Ionisation vs Modern Smoke Alarms

What is wrong with Aico EI141RC Ionisation Detectors?

Ionisation detectors contain a very small amount of a radioactive element called Americium 241 (so small it is not harmful to humans), the element causes air molecules to form a small electric current inside the chamber of the detector. During a fast flaming fire smoke particles very quickly enter the chamber and disrupt the electrical current causing the trigger to sound the alarm. Although excellent at detecting fires quickly these detectors are also unfortunately prone to causing false alarms from regular domestic activities including burnt toast. The radioactive element although not harmful to humans in the small doses used in the individual alarms causes problems during mass manufacture and disposal.

Have Ionisation Detectors Been Banned and Where Can I Buy Them?

In January 2019 the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC or voice of the UK Fire & Rescue Service) lobbied for the removal of Ionisation smoke alarms through legislation. In December 2020 the Governement revised the regulations in accordance with the manufacture, transportation, storage, handling and disposal of smoke alarms containing Americium-241.

Ionisation detectors although not yet banned in the UK have been banned in Germany, France and some other EU member states. Manufacturers are now being forced to shoulder the costs associated with the safe storage and disposal of the radioactive element this has led most of the manufacturers halting production and in fact st Electricpoint we have now exhausted all our stocks of ionisation detectors and Aico wont sell us anymore.

What are the alternatives to Ionisation Detectors?

New technology is available now, new combined multi detectors including combined heat and optical smoke detectors including carbon monoxide detectors are excellent at detecting fires. To most fire types combined alarms now typically respond faster than the old ionisation equivalent alarm the photoelectric detector. The cheapest mains powered alternative to an ionisation detector is the Aico Ei146E (requires a RadioLINK base for interconnectivity) by far our best selling optical smoke alarm, if you have a larger budget and for greater peace of mind have a look at our range of combined detectors.

Model NoDetector TypeApplication
EI3028 Heat & Carbon Monoxide Kitchens, Garages
Ei3024 Optical Smoke & Heat Hallways, Landings, Bedrooms, Lofts, Living & Dining Rooms


We hope that this has helped to answer your question, if you still have questions please contact a member of our knowledgable team on 0203 994 5470, drop us an email at or use our Contact Form.