial buildings where the main priority is protecting the property from becoming damaged by flames. Both heat detectors and smoke detectors are likely to be installed to cover all bases.
One problem with smoke detectors, however, is that it’s easy to trigger a false alarm. If you burn some toast in the kitchen, spray too much aerosol nearby, or produce a lot of steam from showering or cooking, then you might find your smoke alarm going off. If your home alarm system is monitored, then this could even lead to an unnecessary response from the fire services. If you’re placing a detector in the bathroom or kitchen, then a heat detector may be more suitable for this reason, since they are less susceptible to false alarms.