fire monitoring system

How Often Should You Replace Your Smoke Detectors?

A smoke detector is a device which detects smoke, usually indicating a fire. Commercial fire monitoring systems activate a fire alarm control panel whereas residential smoke detectors (commonly known as smoke alarms) provide a local audible or visual alarm from the detector itself. The smoke detectors are kept in plastic enclosures and can detect smoke both optically (photoelectric) and through a physical process (ionization). A central fire alarm system is usually used to power smoke detectors. Residential smoke detectors can either be individual battery-powered units or have numerous interlinked mains-powered units with battery backup. All the interlinked units are triggered if any one of the units detects smoke.


If you are looking for fire monitoring systems in Edmonton, Amptec Fire and Security can help. We offer fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire hydrants to homeowners and businesses. We install, inspect and service all our products. We also provide an extensive range of commercial security systems.


What Are the Different Types of Smoke Detectors?

There are two types of smoke detectors which are:


Photoelectric smoke detectors:

These are quicker at sensing smouldering fires. The detector comprises of a light emitting diode and a light sensitive sensor, which are located in a sensing chamber. If there are any suspended smoke particles in the chamber, the light beam gets scattered which is then detected by the light sensitive sensor, triggering the alarm.


Ionization smoke detectors:

They are faster at sensing flames and are the most extensively used type of detectors. These use a small amount of radioactive material to ionize air in an internal sensing chamber. This causes the air to become conductive which allows current to flow between the two charged electrodes. The conductivity of the air decreases when smoke particles enter the chamber and the alarm is set off when the conductivity reduces to a predetermined threshold.


Using a combination of both detectors is the best option for most properties.


Maintenance and Replacement

Smoke detectors must be tested every month to make sure they are functioning properly. Most of the alarms have a test button. Press it to check if the alarm is working. If you don’t hear the alarm or if the sound is weak, replace the batteries. Ensure you do this every year and it is recommended to replace smoke detectors every 10 years.


Amptec Fire and Security offers fire monitoring systems in Edmonton. We also provide other building safety equipment including emergency lighting, emergency generators and carbon monoxide detectors.


To learn how to pick a fire alarm for your business, read our blog - How to Choose the Right Fire Alarm System for Your Business.


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