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Smoke, Fire & Gas Detection FAQs

Why is my smoke alarm beeping?

If your smoke alarm is sounding continuously, first check there is no smoke or fire in your property. If no fire or smoke is present, or the alarm is beeping intermittently, there are three main reasons why this may be happening:

  • It could indicate the alarm is over 10 years old and needs replacing. View our range of smoke alarms to find a replacement.
  • There could be a build up of dust inside. To clean it, you can use a vacuum cleaner or hair dryer on a cold setting.
  • It could also be an issue with the power supply or the batteries may need replacing.

Read our in-depth smoke alarm troubleshooting guide to find a full list of reasons and solutions.

How often should I replace my smoke alarm?

You should replace your smoke alarm every 10 years. This is because the sensors in the alarm become less sensitive and may not activate when a fire is present.

Sign up to our smoke alarm reminder service to be reminded by text or email when your alarm is due to be replaced.

What is the difference between an ionisation and an optical smoke alarm?

Optical smoke alarms, also known as photoelectric detectors, have a high sensitivity to large particles in the air. They are slightly quicker at detecting slow-smouldering fires that produce a lot of smoke (such as fire from soft furnishings). They are suitable for living rooms and sleeping areas and are used near kitchens as they are less prone to false alarms. 

Ionisation smoke alarms use a small amount of radioactive material in the sensor chamber to detect fires, as such they are being discontinued. Safelincs encourages customers to purchase optical smoke alarms instead.

See also heat alarms for the most suitable protection in a kitchen.

Read more about how different smoke alarms work.

Why do your mains-powered alarms have batteries?

Mains-powered alarms have a battery as a backup in case the power fails. Without the backup battery, the building would be unprotected against fire while the electricity was cut off. With our mains powered alarms, you will always be protected.

Can I put my smoke alarm on the wall, or must it be mounted on the ceiling?

The best location to install your smoke alarm is in the centre of the ceiling rather than on the wall.

During a fire, smoke initially rises and then spreads horizontally. Placing the smoke alarm in the centre of your ceiling means that it is closest to all four points of your room. This ensures that you receive the earliest possible warning of a fire.

For more information, read our guide to positioning your smoke alarm and guide to which smoke alarms are best for each room.

How do I test my smoke alarm and how often should I test it?

We recommend testing alarms by pressing the test button built-in to the unit, as this is designed to simulate the detection of the target stimuli (usually smoke, heat, or CO) at the alarm sensor. For more detailed guidance, check the manual included with your alarm.

You should test your alarms regularly, preferably every week. Sign up to our free smoke alarm reminder service to receive regular reminders by email or text message.

Is there a combination smoke alarm which will detect both a fire and carbon monoxide?

Yes, we sell a range of combined smoke and CO alarms which detect both fire and carbon monoxide.

We also sell combined heat and CO alarms which detect changes in temperature in a room rather than smoke. These are ideal for kitchens & garages where smoke or mist may often be present.

What is the best way to dispose of an old smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector?

Safelincs has signed up to Valpak's WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) Distributor Take-Back Scheme*. This means if you are a Safelincs customer you can take old smoke, heat and CO alarms to your local recycling centre.

To find your nearest recycling centre, please visit www.recycle-more.co.uk. Find out more about smoke alarm disposal.

*Registration ID: 7370

Can air purifiers affect ionisation smoke alarms?

Yes, air purifiers may cause ionisation smoke alarms to sound falsely. To prevent this from happening, position the air purifier as far away from smoke alarms as possible.

Please note: Ionisation smoke alarms contain a small amount of radio-activity and as such they are being phased out in the UK. It is recommended that you replace your ionisation smoke alarms with an optical smoke alarm.

How do I fit my smoke alarm to the ceiling?

Smoke alarms can be either screwed to the ceiling using the holes on the base plate (screws provided), or fixed in place using either a self-adhesive sticky pad or a self-adhesive magnetic mounting kit.

Do you need an electrician to connect mains powered smoke alarms?

