Smoke Alarm Sensor Types

by Steve on November 13, 2009



Types of Smoke Alarm Sensor


The following smoke alarm sensor types are suitable for different applications.


Optical or Photoelectric

Sensitive to larger smoke particles produced by smouldering fires like furniture.


Suitable for mounting in landings and hallways to reduce false alarms from kitchens but not in steamy areas near to showers or bathrooms.



Sensitive to smaller invisible particles in smoke which can be produced from cooking.


Suitable for dusty or occasionally smokey locations as they are less sensitive to more dense smoke particles.


More likely to cause false alarms than the Optical when near kitchens.



Not sensitive to any smoke.


Suitable for kitchens but only when linked to smoke detectors which are mounted in circulation areas such as hallways and landings.




At least one on each floor area (hall & landing).

One sensor between lounge or kitchen and bedrooms.

Also see Where to Site and How they Work.



A mains voltage system requires linking between sensors with 3 core & earth cabling, however radio frequency or Radio Link bases can be used to prevent the need for wiring.



Each mains or battery operated sensor must incorporate an integral sounder.


Part B of The Building Regulations deals with Fire Safety in dwellings.


For more details on Alarm Installations and the requirements of BS 5839: Pt.6: 2004 visit links: AICO       SD Alarms

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

davo January 13, 2014 at 22:39

Great site. V useful thanks.

Rex Taylor February 22, 2012 at 17:47

Hi Steve,

This is a very helpful site and there are other manufacturers of Smoke Alarms and Fire Alarms to consider such as Kidde Fyrnetics on
Hope this is of help

Best wishes


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