What should you look for when purchasing a fire alarm system?
Posted: 05/02/2020
4 minute read
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What should you look for when purchasing a fire alarm system?

Factors to consider when shopping for a fire alarm system:

The type of fire alarm

There are different types of fire alarm systems, and the most common include conventional, addressable, hybrid, and automatic/manual systems.

Addressable fire alarms allow each initiating device to have its own address, which makes it easier to see which devices are failing and those that are working. These fire alarms work well in large buildings but can be expensive.

Conventional fire alarms have various zones hardwired to a central control panel. These alarms are suitable for small buildings that have a limited number of devices.

Hybrid fire alarms have the hardwired zone setup combined with addressable loops on one control panel.

The size and layout of your home or business

The size and layout of your premises will decide which fire alarm system you choose. That’s because you need a device that provides complete coverage and fire protection. If you have a small space, you can opt for a conventional fire alarm that has call points and detectors that you can activate automatically or manually to raise the alarm.

More prominent buildings may need sophisticated alarm systems depending on their risk assessment. An excellent choice would be the addressable fire alarm systems that are programmed to specific locations.

The systems can control different fire safety features like recalling elevators to ground level, shutting down equipment, and activating fire suppression.

The system capacity

Each fire alarm panel has a fixed capacity in regards to the devices that can be used in each zone and the zones it supports. Choosing a fire alarm panel with enough capacity is essential. What’s more, going for a panel with adequate capacity allows for expansion by an installation electrician.

False alarm protection

The right fire alarm should allow you to put heat detectors in areas where the signal may be triggered. For example, in kitchen areas, the alarm can go off from burnt toast or steam from the kettle. Modern systems have an alarm verification function that only raises the alarm in case of fire.

Combined sounder and detector

If you’re looking to save on cable and installation, you’ll want to get a two-wire or an addressable fire alarm system as these enable you to connect the counters on the same cable instead of doing it on a separate sounder circuit like conventional fire alarm systems.

Your budget

Another aspect that you should never ignore when shopping for a fire alarm system is your budget. If you’re on a budget and are looking for something affordable, you might want to get conventional alarm panels. They cost less compared to addressable systems.

However, conventional systems are more expensive to install as each device that is being connected requires its wire. The installation requires a lot of wiring and more working hours.

Addressable systems, though expensive, are simpler to install and offer a range of features like panels to monitor the airflow through smoke detectors to prevent false alarms.

Frequency of testing and servicing

An addressable fire alarm system needs six-monthly checks by a competent engineer to look for defects. A conventional system needs quarterly testing, but also needs to be checked annually for alarm cabling and smoke detectors.


Finding a fire alarm system doesn’t have to be complicated. Evaluate aspects like the cost, functionality, features, renowned fire alarm system companies, and convenience when shopping. If you’re looking for fire alarm systems in Surrey, be sure to get in touch with Surrey Tech Services. Having been in the industry for years, we can recommend the best fire alarm systems based on your current needs as well as provide fire alarm maintenance services.

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