In the UK alone, there are around 37,000 household fires every year – mostly caused by faulty electrical equipment or cooking appliances. Installing a smoke and carbon monoxide detector is one of the most basic steps you can take towards protecting you, your family, your home, and your possessions.
However, there’s considerably more to the process of safely installing and maintaining fire alarms and protection devices around your home.
Fitting the device
As a first step, you should visit a site like powerpointelectrics.co.uk, which offers a wide range of fire alarms and other smoke detecting equipment.
Most smoke detection equipment comes with a guide on how to open the device, fit a battery, and install it on your ceiling or wall. However, you should also bear in mind a few additional safety tips to ensure the unit works at optimum levels. You should also ensure you have the correct tools – including tape measure, screwdriver, power drill, hammer (if appropriate), and step ladder.
- Fit the detector as close to the centre of a room as possible. When choosing where to fit your device, ensure you select the centre of a hallway or room to improve the alarm’s effectiveness.
- Keep distance from other objects. You should also ensure the detector is at least 30cm away from walls or light fittings.
- Use an electronic detector. It would be best if you never drilled into a wall or ceiling without first checking for pipes or cables. Use an electronic detector before doing any drilling.
- Wear safety goggles. As you will usually be drilling into the ceiling, there is a tendency for debris to drop towards you. Always ensure you wear safety goggles and adequately position your ladder for safety.
- Mark the drill holes with a pencil. Hold the baseplate of your device up to the ceiling or wall where you intend to fit the alarm and mark the drill points with a pencil to ensure accuracy.
- Insert wall plugs. Once you’ve drilled the fitting holes, use wall plugs to give your device increased grip to the ceiling or wall to save it coming loose or falling.
- Attach the device. Once the baseplate is fitted securely, screw on the detector. With most modern alarms, this will activate the device, and it should start flashing (every 30-40 seconds is normal) to show it’s working. You should also press the test button on the alarm, to make sure it’s functioning properly. Note, if you unscrew the alarm again, the detector will stop working.
Maintaining your smoke alarm
Smoke detectors don’t require much maintenance; however, you must test them regularly to ensure they’re still working properly. A weekly test is preferable, but you should do at least a monthly check. Other small maintenance tasks you should consider include:
Changing the batteries. Replace your smoke alarm’s batteries annually – and remember to test it is still working after a battery change.
Listen for low-battery alarms. When the batteries are low in your smoke detector, it will usually make a low beeping noise. You should replace them immediately.
Clean the device regularly. You should clean the alarm every few months to remove any debris or dust that may have collected. Use a damp cloth and avoid using solvents, which might adversely affect sensors or circuitry. You should also avoid opening the unit to avoid accidental damage and never paint over a smoke detector as it will likely block openings.