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Smoke detectors vs. heat detectors: What’s the difference?


There are various types of fire safety equipment that you can install in your home, and each of them have different functions. Heat detectors and smoke detectors both protect you from fires and provide early warnings, but they differ in the ways in which they achieve this. 

Fire safety equipment has become a topic of concern recently, particularly for Scottish residents, who are now required by law to install interlinked smoke and heat alarm systems. In this article, we compare the different types of alarms, discuss what they do and explain why this information matters to you. 


Why you need to pay attention

It is now a legal requirement for Scottish residents to have heat and smoke alarms installed throughout their homes, in addition to a carbon monoxide detector if you own a carbon-fuelled appliance. Failure to comply can result in legal action being taken against you. 

Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017, authorities have performed extensive research into the state of fire safety across the United Kingdom, and the results were pretty troubling. It was discovered that nearly 90% of Scottish homes didn’t contain interlinked fire alarms, making them hazardous to reside in. 

This is the motivation behind the new legislation, and in our opinion, it’s a wise move by the government. This is because interlinked fire alarms are not only inexpensive and easy to install, they are extremely effective at what they do.

The vast majority of deadly house fires occur while people are asleep and traditional fire alarms do not wake people up in a large portion of cases. Older, unlinked fire alarms only sound in the room where the fire was detected. Meaning if one goes off in your kitchen while you’re in bed, you’re at risk of not hearing it.

Interlinked alarms solve this problem because they connect to each other throughout your house, and if one detects a threat, they all sound simultaneously. This provides homeowners with the vital early warning sign that they need to respond to the fire. 

Heat, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

The law calls for three types of alarms, but only two if you don’t use any carbon-fuelled appliances at home. Heat and smoke alarms are essential for all homeowners, and they must be interlinked. Carbon monoxide detectors don’t need to be interlinked and you only need one if the reasons mentioned above apply to you. 

Interlinked heat detectors work by sensing significant increases in temperature that are associated with fires. Once a certain temperature threshold is breached, a mechanism triggers within the alarm and sets off a loud ringing noise. These alarms are designed for kitchens where they may be exposed to smoke in the absence of fire, preventing false alarms. 

Smoke detectors pick up tiny smoke particles in the air and are designed to be installed in all other areas of your home. They can detect small, smouldering fires, like those caused by overheated wiring.

Being interlinked, these alarms work together and form a powerful fire safety system. Reach out to us today and we can answer any queries you may have or help you bring your home into compliance.

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