Top Tips to Consider when choosing photoelectric smoke alarms

Smoke alarms have come a long way in recent years; the old style detector is now obsolete. Your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast will be able to advise you of the best types of smoke alarms to install around our home to provide you with adequate protection for your family and possessions. The vast majority of tragedies from home fires are because the property, either didn’t have smoke detectors’ or they had been disabled because of flat or missing batteries.

There is no question about smoke alarms, saving lives, but which alarms are best suited to your particular home could be confusing. These are some of the top tips to consider when choosing a photoelectric smoke alarm:

Types of fire or smoke alarms

The main types of smoke alarms in use in Australia are the photoelectric and ionization alarms.

  • Photoelectric alarms

This type of alarms contains a photo cell and also a light beam that shines away from the cell.

These work because when the smoke enters the alarm’s test chamber, the light beam is scattered by the particles of smoke, some of these are then deflected onto the photo cell which triggers the alarm.

These types of alarms are designed to detect slow, smoky or smouldering fires, the most common fires in homes. Their biggest drawback is that insect of dust that enters the test chamber can also set them off, but regular cleaning mostly of sets this problem.

  • Ionization alarms

This type of alarm contains a minute amount of radioactive material; this reacts to particles that are emitted by fires setting off their alarms. These alarms are best for quick fires that produce little smoke, but burn very hot and quickly. The most common household fires are the slow smoldering types that emit a lot of smoke before they erupt into flame. Often ionisation alarms are slow at detecting these types of fires. They are also likely to be activated from steam or cooking fumes, so are generally not used in kitchens, laundries and bathrooms

  • Dual sensor alarms

These types of alarms give you the protection benefits of both types of alarms, but are not usually suitable in high moisture areas such as kitchens, laundries and bathrooms. Your electrician on the Gold Coast can advise you on the placing and the best type to suit your home

Other common types of alarms

  • Carbon monoxide alarms

These alarms are used mainly in homes with gas furnaces or gas central heating systems. They will detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide a waste product formed from burning gas if your heater develops a fault and does not duct the waste carbon monoxide outside

  • Heat alarms

These were developed to detect excessive heat and are not affected by cooking fumes


The best solution for most homes is to use a combination of different alarms to suit your individual needs. Some smoke alarms are wired into your emergency power system, while others use batteries with up to a ten year life. But whichever type you use they all need regular testing Your electrician on The Gold Coast will give you expert advice as well as install the right smoke alarms for you, so your home and family are safe.