Fires have been making Houston news lately. Did you know that heat detectors are included home security equipment?
Heat detectors and smoke detectors both alert you to a fire. The two detectors are not created equal, however. Each type of detector has a specific use, but the two types of detectors are designed to complement each other and work together.
Smoke detectors work best on fires that have a lot of smoke. If you get smoke, it doesn’t matter how hot the fire is. If you have a fire that does not produce smoke, the detector’s alarm won’t sound, even if the fire produces intense heat.
So how do you protect your property and your family when there’s a fire, but no smoke?
Heat Detectors to the Rescue
Heat detectors are designed to alert you to a fire when there’s little or no smoke initially reaching the smoke detector. Think of all your spaces where smoke might not reach the detector. In the kitchen if you have the hood running, in a room with high ceilings, in a steamy laundry room or bathroom, or in a well-ventilated garage.
Dusty and/or steamy, humid areas are also good candidates for heat detectors. A smoke detector does not sense the chemical composition of the smoke. Any foreign particles in the air can break the connection inside the smoke detector and cause a false alarm.
Heat detectors produce fewer false alarms than smoke detectors. The technology used to trigger the alarm doesn’t matter. Both thermocouples and electro-pneumatic sensors are designed to sense changes in environmental temperature.
Heat Detector Types
Your decision on the best heat detector to use will come down to two types of detector. You have a choice between rate of rise (ROR) detectors or a fixed rate detector. Both have conditions that they are best suited for.
Keep in mind that both types of heat detectors should not be placed in the path of hot or cold air flows. Cold air can disrupt the ability of the detector to sense rising temperatures; hot air flow can trigger false alarms.
Fixed Temperature Heat Detectors
Fixed temperature heat detectors are the most common type of detector and are the least expensive. The majority of fixed temperature detectors are set at 135°F. This means that as soon as the air around the detector reaches 135°F, the alarm sounds.
Fixed temperature detectors are best at alerting you to flaming, fast developing fires. Because they have a specific setting, there is a lag time between when the fire starts and when the air around the detector reaches the set temperature and triggers the alarm.
Most fixed temperature detectors must be replaced after they are activated.
Rate of Rise Heat Detectors
Rate of rise detectors work by measuring environment temperature increases. The difference in temperature is usually measured over one minute to the next. When a sudden temperature change is sensed, the detector’s alarm is triggered. These detectors will work well with slow developing, smoldering fires.
Many ROR detectors are programmable. You are able to manually set the rate of rise for both slow developing fires and fast flare ups.
Heat Detector Bottom Line
Heat detectors aren’t designed to work alone and don’t replace smoke detectors. They are designed to work in conjunction with and augment your smoke detector. You can even choose to get a combination heat detector. Most people choose a single detector such as heat + smoke or heat + carbon monoxide.
Although they have a lower false alarm rate than smoke detectors, they are slower to alert for fires. They are extremely effective in areas that smoke detectors don’t work as well, and should be used in
- Well-ventilated areas where smoke quickly disperses
- Areas having excessive steam, dust, and/or humidity or where chemicals are used
- Small areas where there is a chance of fire
Most security companies recommend that you use both heat and smoke detectors. Having the additional home security in case of fire gives you additional peace of mind that your family is safe.
Houston’s Safeguard Home Security has helped Houstonians protect their homes for over 30 years. Give them a call today to find out how heat detectors can defend your family and home.