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Smoke Detectors – What You Need to Know


We all have smoke detectors in our homes and businesses, but do we really know much about them? As one of Calgary’s most trusted electrical companies, we get asked a lot of questions about these life-saving devices. Here are the most important facts you should know:

Basic Components

Every smoke detector at its core has two important elements: the sensor and the loud electronic horn. Beyond this, they may also have a strobe light which can alert those who are hard of hearing. While the strobe light function may not be necessary in your home if no one in your family is deaf, we highly recommend installing these in commercial properties.

Ionization VS Photoelectric

Turns out, not all smoke detectors are created the same. In fact, there are two different types of technology at play. The first type of alarm utilizes ionization technology. These alarms are best suited for detecting fires with large flames. The second type of alarm uses photoelectric technology. These ones can better detect slow, smoldering fires. Some alarms, known as dual sensor alarms, combine this technology into one device.

Friends in High Places

Smoke alarms should be installed on the ceilings because smoke rises. One on your wall would take much longer to sense the fire, especially if the fire is coming from the opposite end of the building. Homes and businesses with multiple levels need to have a smoke detector installed on each level, including the basement. And because an emergency can happen at any time, place the alarms close to sleeping areas.


A smoke detector is one of those devices you don’t want to install and forget about. Make sure to test them once a month by pressing the test button. You’ll also want to replace the batteries once a year. Smoke detectors themselves will need to be replaced every ten years, bearing in mind that they are working effectively up until that point.

Smoke detectors are an integral part of home and business safety. Ensuring that they are installed correctly and tested regularly is key to their functionality. If you have questions about smoke detectors or need a replacement, call us today at 403-248-0037.

Written by 4-Star Electric

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