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How to keep your smoke detectors healthy and how to troubleshoot them

How can i remove the mains supply to clean my smoke alarms without damage?

Look for the labeling inside your fuse board. Smoke detectors usually have their own circuit, or can be part of another circuit – usually the lights. When the power has been removed the green light will go out on the detectors. If you switch the wrong circuit off you might end up having to reset clocks on the oven and central heating system! Look for breakers labelled “B6”. It’s highly likely your smoke detectors are installed on a 6 amp circuit. If your lighting is “B10” then its also possible they are installed on that circuit as well.

Look for labeling inside your consumer unit. If you cannot find “smoke alarms”, “smokes” or “smoke detectors” look for “B6” (highlighted in green). Any B6 breaker will be supplying devices with very little power requirements – like lights, smoke detectors, intruder alarms and ceiling fans.
Aico recommend their detectors are cleaned monthly.

How can i identify the sensing alarm when i have four detectors?

If your alarms are inter-connected; the alarm detecting will have a red light flashing rapidly. Press the silence button for a few seconds on this one and it should silence all of them. If your detectors are stand-alone (so one does not trigger the other) – then it will be the detector making all the noise!

Detectors beeping after electrical work has been carried out

If you have a chirping alarm after the power was switched off its likely the detector(s) need to be replaced due to their age, a fault – or both. The lithium models will beep whilst recharging, however they should keep the detector powered for around 72 hours when working correctly. So if the power has only been off for a few hours whilst the fuse board has been replaced for example it shouldn’t cause any problems with a healthy alarm.

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Is your smoke detector overdue a replacement?

How can i stop my alarm going off when cooking?

Ensure the cooking area is well ventilated. The most common reason for false alarms whilst cooking is due to the wrong type being fitted. Heat detectors are the best choice for kitchens. They look for a sudden rise in temperature and less likely to alarm when the toast gets burnt. New detectors come shipped with covers which can be used when cooking. Just remember to remove them afterwards!

My smoke alarms beeps when the battery is installed

On non-mains detectors like the Aico Ei100 series it is normal for the alarm to sound for 2-3 seconds.

How many detectors do i need?

Most homes need a minimum of two or more to help early warning. They need to be within a suitable distance to detect smoke and to alert the occupants. South Wales Fire Service can advice on the amount and where they should be located.

How do i know if i can hear my smoke alarm when asleep?

You could ask family, friend or a neighbour to press the test button whilst you are asleep. Aico suggest you could turn a radio on at conversation level in your bedroom with the door shut and and ask someone to press the test button. If you cannot hear the sounder it’s unlikely you would hear it when fast asleep. It’s for this reason inter-linked detectors are advisable.

Where is the best location for a detector to be installed?

Smoke rises to the ceiling and spreads out. This is why a central location on the ceiling is preferred. Air in the corners does not move making them an unsuitable location. On a sloping ceiling they should be located 90cm from the highest point to avoid dead air space.

Manufacturers recommend smoke alarms are a minimum of 300mm away from light fittings.
*Centrally located on the ceiling
*A minimum of 300mm from light fittings, walls and obstructions that could interefere with the sensing (like a fan or vent)
*Less than 7.5 metres from the alarm location to the edge of the coverage area
Some detectors need to be installed flat – so on a ceiling.

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