Yes, you need an electrician to install mains powered smoke alarms.

How long do smoke alarm batteries last?

  • 9V alkaline batteries last 12-18 months
  • Lithium batteries last around 5 years (some lithium cells are also rechargeable, and when used in a mains-powered alarm may last for the entire functional lifespan of the alarm)
  • Sealed lithium batteries last the lifetime of the alarm (usually 7-10 years)
Please note: the actual lifetime of your batteries depends on how often the alarms are tested or activated, as sounding the alarm draws more power than when the alarms are "waiting" to detect fire. You should also read your alarm's manual to make sure you only use the recommended types and brands of batteries, as failing to follow these instructions may cause the alarm to malfunction, not alerting you in the event of a fire, and might also invalidate the warranty.

How do I operate magnetic door retainers using a smoke alarm system without central panel?

The easiest option would be to use hardwired alarms from Aico / Ei Electronics in conjunction with their relay bases. The Ei140 series (alkaline backup) and Ei3000 series (lithium backup) mains-powered smoke, heat, and combination alarms interlink with each other and are compatible with the Ei128R 5A relay base and Ei128RBU 5A relay with backup battery. The relays must be connected to the alarms via a wired interlink but are flexible in terms of location: they can be installed separately from the alarm in a convenient place to connect with the retainer system, or between the alarm's mounting base and ceiling to "hide" the relay.

If a wired connection to the alarm is not feasible or desirable, but mains power is available, the Ei428 radio-interlink relay with backup battery instead connects wirelessly with any RadioLINK-capable alarm from Aico or Ei Electronics. This would allow for both mains-powered (alkaline / lithium) and battery-powered alarms to be used to operate the magnetic door retainer system.

These relay bases are triggered when the connected alarm activates, and would be installed and connected to the magnetic door retainer system (by a competent electrician) in such a way that the retainer is deactivated or power to the retainer is cut. This would allow the automatic door closer to do its job: closing the fire door and slowing the spread of smoke and fire through the building, helping occupants to escape safely.

Please Note: If the magnetic door holder has a backup power source so that it continues to operate during mains power failures, relays with their own backup batteries, such as the Ei128RBU or Ei428 relay, are required.

How do you change the batteries in the Ei smoke alarms?

On the side of the smoke alarm locate the removal slot (this is directly above the arrow shown on the smoke alarm face). Insert a flat-bladed screw driver horizontally into the removal slot by approximately 1cm. This will release the fire alarm lock and enable you to push the alarm away from you which will disconnect the alarm from the base plate. This should now expose the battery connected to the alarm enabling you to change the battery.

Why is my mains powered smoke alarm beeping just after it was installed?

There are a number of possibilities as to why mains-powered smoke alarms might beep after installation:

1. The fuse to which the alarm is connected has not been switched back on. This is a very common occurrence.
2. The cable connection is incorrect, resulting in the alarm not receiving mains power. If left the backup battery will get drained.
3. If the alarm is connected to a nearby lighting circuit the connection might be wired incorrectly, interrupting the power supply when the lighting is switched off.
4. Sometimes, the backup battery of a rechargeable smoke alarm takes time to reach operating level and the alarm might beep for a short time.

Read our smoke alarm troubleshooting guide to find a full list of reasons and solutions.

When the test button is pressed on an interlinking smoke alarm, will this cause all the other units to go off, too?

Yes, pressing the test button on one interlinking smoke alarm will activate all the linked units. To find out how to link your smoke and heat alarms, please refer to the manufacturer's instructions which can be downloaded from the relevant product page on our site.

Should I buy smoke alarms or heat alarms for my thatched property?

For most rooms including bedrooms, living rooms, downstairs hallways and even the loft space we recommend using optical smoke alarms. They are designed to quickly detect smoke from all sources and are particularly quick to detect smouldering fires, as well as being less prone to false alarms caused by steam and fumes created by everyday cooking and fireplaces under normal, safe circumstances.

Previously, ionisation smoke alarms were recommended for some rooms, but this older technology utilising radioactive material has been phased out of production globally in favour of optical detection.

