Did you know that photoelectric smoke alarms are mandatory all across Queensland when installing new or replacing old ones? That is despite the fact that it’s estimated that almost half of all smoke alarms in this country are still of the ionisation smoke alarm type, despite the fact that any reputable fire authority will tell you they are inferior.

What’s wrong with ionisation smoke alarms?

While good at detecting an actual flaming fire, the ionisation alarms are now famously bad at knowing when a slow, smoky, early-burning fire is in the making. There’s plenty – millions, in fact – installed all across the country, though, because they used to be the best. Now, they’re just the cheapest – and it’s a fact that so many people simply disable them after a while because of all the annoying false alarms. And if you’re replacing a dead smoke alarm, they’re also now basically illegal in Queensland.

What’s better about photoelectric smoke alarms?

First, say bye-bye to those nuisance false alarms – because that hardly ever happens with the photoelectric smoke detectors. You’ll only get your ears blasted in the dead of the night by the photoelectric variety if it ‘sees’ visible smoke. And without getting stuck in the details about precisely how the sensors work, take our smoke alarm installation team’s word for it that they’re simply better at:

  • Triggering an alarm with a smoky, smouldering fire
  • Causing fewer smoke alarms from toasters, kitchen (smoke) or bathroom (steam) activity
  • Not containing the radioactive material critical to ionisation smoke alarms.

While radioactivity is needed for the ionisation smoke alarm, the photoelectric alarm version works with a light source that detects when it ‘sees’ any trace or a single particle of smoke whatsoever.

Photoelectric VS ionisation smoke alarms

Across Queensland, don’t worry about choosing between photoelectric or ionisation smoke alarms – because you don’t have a choice! For everyone else, here’s why photoelectric alarms is definitely the go:

1. They’re faster

In case of fire, every second counts. The research is that ionisation or photoelectric smoke alarm head-to-head, a slow-flaming fire, will be detected faster with the newer, better technology. All that’s needed is a single particle of smoke to enter the device’s chamber and boom – the alarm is screeching into your ears.

2. There are less false alarms

Are you sick of the toaster or the bathroom steam setting off your smoke alarms? Chances are, you’re struggling with a radioactive ionisation smoke alarm, which falls short of the new Australian Standard 3786-2014, requiring better sensitivity thanks to the need for finer gauze and indicator light.

3. They’re not radioactive

Did you know your previously ‘standard’ ionisation smoke alarms – the ones your home may currently be fitted with across Australia – are actually radioactive? Sure, we’re talking 1 microcurie or so of americium-241, with a half-life of over 400 years – and most Australian authorities will admit that the radioactive risk is, therefore, “negligible”. But it isn’t zero.

Bonus Reading: 4 Things To Know About Wireless Smoke Alarms

Your local option for photoelectric smoke alarm installation

Did you know Your Electrical Expert can fit your place out in a jiffy with high-quality photoelectric smoke alarms? Not only are they safer, but falling foul of Queensland’s new smoke alarm rules risks a nearly $700 fine per breach – and all hardwired 240v smoke alarms must be installed by a licensed electrician. To fulfil your obligations and protect your property, family and clients, get in touch with Your Electrical Expert today.