Ei Electronics - Smoke, Heat and CO Alarms.

Smoke Alarms FAQ's

This section provides answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Ei Electronics Smoke & Heat alarms.
Is there a single document with a comprehensive list of faq's on smoke alarms?

Yes, click here to download a pdf document with a comprehensive list of faq's on smoke alarms

What is a smoke alarm?

A smoke alarm is a self-contained electronic device that incorporates a means of detecting smoke (the smoke sensor) and a means of giving an audible alarm (the alarm or sounder or buzzer). By sensing smoke in the early stages of a fire and sounding a loud warning alarm, a smoke alarm gives an early warning of fire and buys you those precious few minutes for you and your family to get out safely.

What types of Smoke Alarms are there?

There are two types of smoke alarm - Ionisation and Optical (also described as Photoelectric).

Ionization smoke alarms are very sensitive to small smoke particles, produced by flaming, fast fires such as from a chip pan. They are marginally less sensitive to slow burning and smouldering fires, which give off larger quantities of smoke before flaming occurs.

Optical smoke alarms are more effective at detecting larger smoke particles produced by slow-burning fires such as smouldering foam-filled upholstery and overheated PVC wiring. They are marginally less sensitive to flaming fires.

Each type looks similar and is powered by a battery or mains electricity or by a combination of both. Some have additional features such as an escape light (can light-up the escape route) and a silencer button (for use where false alarms can be a nuisance e.g. when cooking). Some are interconnectable so that smoke detected by one smoke alarm will cause all the other units to alarm.

In addition to Smoke alarms Ei Electronics also design and manufacturer Heat alarms and Multi-Sensor fire alarms.

Heat alarms are the only type of alarm that should be used in a Kitchen as other types are prone to false alarms, ionisation from fumes and optical from fat/oil contamination. In some applications heat alarms are fitted in garages.

Multi-Sensor alarms combine the best features of an Optical Alarm with the best features of a Heat alarm. 3 good reasons for fitting a Multi-Sensor alarm are:

  1. Fire Response - it responds to all types of fire from flaming to smouldering.
  2. Easy Alarm Choice - fit in any room except kitchens.
  3. Compensates for Dust - virtually eliminates false alarms.

What type of Smoke Alarm should I fit?

As one's home is liable to have both types of fire - fast flaming fires from cooking and slow burning smouldering fires from furniture upholstery or wiring, ideally as a minimum level of protection one should fit at least one smoke alarm of each type i.e. one Ionisation and one Optical.
Sensor Type

Where should I fit a Smoke Alarm?

Do not fit a smoke alarm in the kitchen (cooking fumes may trigger a nuisance alarm) or bathroom (steam may trigger a nuisance alarm) or in a garage (exhaust fumes may set it off). In these cases we would recommend a heat alarm to provide extra protection.
Siting Smoke Alarms HB16Siting Smoke Alarms HB

Where should I not fit a Smoke Alarm?

Do not fit a smoke alarm in the kitchen (cooking fumes may trigger a nuisance alarm) or bathroom (steam may trigger a nuisance alarm) or in a garage (exhaust fumes may set it off). In these cases we would recommend a heat alarm to provide extra protection.

DODONTS Sitings

How many Smoke Alarms should I fit?

As a minimum level of protection, one should fit two smoke alarms - one Ionisation and one Optical. If your home has more than one floor, at least one smoke alarm should be fitted on each level. A combination of optical and ionisation, preferably interconnected will give the best protection. For maximum protection a smoke alarm should be fitted in each room of the house (except kitchen, bathroom or garage - heat detectors are recommended for these rooms). Again a mix of optical and ionisation alarms is recommended and ideally should be interconnected.

What rooms should I fit a smoke alarm in?

All rooms except kitchen, bathroom, garage should have a smoke alarm fitted i.e. living room, bedrooms and hallway and landings also.
 

How should I care of my smoke alarm?

Smoke alarms are very easy to take care of. There are three steps to remember.

1. Once a month, check the alarm by pressing the test button.
2. Replace the batteries once a year or when the alarm starts making a 'chirping' noise. A smoke alarm will start to make a 'chirping' noise when the battery needs to be replaced.Alternatively you may prefer to replace once a year - pick a holiday or your birthday for example and replace the batteries each year on that date. Long Life smoke alarms with a 10 year life battery are now on the market - these alarms are designed to be replaced as a whole unit, thus avoiding the need for battery replacement.

3. Keep it clean. Dust, debris and cobwebs can interfere with its operation, so vacuum over and around the smoke alarm regularly

How long will my smoke alarm last?

About 8 to 10 years, after which it should be replaced. Many smoke alarms carry a label with the recommended 'Replace-by date' - if not, you may write the purchase date on the side of the unit and replace in 10 years from that date. Always follow the manufacturers' instructions for replacement.

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