Wired Vs. Wireless Fire Alarms- What’s the Best Choice for Your Business?April 13, 2018 9:31 am
Fire safety is an essential concern for any business. Not only will an insufficient fire alarm system put your staff and property at risk, but you could also be breaking the law if you aren’t meeting your legal obligations. All businesses must carry out an in-depth fire assessment survey, and then follow up the findings of that survey to match its requirements. At SSH Fire and Security, we’ll be happy to perform this survey for you to get the ball rolling. However, you’ll still have quite a lot of choice when it comes to your new fire alarm system, and there’s one question that looms above all others- should you opt for a wired or wireless fire alarm?
This decision might seem fairly simple, but there are actually a number of different factors to think of before settling on one or the other. Luckily, SSH is also here to help you make the right choice for your business. We’ve put together the following article so that you can see which approach may work best for you.
What’s the Difference Between Wireless and Wired Fire Alarms?
First of all, let’s take a look at how each type of fire alarm works, and the key differences between them. A wired fire alarm, as the name suggests, is hardwired to a control panel. There are actually two types of wired fire alarms: conventional alarms, which group multiple alarms into different zones, and addressable alarms, which detect exactly where the alarm was triggered. Addressable systems are therefore more precise, and so better at helping you respond to a fire, but they tend to cost more than conventional systems.
Wireless fire alarms, on the other hand, are freestanding units that connect to the control panel using radio waves. Most of these systems are addressable and come fitted with powerful transmitters to provide a reliable connection at all times. They are powered by batteries which will typically only need to be replaced every five years or so. As long as you regularly check that everything is working as it should, then wireless fire alarms are generally just as effective as their wired counterparts.
Benefits of Wired Fire Alarm Systems
Wired fire alarms are by far the most common approach. There’s one major reason for this: they tend to be cheaper off-the-bat than wireless models. Since they don’t need to include expensive transmitting tech, the alarms themselves can be made for less, and these savings are then passed on to the end user. This can be particularly useful for larger businesses who will need more alarms spread across a wider space. It also makes repairs cheaper, since parts for wired systems are more readily available. You’ll be able to fit more alarm units into your budget- which makes wired fire alarms a great choice for the cost-conscious consumer.
Wired units are also incredibly reliable. As well as being hooked up to the mains, most come with a battery backup in the event of a power failure. This is especially important when you consider the fact that most large fires tend to knock out the electrical supply in the building- so without that backup, your employees won’t be able to call for help and evacuate the building. There’s also no risk of signal interference, which can be a fairly common problem with wireless alarms. If there are too many units grouped together in a small area, then the radio signals can overlap and obstruct each other- but that’s not an issue with wired alarms.
Wireless Systems Have Their Advantages, Too
The main advantage of wireless fire alarms is that they are incredibly easy and cheap to install. Since there’s no need to fit any cables, they can be installed with minimal disruption to your business. While they are a little more expensive than wired systems, this cost is offset by the fact that you won’t need to pay for all the man hours needed to fit them or cover the costs of huge lengths of cables. Both wired and wireless fire alarms thus tend to come in at roughly the same price, once installation is taken into consideration.
In addition to the simpler installation, there are also a few more advantages that come with a lack of cables. Firstly, it minimizes the risk of the connection between fire alarm and control panel being damaged. It’s fairly easy for cables to accidentally be severed by other construction work, or even someone tripping on a wire and pulling it loose. With wireless fire alarms, though, that’s not going to be an issue- instead, you can count on the powerful radio waves to maintain a strong connection at all times. The lack of cables also means you won’t have to compromise the appearance of your business with unsightly wires snaking their way across your walls and ceilings.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, wireless fire alarm systems are also a lot more flexible. They can be fitted virtually anywhere inside your business, so that your staff will never be far from an alarm in the event of a fire. You can even remove the alarms for maintenance and take them with you if you move premises. For convenience and longevity, the wireless approach certainly has the edge over wired alarm systems.
Make the Right Choice- Come to the Experts at SSH
As you can see, then, there are pros and cons for both types of fire alarm systems. You’ll need to think carefully about which approach is best suited to your property- but luckily for you, SSH Fire and Security are on hand to help you make the right choice. We are delighted to offer a completely free, no-obligation survey to all prospective customers. Our surveyors will carefully check over your entire site, and work with you to come up with a custom solution that perfectly suits your need and budget. If you choose to go ahead and work with us, you can be certain that SSH will do a thorough job of fitting your new fire alarm system. You can count on us to get things done right- so contact SSH today on 0808 164 0280 to find out more about what we have to offer!