August 13, 2015

Smoke Detector | JRC Rewiring

At JRC Rewiring we know how important having a smoke detector is that  can detect quickly enough a fire in your home to alert you and give time to move to safety. However, smoke detectors can be a nuisance as they go off without any smoke present in the home.

So why are smoke detectors beeping or chirping without reason?

There could be a few causes which make your smoke detector going off, beep or chirp when smoke is not present on the premises.

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  • Check the batteries

If you have smoke alarms powered by user-replaceable batteries they will run out and as a result the alarm will sound to indicate that they are running low.

If the alarm keeps chirping after you change the battery, make sure you installed the battery correctly. You may need to reset the alarm by holding down the test button, to clear the battery failure from its memory.

  • Dust and debris

Smoke detectors should be cleaned regularly to avoid dust, debris, insects cover or accumulate inside the alarm. Smoke alarms are sensitive electronic devices and the sensors will give false alarms when contaminants are present.

Clean your smoke detectors every three months. Remove it from the mounting bracket and by gently using a vacuum cleaner with the soft brush attachment or compressed air vacuum or blow air through the openings around the perimeter of the alarm. Never allow paint or solvent cleaning materials to enter your alarm.
After cleaning reinstall the alarm and test it by pressing the test button.

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  • Humidity

Smoke Detectors are particle-sensing devices. Humidity, steam and condensation can cause false alarms.

When there is condensation in the surrounding atmosphere, the alarm will set off. Condensation (water vapour) is formed when is very cold out or a door adjacent to a heated area is opened. Steam is formed in the bathroom or kitchen, therefore do not install smoke alarms in or too close to those areas.

  •  Location, location, location

If smoke detectors are placed too close to fuel burning appliances, they can give false alarms due to the combustion particles produced.
Install smoke detectors at least 6 metre from fuel burning appliances and 3 metre from high humidity areas. If its not possible, fit them as far as possible.

  • End of life

Alarms are designed to last for around ten years and if the alarm is significantly older than this, the electronics inside the alarm may become faulty.

Usually smoke detectors will give you an intermittent beep when they reach their end of life but you should always check the date of manufacturing on the back of the unit and replace it if it is older than 10 years.

In all cases of nuisance beeping or false alarms do not disconnect your alarm or leave the alarm without batteries fitted. This would leave you unprotected and you would not receive any warning in case of fire.

Finally if you are looking for a smoke detector that will never chirp, chime or go off without a real cause, something reliable with the traditional methods for back up then a hard wired smoke detector may be required. Get in touch with JRC Rewiring for more information on what’s involved and costs incurred.

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