How to Tell a Defective FireX

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FireX makes several detector products: heat detectors, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors as well as a combination smoke/carbonmonoxide detector. All types are available as battery-operated, alternating-current operated (AC) or AC with battery backup. A FireX detector is guaranteed for five years and has a life expectancy of 10 years. A date code indicating when it was made is printed on the back of the detector. If the detector is close to its 10-year limit it should be replaced.

Press and hold the test button on the detector for three seconds, this should sound the alarm. An AC-powered detector should have a green light indicating that the unit has proper power, if not, consult an electrician. A battery-operated or battery-backup detector chirps and has a red light flashing four times in a minute to indicate low battery power, in which case you should replace the battery. If you push the test button and don't get an alarm but the detector shows a green light, if AC-powered (AC is OK), and the battery isn't showing it's low (no flashing red light), replace the detector.

Determine which detector initiated a false alarm, in systems that are interconnected, by finding the detector that is flashing red rapidly. Start your tests with that unit.

Clean your detector if it's going off for no apparent reason. Turn off the circuit breaker controlling the detector, if it's AC-powered. Remove the detector from its mounts by twisting it counterclockwise. Unplug the socketed wires from the detector, if AC-powered, and remove it from the ceiling. Once removed, use a small flat adapter on a vacuum cleaner to vacuum out any dust or insects that might be causing problems inside the detector. There is a gap between the front cover and the back plate that can be used for cleaning. Look for a small can through the gap that has slits in it, that is the actual detection mechanism, concentrate most of your cleaning in that area. Cleaning at least twice a year is recommended by FireX.

Some detectors are placed in known problem ares like garages, basements and attics, where dust and insects can get into the detector and cause false alarms. For areas like these its best to use a heat detector that isn't affected by dust and debris.

During an alarm, pushing the test button puts the alarm into "false alarm mode," a less sensitive detection mode, for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes it beeps twice to let you know it has reverted back to its normal mode. If the detector continues sounding after pressing the test button during an alarm clean, or replace, the detector.

Reset a detector by removing the battery and turning off the circuit breaker controlling it, if it's AC-powered. Press and hold the test button until it stops sounding. Replace the battery and turn the power back on. Some detectors have a "last error memory" and need to be reset after replacing the battery to work properly.

Tips & Warnings

  • To tell if a detector is AC-powered, battery powered or both, remove it from the ceiling and look to see if there are wires going into an electrical box. There is also a compartment where a battery can be inserted in most detectors and should be found on the back of the detector. If it just has wires to an electrical box it's AC only. If it has wires to the electrical box and a battery compartment it is AC with battery backup. If it only has the battery compartment then it's battery operated only.
  • Always turn off the power feeding an electrical device before working on it.

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