Created: Jun 28, 2015
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Smoke detectors are typically housed in a disk-shaped plastic enclosure about 150 millimetres (6 in) in diameter and 25 millimetres (1 in) thick, but the shape can vary by manufacturer or product line. Most smoke detectors work either by optical detection or by physical process (IONIZATION), while others use both detection methods to increase sensitivity to smoke. Sensitive alarms can be used to detect, and thus deter, smoking in areas where it is banned. Smoke detectors in large commercial, industrial, and residential buildings are usually powered by a central fire alarm system, which is powered by the building power with a battery backup. However, in many single-family detached and smaller multiple family housings, a smoke alarm is often powered only by a single disposable battery.