3 Types of Fire Alarm Monitoring System

Fires cause an unbelievable amount of damage. For a fire to start there will always be a source of ignitions, a source of fuel and source of oxygen. An example would be a smoker who falls asleep with a cigarette still lit, there is more than just a cigarette that can start a fire. Therefore, we are here to help you understand the types of fire alarm systems and how the central fire alarm system monitors can greatly reduce the possibility of fires affecting you or your business. 

Types of Fire Alarm System

Some of you do not know how many main fire alarms there are and what are the functions of eact fire alarm system. We are here to let you know more information about that. There are a total of three different main types of fire alarm monitoring systems. They are:

  • Ionization 
  • Photoelectric
  • Combination alarms

We have compiled each and every one of the types of alarm and how they can help to detect the fires. Let’s begin!


Ionization fire safety alarms are one of the best for detecting flaming fires. Inside of the alarm is a tiny bit of radioactive material (do not be alarmed), that is located between two electronically charged plates. This causes a continuous flow of ionized air between the two plates. If the smoke passes between the ionization currents, it will interrupt the current and triggers the alarm off. These alarm systems are more suitable for detecting fast, burning fires.

You may ask how does the ionization alarm works? Here is the step on how the ionization smoke alarm works:

  1. Inside the smoke alarm, there are two small tiny metal plates that are called electrodes that are connected to a battery to make it look like a circuit. 
  2. There is also a substance called Americium-241 (it is an isotope that is radioactive. Americium-241 converts air molecules into positive and negative ions because opposite attracts, then the negative ions will move towards the positive plates and the positive plates will move towards the negative plate. This movement creates the complete circuit and path of electricity.
  3. When smoke enters the smoke alarm, the ions will bond with the smoke that results in breaking the path of electricity. 
  4. When the flow of the electricity is reduced, the alarm will go off. 


Photoelectric are the types of alarms that are better for detecting smoldering fires. The smoke that is produced by a slow flaming, smoldering fire is much different than a raging fire. Smoldering is a fire that burns slowly usually with smoke but without flame. A photoelectric fire safety alarm uses a beam of light that is sent into a chamber away from a light sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, it reflects the light towards the sensor and triggers the alarm to sound. 

How does the photoelectric smoke alarm work? This is how it works in just 3 steps:

  1. Inside of the smoke alarm, there is an LED light that sends a beam of light (which is similar to a laser pointer) in a straight line across the chamber. In a separate compartment inside of the chamber, there is a photo sensor that detects the light.
  2. As smoke enters the detector, the smoke particles interrupt the light beam, scattering it in many different directions. Some of the LED light will scatter towards the light sensor. When the LED light beam hits the sensor, the alarm will go off.
  3. When the batteries in your smoke gets low, the smoke alarm will automatically activate a low battery chirping sound different from the alarm sound so that you are able to know that it is time to get a new batteries.

Do take note that some smoke alarms contain both optical and ionization smoke systems.


COmbination alarms feature both ionization and photoelectric fire detecting technologies. There are arguments for having combination alarms in your home, or having both ionization, and photoelectric alarms in your home to maximize your home protection as combination alarms are not as great as one detection method or the other, compared to the single units. 

What Type of Fire Alarm Monitoring System is Recommended?

There has been quite a bit of a debate happening about the subject matter of what would be the best fire alarm system. Well, both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms are better at detecting distinctly different yet potentially fatal fires because no one can predict what type of fire might start in a home. Most recommended is that every home and place where anyone sleeps would be required to have either both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms or dual sensor smoke alarms which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors. 

So, for the best fire protection is to have a combination of both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarms where people sleeps at. That would be the best way to prevent property damage and reduce the amount of physical harm from a fire. Do also have small fire extinguishers in your house if there would be a small fire happening just right in front of you eyes. The fire extinguisher would help in the long run if there is a small fire, do not attempt to take out a big fire using a small extinguisher. Let the professionals do it because you will get physically injured by doing things that you are not certified or capable of doing such thing. 

We have come to the end of the topic about the three main fire alarm systems. We hope that the information that we give you about each fire alarm system helps you to find the perfect set for your lovely home. The fire alarm system is not enough for you, you can also purchase any fire equipment such as the fire extinguisher for purposes like extinguishing a camp fire or a small fire that happens in the kitchen while cooking something. Do not forget about it! Lastly if the fire is igniting a big one do call for help.