Benefits of Using Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

Benefits of Using Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

When you consider buying a smoke alarm system for your home, you generally have two options. One is an ionization smoke detector, the other being a photoelectric smoke detector. Both have their pros and cons. But, if you’re specifically looking for photoelectric smoke alarms, you must know about the benefits they offer.

How Photoelectric Smoke Alarms work?

Photo means light, and electric implies electricity. Therefore, photoelectric smoke detectors use light for detecting fire. The alarm system comes with a light sensor that is capable of sensing luminosity in its surrounding. This sensor is embedded inside of a chamber.

The sensor aims at light sources continuously. In case of a fire, when the smoke enters the chamber, it distorts the light coming into the chamber. This action triggers the smoke system, and people in the house are alarmed. This operation is unlike that of ions, which rely on the ions released into the air.

So is this a different approach to smoke detection any good? Well, it is. Here are some benefits:

More Responsive to Fire

The main benefit photoelectric smoke alarms have to offer is they’re more responsive to fires than ionic alarm systems. This feature is directly attributed to the way it operates. The chamber inside the system constantly monitors a light source.

As soon as there’s smoke, it distorts the light coming into the chamber, which then affects intensity. This is easier to detect than having ions moving through air to detect smoke. Therefore, a photoelectric smoke alarm system is more responsive to fire and smoke.

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Fewer False Alarms

Smoke detectors are also notorious for triggering false alarms. As per statistics, the U.S. fire departments responded to 2,889,000 false alarms in 2018 alone. While this includes all forms of false alarms, both industrial and residential, and for other types, the evidence of false alarm problems is pretty clear.

The commercial security alarm systems are used in various settings, including office buildings, retail stores, and warehouses. Security alarms work by detecting intrusion, then sounding an alarm to alert security personnel or the police.

In Australia, another stat suggests that Fire and Rescue NSW responded to 48,000 alarms, and 97% of them were fake. Smoke detector alarms are designed to prevent false alarms. They’re designed to ignore the steam present in the kitchen or showers.

Requires Less Maintenance

Photoelectric alarm detectors employ fewer components to run the system. There’s only a sensor, a chamber, and an alarm in place as major components. On the other hand, Ionic versions make use of electrical plates and sensors to perform the same action. These are actually tough to maintain. Also, the components might not be readily available for some type of ionic sensors.

No-Risk from Radioactive Materials

Ionic smoke detectors use radioactive material to ionize the air. This material is placed in between the two electrical plates. While the strictest measures are taken for radioactive leakage, not everyone is comfortable with such materials being around themselves.

For example, in a commercial kitchen or food packaging facility, such materials may be prohibited. Therefore, photoelectric smoke alarms are a better option in those cases and safe as well.


Before buying photoelectric smoke alarms, you must look for a warranty option and certification of the detector. It must have passed all tests and be certified for use.

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