What's The Difference Between A Fire Alarm, Smoke Alarm, And Smoke Detector?

24 August 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Smoke alarms, fire alarms and fire detectors save thousands of lives every year. As a property owner, it's important for you to understand the difference between the types of fire detection systems, and which type of detection system is appropriate for your property.

What's the difference between a smoke alarm, fire alarm and a smoke detector?

A smoke alarm is a standalone detection device that monitors the conditions in the room to detect smoke. When smoke is detected, the detection device sounds an alarm to alert people in the area to the problem. Smoke alarms can be connected to other smoke alarms so that all smoke alarms in a building will go off at once, but this is not necessary for safety.

Smoke detectors are a part of a larger system. The only thing smoke detectors are able to do is monitor the conditions in the room and send signals to a fire alarm control panel elsewhere in the building. If a fire is detected, the control panel will sound the alarm to alert people in the building. Smoke detectors do not themselves have components for an alarm, but they alert the fire alarm. 

Where are the different installations found?

Smoke alarms are found in residential homes. Many states have laws regarding the installation of smoke alarms on residential properties. Often smoke alarm installation is a requirement before a real estate transaction can take place, and new properties are built with smoke alarms hard wired into the home.

Smoke detectors and fire alarms are more commonly found installed in commercial businesses and apartment dwellings. The exact size of the fire alarm installation often depends on the recommendations of the fire assessment, which must be completed when a business reaches a certain size or level of employment. 

Can you install any fire detection systems as a DIY project?

Many homeowners install their own battery operated smoke alarms as a DIY project. Smoke alarms come with instructions to help homeowners choose the best location for their smoke alarms, as well as instructions for testing and operation.

By contrast, fire alarm installation should be done professionally to ensure that the fire alarm is installed to code. This helps to ensure that anyone on the property at the time of a fire should be made aware of the problem and will be able to escape to safety. 

If you need a fire detector installed, what should you do?

If you need a fire detector/smoke detector system installed at your commercial property, contact a reputable fire alarm installation business in your area. To ensure the installation is done correctly, be sure to contact a company, like Bevan Security Systems, Inc., that specializes in these types of installations and not a general contracting company.