Design Details: Hiding the Unsightly


To most, talking about the aesthetics of fire detectors isn’t a sexy or high-minded topic. But if, as the old saying goes, you feel that God is in the details, you are going to find this blog heavenly.

The sensors are so small, they have to be called out to be seen.

No one disputes that fire detectors are absolutely necessary and save lives—including the National Fire Protection Association, which mandates them. However, if you care about the look of things, it’s unlikely you’ve gazed at the seven-inch discs on the ceilings and thought, “That looks really great!”

Now, there’s an answer for homeowners who are safety concious and style minded: The VEA from Xtralis. The system uses small, easy-to-diguise sensors—they are about the size of a quarter. It works by drawing in air through narrow tubing and then analyzing it for smoke. 

“Homeowners do not want to take the focus away from vaulted ceilings, furnishings or extravagant finishes by installing traditional smoke detectors,” says Queen Gonzalez, a co-founder of Intelligent Fire Systems & Solutions, Inc., a fire and life safety installation company based in Southern California.  “This is driving a demand for recessed, hidden or concealed smoke detection.”


The sensors are paintable, which renders them practically invisible.

Because the sensors are paintable and small, homeowners can make them practically invisible. 

“You can get creative in concealing the sampling points so they blend in with the surroundings,” says Chris Santamaria of Intelligent Fire Systems & Solutions. “The sampling points can even be concealed in ceilings with multiple types of finishes including plaster, wood, marble or behind crown molding.  All that is required is a small point of entry for the sampling tube.” 

But the system isn’t just about looks. According to the company, the VEA detects smoke earlier, likely because it’s constantly drawing in air, rather than passively waiting for smoke to waft by. Its detection system (which uses a laser-based technology) is also reportedly better at pinpointing the exact spot of origin for a fire.

In short, these types of systems claim to make your interior more sleek and more safe.



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