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A: Alarms that utilise an ionisation detection facility are particularly sensitive to fast flaming fires (electrical equipment for example) rather than the slow, smouldering type. This can make them more prone to nuisance alarms from cooking particles and steam. They do contain a small amount of radioactive material (Americium 241) which is how it is able to detect the fire. This cannot be disposed of with your general appliances waste.
Photo-electric (optical) alarms are best suited where there is a danger of slow smouldering fires such as those caused by cigarettes for example on foam filled furniture or bedding. They are less prone to nuisance alarms caused by steam or cooking particles. They are environmentally friendly and can be disposed of with general household waste.
It is recommended that Optical Alarms are best used in lounges and bedrooms and Ionisation are suited to hallways and landings.They should not be installed in bathrooms.
A: In general, the most common reason, other than when a fire is detected, is an issue with the battery or power supply. If it is a battery operated alarm, the battery might need replacing. If it is a mains powered alarm, there could be a problem with the supply of power to the alarm or the backup battery has not been installed correctly.Other reasons could be that the alarm is over 10 years old and needs replacing. You can find the replace-by date on the alarm itself. Sometimes dust build-up can also set optical smoke alarms off. If this is the case, use a vacuum or hair dryer on the cold setting to clean it.
A: The best location to install your smoke alarm is in the centre of the ceiling rather than on the wall. During a fire, smoke initially rises and then spreads to the sides of the room. By installing the alarm on the ceiling, this ensures that you receive the earliest possible warning of a fire.
A: Several RF smoke alarms form a group which has the ability to recognise each other's signals. If one of these alarms detects fire, it sends a digitally coded signal to the other alarms which then also sound an alarm. Radio-interlinked smoke alarms are used in larger houses, small commercial premises and wherever there is a risk that not everybody in the building will hear a fire alarm from a different part of the building.
A: All mains powered smoke alarms can be interlinked with signal wire. However, we also offer mains powered Kidde Slick alarms with radio-interlink. This saves the connection cable between the units.
In addition, we offer battery powered radio-interlinked smoke alarms. A sealed battery operated with ten-year battery life is also available.
Yes, each mains powered smoke alarm has to be supplied with mains power. In retrofit situations, this power supply will usually be taken from the nearest light fitting. In new builds the electrician will create a dedicated electrical circuit for the alarms. Normal mains powered alarms require also a signal cable between the smoke alarms. Where radio-interlinked mains powered units are used no signal wire between the alarms is required.
A: Radio-interlinked smoke alarms replace the signal cable between alarms with RF communication. A radio signal is sent when the test button is pressed, or the alarm senses smoke. This is received by all the interlinked alarms in the system and will cause all alarms to sound.
A: This depends from the model. Usually 12 or 15 alarms can be interconnected.
A: Change the alarms for long life, lithium battery powered alarm, which last 10 years. These are also available as radio-interlinked alarms. Alternatively, you can install mains powered alarms.
A: All our mains powered alarms have a battery backup. Although mains powered alarms without this option do exist (BS5839 part 6 grade E), they should be avoided as a lot of fires are caused by electrical faults leaving the building unprotected against fire if the smoke alarms have no backup battery. With our mains powered alarms you will always be protected.
A: Most radio-interlinked alarms have a range of 150 metres in an open space and up to 30 metres in buildings. The thickness of the walls and partitions will affect the travel distance of the signal.
A: It is recommended that smoke alarms are replaced after 10 years. This is because the sensors in the smoke alarms become less sensitive and may not activate when a fire is present.
A: There are detectors available which do detect both fire and carbon monoxide However, the actions to be taken for both outcomes are completely different.
A: Unfortunately, the sound level on a smoke alarm cannot be adjusted.
A: It is necessary that an electrician installs mains powered smoke alarms.
A: Batteries in radio-interlinked alarms do expire quicker than in other smoke alarms. RF smoke alarms are, however, also available with a 10 year sealed long life lithium battery. This battery will last for the 10-year life of the smoke alarm.
