You might have a smoke alarm at home but you might not know how it works. Well, it’s actually not difficult to understand how smoke alarms work. The most important thing to consider is that there are two different models of smoke alarms. One this models, which is also the most popular amongst users, makes use of nuclear power and it’s generally called ionization smoke alarm. This model is a lot more common, it’s less high-priced and can be installed in small spaces. The other model on offer is the photoelectric smoke alarm. Let’s have a look at some important aspects of the two different models.
– Ionization smoke detectors
Inside an ionization smoke alarm there is a small quantity of Americium 241, which is a radioactive material, together with two plates that have opposite polarity. This is all contained in a metal chamber and a battery gives power to it and all the electronic components. This metal chamber gives the negative polarity, while a plate provides the positive polarity.
It’s simple to understand how it works. The americium creates alpha particles, which in turn ionize the oxygen and nitrogen atoms that move around in the detector. Put simply, it means that the electrons lose their nitrogen and oxygen and when that takes place, the air contained in the detector gets a positive charge. The new atoms are then taken to the metal chamber and the negative atoms are taken to the positive plate. If this process is continuous the smoke alarm won’t go off. Nevertheless, when there’s smoke in the detector it hinders the ionization and the alarm goes off. These alarms are very sensitive and they can work for many years.
Many people worry about the radioactive component in this kind of smoke alarm. But it’s important to say that they only produce a small amount of radiation. Apart from that, it’s important to say that the radiation emitted is in the shape of alpha particles, which are not powerful at all. If you use a sheet of paper, you can stop that kind of radiation. The metal chamber that has the Americium is likely to have more dangerous radiation. You will have to ensure that when you get rid of it, you should look for a good way of disposing it.
– Photoelectric smoke detectors
These kinds of smoke alarms are not very popular nowadays and this is mainly because they don’t work as god as an ionization kind. Photoelectric detectors work by using two different channels. One of the channels gives out light and the other recognizes the light. If there’s smoke in between the channels, then the alarm will go off.
The kind of smoke detector you go for will mainly depend on the use you will give it. Even when ionization detectors are the most popular alternative, you need to remember that they are a lot more effective in spotting smoke. Photoelectric detectors are also effective but for spotting slow fires that give out big particles. It’s always better to go for the two kinds of detectors so that you have a better detection. For more update and tips about the good use of smoke alarms, talking to your friendly Sydney electricians in town, check them at http://www.acesydneyelectricians.com.au.