When it comes to fire safety in your home, you must select the appropriate device to protect you and your family. After all, in a house fire, a smoke alarm can mean the difference between life and death.
However, homeowners may need help distinguishing between smoke and heat alarms, and it may be challenging to figure out which device to use. So, in this article, we’ll look at the differences between heat alarms vs smoke alarms to help you make a more informed decision about the fire safety devices that are available to you.
What Is The Main Difference Between A Heat Alarm And A Smoke Alarm?
Simply put, a smoke alarm is a device designed to detect smoke produced by a burning object, whereas a heat alarm is designed to detect the heat produced by a fire.
For a deeper explanation, here’s Cameron from the team explaining the differences between heat alarms and smoke alarms in Australia:
An In-Depth Look At Both Smoke Alarms And Heat Alarms
Smoke alarms, such as the Lifesaver LIF6000, use photoelectric technology that detects smoke particles as they flow through the air. The smoke from a fire will rise to the ceiling and float through the air, and as the smoke particles flow through the alarm’s detection chamber, the smoke will pass through the photoelectric sensor (think of a laser grid in a jewellery store). The alarm will sound once the smoke has interfered with the sensors.
Smoke alarms are the preferred device for home fire safety because most house fires start with a smolder, which produces a fair amount of thick smoke. As photoelectric smoke alarms are specifically designed to detect early-stage thick smoke from fires, having one can alert occupants well before the fire becomes too out of control, giving them enough time to put out the fire or evacuate the building.
Heat alarms, such as the LIFHA240, use heat sensing technology to activate when the temperature of the air around the alarm reaches a pre-set level (57°C in the case of the LIFHA240).
Heat alarms are less effective than smoke alarms at detecting fires because they require a specific temperature to be reached. It can be challenging to predict when the room will reach the required temperature, and the fire will likely be burning dangerously when the air in the room becomes hot enough. Because fire can quickly become out of control, this is not ideal in sleeping rooms or access ways where occupants must escape.
When Do I Use A Heat Alarm?
Because of the nature of a smoke alarm, contaminants other than smoke can set it off, resulting in unwanted false alarms. Insects, dust, and moisture are the most common causes of false alarms in smoke alarms.
Because heat alarms respond to temperature, they are much less likely to be set off by non-fire-related contaminants. We recommend heat alarms in areas where using a smoke alarm could result in frequent and unwanted false alarms. This includes the garage, bathroom, kitchen, and roof cavities.
A Final Look At Smoke Alarms vs Heat Alarms
Although smoke and heat alarms alert you when there is a fire, smoke alarms should be used whenever possible, while you should install heat alarms in areas where smoke alarms may frequently trigger accidentally due to contaminants.
For the highest level of fire safety, we recommend placing heat and smoke alarms alongside each other within a household. Ideally, they should also be interconnected smoke alarms to each other, so the whole house is alerted if either of them triggers.
Source Your Smoke Alarms And Heat Alarms From PSA Products
A family-owned Australian business since 1985, PSA Products has been safeguarding Aussie homes for almost 40 years. We design our Lifesaver Smoke Alarms and Heat Alarms to meet the latest Australian Standards, ensuring the highest level of fire safety for your home.