Optical smoke detector: Function and areas of application

Optical smoke detectors are suitable for almost all premises. Learn more about function and specifications now.

Optischer Rauchmelder-CWS Fire Safety

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31 July 2023 Fire Safety

An optical smoke detector is the classic among fire detectors. Optical smoke detectors are suitable for almost all rooms, e.g. public buildings, hotels, event and assembly centres, office buildings or hospitals. The only restriction is for rooms where the air may be cloudy due to dust or steam.

Optical smoke detector: Function

An optical smoke detector detects an increased concentration of smoke in the air. For this purpose, it is mounted on the ceiling of the room where the smoke first collects in the event of a fire.

A basic distinction is made between

  • Optical smoke detectors according to the scattered light method
  • Optical smoke detectors according to the see-through method
    (Note: no longer used in practice!)

An optical smoke detector based on the scattered light method has two separate diodes (photo and light-emitting diode). If the finest smoke particles penetrate, they reflect the scattered light so that an alarm is triggered.

Specifications for optical smoke detectors

Regular maintenance and replacement of the devices is necessary in order to maintain the protection target. Optical smoke detectors in particular are exposed to external influences (e.g. dirt) that can impair their functionality.

Important: The annual maintenance of optical smoke detectors is mandatory!

Depending on the model, replacement is required after 5 - 8 years.

We will be happy to advise you on the use of optical smoke detectors. We are also happy to take care of installation and regular maintenance.


Optischer Rauchmelder-Vorgaben-CWS Fire Safety

Questions & Answers

How does an optical smoke detector work?

An optical smoke detector usually uses the scattered light principle. In the normal state, two diodes are optically separated from each other. In case of fire, the smallest smoke particles cause the light to be reflected and trigger an alarm.

Where are optical smoke detectors suitable?

Optical smoke detectors are basically suitable for all rooms that do not have increased air turbidity (e.g. due to dust or water vapour).

For rooms with increased air turbidity, heat detectors or multi-criteria detectors are useful as a supplement.

How often is maintenance required?

Smoke detectors must be serviced once a year by a competent person.

Which optical smoke detectors does CWS offer?

We offer various models of smoke detectors from the most popular manufacturers. These include EI Electronics, Fireangel, Hekatron and Kidde.

Do you have any questions regarding optical smoke detectors?

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