Fire alarms, also called smoke or fire detectors, are intended to warn building occupants of fire. Ionization alarms detect flames, whereas photoelectric alarms detect smoke. Many alarms are known as dual sensor alarms because they detect both smoke and flames. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends alarm installation within every sleeping area and on all levels of a building. A fire alarm that is beeping should be inspected to ensure it is in working order.
Many fire alarms have a button or switch labeled "Test" or "Demo." This function allows the alarm to be tested to ensure it is functioning properly. Sometimes a button or switch can be triggered accidentally and the alarm may begin beeping frequently. Depressing the button or flipping the switch may stop the beeping. There may be a button labeled "Hush" on the alarm. This button can be pushed if the alarm is triggered by a cooking or candle accident. Push this button if the "Test" or "Demo" button fails to quiet the beeping. If the beeping continues, there is another source for the noise and the alarm should be further inspected.
In battery-operated smoke or fire detectors, beeping for no apparent reason is typically indicative of a low or dead battery. Unscrew or remove the battery compartment lid and extract the batteries from the alarm. Replace the batteries promptly to protect the building's occupants from smoke or fire injury or death. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, some alarm units are intended to be fully replaced rather than replacing just the batteries. Consult your alarm instructions. Test the alarm and replace batteries at least once a year for maximum efficiency. Your fire department may offer free installation of fire alarms by a firefighter.
Hard-Wired Electrical Alarms
Hard-wired electrical alarms are fire detectors connected to the electrical wiring of the building. Installation of this alarm must be completed by an electrician. Some electric alarms also have back-up batteries so the alarm continues to function during power outages. If your electric fire alarm is beeping, first check the back-up batteries if present. These batteries should be replaced annually. Next, switch off the breaker connected to that section of the building, and flip the breaker back on. If the beeping continues, the alarm may be defective. If the alarm is connected to a home security system, contact the service provider for instructions on how to disconnect the alarm until the company can send a repair technician.
A fire alarm may be defective for numerous reasons, but the primary reason is age. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends replacing all types and models of fire alarms every eight years. The U.S.F.A. also suggests noting the alarm's purchase date inside or on the alarm unit with a permanent marker to remind you of the alarm's age. Some alarm companies print or apply this date on a label somewhere on the alarm unit.
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