A: Radio-interlinked smoke detectors have a radio frequency range of about 30 metres in buildings. This means that as long as the detectors are all within 30 metres of each other, the interconnection should be achieved. Some of the RF smoke alarms can also act as repeaters, which means that larger distances can be achieved. So, a four storey house should normally be suitable for RF install.
A: Smoke alarms can be either screwed to the ceiling using the holes on the base plate (screws provided) or fixed using a sticky pad.
A: Yes, by pressing the test button on one alarm all the units in that family will also be activated. To 'teach' the units which other smoke alarms belong to the same family, the smoke alarms have to be set up together during the installation. This is done by pressing a 'house coding button' or similar process.
A: No, to stop the alarms from sounding the hush button on the unit that started the process needs to be pushed. Pressing any other unit will just silence that one unit. The unit can be identified by the rapidly flashing red LED.
A: The 9V alkaline batteries last 12~18 months. This period also depends from how often the alarms are tested. Lithium batteries will last up to 10 years.
A: Yes, hard-wired mains powered alarms can be wired to the unswitched live feed of the nearest frequently used lighting circuit.
A: Private households can drop off their electronic and electrical fire safety waste at their municipal recycling centre.
A: It is usually recommended to install an optical smoke alarm in a bedroom. This is because optical smoke alarms are slightly quicker at detecting slow smouldering fires than can original from upholstery type materials and over-heated wiring. Also, an optical smoke alarm would be less likely to sound a false alarm than what an ionisation would do if steam/water droplets were present from the bathroom. Detectors should be installed as central to the room as possible; however, try to make sure that the detector is not in the direct path of the joining door. This is just to try and avoid the chances of a false alarm. No detector is designed for use in bathroom areas.
A: Yes, air purifiers may cause ionisation smoke alarms to sound falsely.
A: The lithium battery of the smoke alarm will have lost some of its charge in storage. While it is re-charging, the alarm is giving a low battery warning. This might take a few hours.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
A: Carbon Monoxide (chemical symbol: CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and toxic gas created by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal and wood), as used in our everyday appliances such as heaters, engines and boilers.
A: Having no colour, smell or taste means that it is very hard to detect. Inhaling carbon monoxide reduces the blood's ability to carry oxygen, leaving the body's organs and cells starved of oxygen. Each year, over 50 people die in the UK as a direct result of exposure to Carbon Monoxide Gas (CO). Many more people die through strokes and respiratory illness made worse by inhaling low levels of CO over prolonged periods.
A: The symptoms of mild Carbon Monoxide poisoning are similar to those of viral cold infections: headache, nausea, dizziness, sore throat and dry cough. More severe poisoning can result in a fast and irregular heartbeat, over-breathing (hyperventilation), confusion, drowsiness and difficulty breathing. Ultimately it leads to coma and death.
A: Make sure rooms and heaters are well ventilated, have your chimneys and flues checked regularly, make sure boilers and heaters are maintained and serviced regularly. Install a carbon monoxide alarm near boilers and in the bedroom. A Carbon Monoxide alarm will measure the concentration of Carbon Monoxide in a room and sound an alarm if the CO concentration is higher than permitted
A: There is no legal or BSI requirement to test the CO detectors with a test gas. A weekly check with the test button is fully sufficient if you choose a quality CO detector. The test gas is offered as a 'belts and braces' option.
A: CO detectors should be installed near boilers and other potential sources of carbon monoxide. Keep a 1 to 3 metre distance to the boiler etc to avoid small start-up CO discharges to cause false alarms.
As you are likely to be most affected by CO in areas of your home that you spend the most time in it is advisable to install detectors in those areas as well, such as the living room and bedrooms.
It is also worth noting that while one detector is better than no detectors at all, larger homes may require several detectors to cover the property fully.
A: Do not install CO alarms above or below windows.
Although most kitchens contain fuel burning appliances it is not recommended to install your detector there. Kitchens can be quite steamy while you are cooking and this may affect the sensor in the CO detector. Similarly, it is not recommended to install detectors in dusty areas such as workshops or garages.