Fire Protection

Changes to the UL268 Fire Detector Standard

Update on Standards for Smoke Detectors

25.02.2020 -

Standards across the world are constantly updated and changed and new fire detection products are manufactured and developed in line with these revised standards. Underwriters Laboratories (UL), is one of the world’s largest developers of safety standards, and on 30th June 2021, significant new smoke alarm and ­detector standards come into force. The new UL268 7th edition has been designed to reduce false alarms (or nuisance alarms) and detect different smoke characteristics.

The 2021 UL smoke detector standard for photoelectric and multi-criteria smoke detectors updates the 6th edition of UL268, which has been in effect for the last decade. There are more than 250 updates to the standard as part of the 7th edition, culminating in the addition of two new test fires. The new test fires are:

  • UL268 Clause 41.1.5: Cooking ­Nuisance Smoke Test and
  • UL268 41.1.5: Smouldering Poly­urethane Foam Test and Flaming Polyurethane Foam Test.

This means, that in countries that require UL listed systems including the US, Middle East and Asia, the new smoke detectors manufactured and installed after 30th June 2021 will have to be able to tell the difference between smoke from cooking or burning your food from actual life-threatening smoke.  The 2021 updates to the standard and the resulting new, smoke detectors are perhaps the most significant technological change the industry has seen in recent times.

Why has the UL Standard Changed?
The new flaming and smouldering polyurethane tests were added to ensure that newly manufactured smoke detectors perform quickly when installed in environments where modern, synthetic materials, such as polyurethane foam are used, for example in sofas, pillows and beds. The test addresses the concern that modern materials generally burn much hotter and faster and create more toxic fumes than the natural materials that they have replaced. Smoke detectors achieving the 7th edition of UL268 will be required to demonstrate greater sensitivity to the smoke produced by polyurethane fires, so that they respond more quickly and provide people with as much time as possible to evacuate a home or building in the event of a fire.

Cooking Smoke
Another issue has been the fact that many people get frustrated with false alarms caused by excessive smoke from cooking appliances and unfortunately deactivate the smoke alarm, rendering it useless in the event of a real fire; these actions have caused a high number of fire-related deaths. The updated UL standard and new smart smoke detectors are designed to address this issue by determining what type of smoke they are sensing and then make a judgment call on if it is caused by a threat or not.
The speed and accuracy of these new smart smoke detectors are unlike anything the industry has seen before and will significantly increase public safety and save lives.

Apollo Fire Detectors Solution
Shipping an American cooker to the UK and finding the closest comparison to a US burger, are just some of the lengths Apollo Fire Detectors has gone to in the development of its new range of UL268 7th edition compliant detectors.
Significant investment in time and resources has resulted in the development of the new Soteria UL range which replaces the Apollo Discovery UL range. Soteria UL is compatible with Discovery and CoreProtocol. It comes with a built-in isolator in the head to assist with the detection and correction of faults in fire detection systems. Apollo also has variants that are compatible with XP95A protocol.

Advanced Sensing
The next generation of smoke alarms and smoke detector systems that comply with the new UL268 7th edition will be equipped with advanced sensing technology that can reduce smoke alarm activation during a cooking event while allowing smoke alarms to have increased sensitivity and overall performance in modern buildings.

More about Apollo’s solution to the UL268 7th edition standard requirements:


*Apollo Fire Detectors Ltd.

36 Brookside Road
Havant, Hamphsh. PO9 1JR

+44 2392 492412
+44 2392492754