Below are a collection of commonly asked questions we receive from our visitors. If you need any further help or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us and we'll be happy to help.
Q = Question
A = Answer
Q: Do I need an ionisation or optical smoke alarm?
A: We recommend using an optical smoke alarm in hallways, as these are less likely to go off because of cooking fumes from a connected kitchen. Optical smoke alarms are also ideal for living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, as they are good at detecting smouldering fires from soft furnishings. For landings we recommend ionisation alarms. Heat alarms are designed for kitchens and garages. No alarms should be installed in bathrooms.
Q: What is the difference between an ionisation and an optical (photoelectrical) smoke alarm?
A: Ionisation smoke alarms detect fast flaming fires and are suitable for landings. Optical smoke alarms detect slow smouldering fires typical for burning soft furnishings. Optical alarms are suitable for living rooms and sleeping areas and are used near kitchens as they are less prone to false alarms. Please note that ionisation alarms contain a small amount of radioactivity.
Q: I don't want my smoke alarms to beep when the battery runs low, but I also don't want to replace them yearly if they are still charged. Are there any alternatives?
A: Change the alarms for long life, lithium battery powered alarm, which last 10 years. Alternatively you can install mains powered alarms.
Q: Can I put my smoke alarm on the wall, or must it be mounted on the ceiling?
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.
Q: What is the best way to test my alarm?
A: We recommend testing alarms by pressing the test button built-in to the unit, as this is designed to simulate the detection of the target stimuli (usually smoke, heat, or CO) at the alarm sensor. You should test your alarms regularly to ensure they are protecting building occupants, preferably every week. For more detailed guidance, check the manual included with your alarm.
Q: Why is my alarm beeping?
A: In general there are three reasons an alarm might beep, other than when a fire is detected. It could indicate 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. Finally it could be an issue with the 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
Q: How long do smoke alarms last before needing replacement?
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.
Q: How are smoke alarms fitted to the ceiling?
A: Smoke alarms can be either screwed to the ceiling using the holes on the base plate (screws provided) or fixed using a magnetic sticky pad, this can be added to your basket through the ordering process.
Q: What smoke alarm should I use in a bedroom with an en suite bathroom?
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 that can originate from upholstery type materials and over-heated wiring. Also, an optical smoke alarm would be less likely to sound a false alarm than an ionisation would, if steam/water droplets were present from the bathroom. Detectors should be installed as central to the room as possible; however for your application I would also consider the position of the en suite 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.
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Q: What is Carbon Monoxide?
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.
Q: Why is Carbon Monoxide dangerous?
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. Many more people die through strokes and respiratory illness made worse by inhaling low levels of CO over prolonged periods. More, still are left with permanent damage and invalidity.
Q: What are the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
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 heart beat, over-breathing (hyperventilation), confusion, drowsiness and difficulty breathing. Ultimately it leads to coma and death.
Q: How can you protect you and your family?
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. Buy a Carbon Monoxide alarm/detector. 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
Q: Where should I install carbon monoxide detectors?
A: CO detectors should be installed near boilers and other potential sources of carbon monoxide. Keep a 1 to 3 meter 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.