Reducing False Alarms: How Photoelectric Sensors Improve Smoke Alarm Reliability

Having a high-functioning smoke alarm on your property is one of the most important things you can do to protect inhabitants – and your assets. That said, one of the complaints we hear quite often in the industry is about the prevalence of false alarms. 

Not only can these be a nuisance, but they can even lead to complacency around fire safety. After all, if you hear a false alarm enough times, it’s understandable to assume that all subsequent alarms are false, too. This is a major safety concern and one we’ve sought to rectify with the CAVIUS system.

The photoelectric smoke alarm is an advancement in the smoke alarm industry we’d like to call your attention to today. Having significantly improved reliability and reduced false alarms, this product represents a huge leap forward in fire safety across all residential and commercial applications.

Today, we’re going to run you through a few ways photoelectric smoke alarms have changed the game, including a look at the benefits of choosing them for your property.

Understanding Traditional Smoke Alarms

First, to understand what a leap forward photoelectric sensors are, we have to understand what came before. Traditional smoke alarms generally use ionisation sensors to detect smoke particles in the air. This means they ionise the air between two electrodes, creating a ‘current’ that flows between the two points. If that flow is disrupted, the alarm senses it and goes off.

Aside from smoke particles, ionisation alarms will also often trigger when fumes, steam, or even dust cross the two points. They’re sensitive to almost any kind of small particle, creating false alarms. Since smoke alarms need to be near the kitchen and living spaces, false alarms are more likely to be set off while cooking, resulting in many frustrated homeowners disabling their smoke alarms altogether.

The Role of Photoelectric Sensors

Photoelectric sensors offer a more reliable alternative to ionisation sensors, especially when it comes to setting up a fire safety system at home. Photo’ – meaning ‘light’ – refers to the use of light scattering in these alarm systems.

When smoke particles enter the chamber in this type of smoke alarm, they scatter the light beam, which triggers the alarm. 

Thanks to this advanced light beam mechanism, these alarms are much less affected by common household activities like cooking or showering. This ensures that you’ll generally only be alerted when there’s a genuine threat to your safety.

Not only does this reduce how often your smoke alarm is triggered, but it also ensures you don’t become complacent because of repeated false alarms.

Early Detection of Smouldering Fires

Smouldering fires tend to produce more smoke and less heat, meaning ionisation alarms don’t detect them as well as photoelectric alarms do. When it comes to fires, every second counts, and early detection can provide valuable time for anyone in the building to evacuate safely.

Choosing a photoelectric smoke alarm can help you avoid catastrophic avoidable damage – and save your life.

NZ Fire Safety Compliance

In New Zealand, Fire and Emergency Services recommend installing long-life photoelectric smoke alarms. As smouldering fires can burn for hours before finally spontaneously bursting into a full blaze, it’s best to have smoke alarms that can detect these fires early.

They also recommend that property owners choose an interconnected smoke alarm system when and where possible. That way, if a fire is detected in one room, all the smoke alarms in the building sound off to ensure everyone hears it at the same time. For multi-story structures and properties with long hallways, this is especially important.

At the end of the day, the best option is an interconnected system of long-life photoelectric smoke alarms. They far exceed the capabilities of traditional ionisation smoke alarms, keep you safer, and have a longer lifespan.

Photoelectric alarms are also excellent as part of a broader system. You can supplement your smoke alarms with heat or carbon monoxide alarms to have a full suite of fire safety technology for ultimate peace of mind.

Meet the world’s smallest, safest smoke alarms.

CAVIUS are recognised leaders in the fire safety industry, offering a range of smoke, thermal, and CO alarms for enhanced safety. Our range is highly effective and designed to be small and unobtrusive enough to blend into your decor seamlessly.

Ready to upgrade your fire safety at home? Explore our range of photoelectric smoke alarms today.