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Heat Detectors as Part of a Home Security System

How They Work

Heat detectors are designed to sense unique changes in the surrounding air temperature; changes that are most commonly signs of active fire. Do not confuse these devices with smoke alarms or detectors. Heat detection devices are often used in areas where smoke alarms are ineffective or untrustworthy. In customized or comprehensive home security systems they may be used in conjunction with fire and smoke alarms and backed up by sprinkler systems.

Types of Heat Detectors

Heat detectors work by two different mechanisms: one is triggered by a rapid rise of heat compared to that of a set base temperature—a Rate of Rise detector; the other is triggered when the inside air temperature reaches a high setting—a Fixed Rate detector. Some models work on both mechanisms, making fire detection even more precise.

Since heat detectors work independently of smoke detectors and often in response to an actual fire you may also have a sprinkler system wired into the heat detection system. Once a fire is raging the quickest solution for property protection is the application of water.

Rate of rise heat detectors are commonly used in residential environments where the ambient air temperature would be fairly consistent until it was suddenly set to rise by fire. The quick increase of heat from a fire would easily trigger a rate of rise heat alarm and hopefully in enough time to alert you and your family.

Fire Protection for Your Home and Family

Many of the leading home security companies offer packages that include fire protection: smoke detectors, fire alarms and heat detection devices that all work in combination with each other. Systems like these are either hard-wired together or wirelessly configured to transmit any alerts to a remote monitoring center. Depending upon the level of security you choose you could spend anywhere from a couple hundred dollars up to thousands for a custom system that includes full fire protection.

Install Your Own Heat Detectors

When you don’t have a monitored home security system you can still incorporate heat sensors into your home. You’ll find a number of very affordable brand-name models that are easily wired into your electrical system and function in combination with your home’s smoke alarm devices.


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