Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Two of the most important electrical items for your safety are you smoke detector and your carbon monoxide detector. Some detectors provide a warning if there is a fire in your home and carbon monoxide detectors let you know if there are unsafe levels of carbon monoxide building up in your home.
Their construction is very simple – this is what makes them so reliable (which is definitely an attribute you want in a smoke detector). There are two different types of smoke detector:
Photo electric detector – this uses a beam of light to detect the quantity of smoke in the air. When smoke particles are hit by the light this is recognised and sets the alarm off.
Ionization detector – This uses a radioactive substance to ionise the air within an electrified chamber. When smoke enters this chamber it interrupts the the electric charge which sets off the alarm.
Carbon monoxide detectors are just as important a smoke detectors (some would argue more important) because you are likely to notice a fire in your home quickly where as carbon monoxide is a colour less odour less gas that usually enters home from a faulty gas appliance.
Carbon monoxide detectors come in 3 different types:
Biometric detectors contain a small amount fo gel that reacts to carbon monoxide by changing colour an electronic sensor senses this and sounds an alarm.
Metal oxide semiconductor detectors contain a silicone chip, when the chip comes in to contact with carbon monoxide the current flowing through the chip reduces which in turn sets off an alarm.
Electrochemical detectors use a sensor that is submerged in a chemical. These are mostly used in industrial settings where the need for sensitive carbon monoxide alarms in necessary.
Ensure Your Safety
The reason we use fire and carbon monoxide alarms is simple – to let us know when we may be in danger. Having said this you would not believe the number of times I have tested an alarm and found the batteries are dead or the alarm no longer works due to its age. So i would encourage every one to test your alarms regularly otherwise they is no point in having them.