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Electric Smoke Alarms

Discussion in 'Security Alarms' started by Michael P Gabriel, Oct 22, 2004.

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  1. Hi! I have two smoke alarms in my residence that are wired into the
    house's electricity. The other day I had a house full of smoke from a
    minor microwave fire! Neither alarm went off but they definitely
    should have, considering the amount of smoke tht passed by and under
    them. Yet when I depressed both red light test buttons, the loud
    piercing alarms sounded.

    Question 1: How can I know if the alarms are safe to use? Should I
    replace both? Are they operative and just coincidence that the alarm
    never went off. Electric smoke alarms are expensive and I'd rather be
    sure that they are bad before I reinvest in a pair.

    Question 2: what is the purpose of the red light button. For testing,
    I know is one purpose. Would the other be to show that the power is on
    or that the alarm is safe and useable?

  2. Frank Olson

    Frank Olson Guest

    Your microwave fire may have been putting out the wrong kind of smoke for
    your particular detectors. Chances are you're running ionization type which
    respond better to faster flaming fires (but have the annoying habit of going
    off when the humidity gets to high like when you open the bathroom door
    after a hot shower). It's recommended that AC smoke alarms be replaced
    every ten years, so if yours are getting anywhere close to that in age, I'd
    consider that. I'd also suggest you upgrade to photo-electric smokes and
    follow a more rigorous cleaning and testing regimen. Pushing the "test"
    button accomplishes nothing more than ensuring the "buzzer" and the button
    are OK. Get yourself some FM approved smoke detector tester and use that
    instead. Follow the instructions on the can though or you risk
    contaminating the sensing chamber.

    Frank Olson
    Free listings for qualified dealers and industry professionals
    You can read the ASA FAQ at
  3. The wired in smokes you describe are probably inozation type which do not
    pick up all types of fire but concidering amount of smoke you may want to
    have them replaced as ionazation smokes have been found to deteriote over
    time in fact NFPA recomends replacing them after 10 years
    personally I always install Photo electric type smokes they are much more
    reliable i only use ionaztion on a limited basis

    Nick Markowitz Jr.
    Markowitz Electic Protection
    Private Industry Fire Investigator.

    Contributing Editor Pa. Firemans Magazine
    Staff Editor
    Senior Correspondant
    Exclusive Correspondant
    Contract Broadcast Engineer WAVL 910 AM apollo Pa.

    "To error is human to realy foul things up requires a computer"
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