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A Buyers Guide On the Different Types Of Smoke Alarms

There are many different types of smoke alarms that can be used to alert people of a fire. The main two types of smoke detectors are photoelectric smoke alarms and ionisation smoke alarms. As smoke alarms detect smoke and flames and save lives, it is important that working smoke alarms are installed. Here at The Local Electrician, we offer our professional smoke alarm installation service where we will install any type of fire smoke alarm. 

The main different types of smoke alarms are photoelectric and ionisation smoke detectors. Photoelectric smoke alarms detect smouldering fires quicker and ionisation smoke alarms detect flaming fires more effectively. When buying a smoke alarm it is highly recommended to look for models that:

  • Are battery-powered with the battery lasting more than 10 years
  • The model complies with the Australian Standards
  • There is a hush and test button available
  • Are able to interconnect with other models of smoke alarms
  • Have an expiry date to know when the smoke alarm will need replacing
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What are the Different Types of Smoke Alarms?

The two main types of smoke alarms that are available and installed within homes are:

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

These smoke alarms are more effective at picking up smouldering fires. This means when fires smoulder for longer periods of time before actual flames appear. They work by having a light source aim into a sensing chamber to project it at a different angle. When smoke enters the chamber and light is reflected back to the light sensor the alarm will sound.

Ionisation Smoke Alarms

For flaming fires, an ionisation smoke alarm will detect the flames more quickly. There is a small amount of radioactive material that sits inside of two electrically charged plates. This causes the air to ionise and a continuous current flows between these two plates. 

If smoke from fires enters the chamber then the flow of ions will be disrupted. As a result, the current will be reduced and the alarm will be activated.

What Should I Look for When Choosing a Smoke Alarm?

When it comes to installing smoke alarms inside of a home to alert of house fires there are many different models to choose from. Choosing the best one should be one as they are there to help warm people with home fires. The main aspects to look for when it comes to choosing a smoke alarm are:

Standards Compliance

It is important that the model of smoke alarms aligns with the Australian Standard AS3786. If the smoke alarm does not comply with the rules and regulations then often the model can be faulty. It is also required that the smoke detector complies with the safety standards as it is the law.

Long Battery Life

The best models of smoke alarms should last for 10 years and the batteries inside of them. A pre-installed and often non-removable lithium battery is designed to last the lifespan of the actual model. This is important because the need to replace the battery constantly is not needed. When batteries need to be replaced constantly in smoke alarms people can forget and then their smoke alarm does not properly work. 

Expiry Date

Along with a long-lasting battery, the smoke detector should have an expiry date easily readable. This is important because it is good to know when the battery will need replacing after it no longer works. Most better models of smoke detectors will last 10 years before the model needs replacing. 

Test and Hush Button

Good smoke alarms will have a test button and a hush button built-in with them. The hush button is helpful when the smoke alarm might beep from accidental smoke, such as burning food. Testing the smoke alarms is also a safety feature to ensure that they can be regularly inspected to see if they are still working.

To know how to test a smoke alarm our blog provides further steps and details into the important task. 


It is a good feature to have when the smoke detectors will all sound when one picks up smoke. This is where interconnected smoke detectors are beneficial and they can either be mains-powered or battery-powered. In case people are at the opposite point of the home when a smoke detector sounds and they cannot hear it, the other alarms in the house will be helpful.

Tips with Smoke Alarms

The following are a few tips regarding smoke alarms and ensuring they are working correctly:

  • In every sleeping area and pathway, a photoelectric smoke detector should be installed
  • Multi-storey homes should have a smoke detector installed on each level of the house
  • Each month every smoke detector should be tested, cleaned and inspected
  • The smoke detector should be replaced after 10 years and a new model be installed

Licensed Electricians Installing Smoke Detectors

The Local Electrician is here to install different types of smoke alarms into any home in Sydney. Our experienced Emergency Electrician workers will know exactly where to install smoke detectors in the house. The installation process will be safely and correctly performed while each smoke detector is tested. We will ensure that all smoke detectors are properly worked on to make certain they function properly and detect fires successfully.

We are available to work on smoke detectors across all of Sydney, including the Eastern Suburbs and Sutherland Shire. Our Level 2 Electrician team is offered to all locals as well for us to carry out more complicated and advanced electrical work.


For the best smoke detector installation services – contact The Local Electrician on 0439 823 190

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