For kitchens and garages, we recommend using heat alarms as they detect heat and not smoke, making them ideal for rooms where smoke fumes, vapours, dust, and damp are common.

Is there a radio-interlinked alarm system that will cover a large three-storey house?

Yes, we have a range of radio-interlinked smoke alarms designed to cover large houses on several floors. Our RF smoke alarm ranges interlink up to 50 smoke alarms in one system. 

Alternatively, using one of the smoke alarms in repeater mode, activated by flicking a switch, will extend the area the system can cover.

How do I radio-interlink compatible smoke and heat alarms that are 'inter-connectable'?

Generally, the process for interlinking hardwired alarms is the same. Firstly, you need to make sure that the alarms you are purchasing are compatible with each other, as alarms from different manufacturers (in most cases) do not mix. Dependent on the manufacturer's instructions, you will then be advised to use either a length of bell wire / twin cable to serve as an interlink cable, or 3-core and earth (which is usually adopted in newer installations).

In the same way as interlinking hardwired alarms, it is still crucial to check compatibility between alarms for systems that link wirelessly. The way in which radio-interlinked alarms are connected can differ from brand to brand, however, there will be instructions included with the alarm to guide you through the interlinking process. No signal cables are required between radio-interlinked alarms.

Related videos:

How to radio-interlink the Ei3100RF series smoke alarms
How to radio-interlink the Firehawk W Series smoke and heat alarms

Which smoke alarm has a relay contact to connect to a GSM dialler?

For a hardwired connection throughout the property, the Ei128R 5A relay base and Ei128RBU 5A relay with backup battery from Aico / Ei Electronics work in conjunction with the Ei140 series (alkaline backup) and Ei3000 series (lithium backup) mains-powered smoke, heat, and combination alarms. The alarms must be interlinked to the relay via a wired connection but can be installed directly on top of the relay to "hide" it, or separately from the relay if the location of the alarm is not a convenient place to connect with the GSM dialer.

If a wired connection between the relay and alarm is not feasible or desirable, but mains power is available, any RadioLINK-capable alarm from Aico or Ei Electronics such as the Ei600RF battery-powered series, Ei140RF mains-powered series with alkaline backup using the Ei168RC radio base, or Ei3000RF mains-powered series with lithium backup using the Ei3000MRF radio module can be wirelessly connected with the Ei428 radio-interlink relay with backup battery instead. The Ei428 still needs its own mains power feed, but does not need a direct hardwire connection to any alarm, making installation much more flexible.

Please Note: If you want the GSM dialler to operate during mains power failures it would need its own backup power source, and you must use either the Ei128RBU or Ei428 relays which also have their own backup batteries.

Are battery radio-interlinked smoke alarms suitable to install in a four-storey house with thick walls?

Yes, battery radio-interlinked smoke alarms are suitable to install in a four-storey house with thick walls. In this type of home, you need to check the distance of the RF signal of the smoke alarms you are considering. Most battery radio-interlinked smoke alarms have an RF range of 30 meters, the UltraFire UB1RF series has an impressive 50-meter RF range. Some RF smoke alarms can also act as repeaters, which means that larger distances can be achieved.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (chemical symbol: CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless and toxic gas created by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels (gas, oil, coal and wood) used in everyday appliances such as heaters, engines and boilers.

Protect you and your family by purchasing a CO detector and learning about the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

Do batteries in radio-interlinked alarms expire quicker than those in normal alarms?

Batteries in radio-interlinked alarms do expire quicker than in other types of smoke alarms. This is due to the frequent radio interaction of the alarms to ensure that when one smoke alarm is activated, they all go off.

RF smoke alarms are, however, also available with a 10-year sealed long-life lithium battery. This battery will last for the 10-year life of the smoke alarm.

How can I protect my family from CO poisoning?

CO (carbon monoxide) cannot be detected by the human senses. The only way to detect the presence of carbon monoxide is by installing a carbon monoxide alarm/detector. A carbon monoxide alarm will measure the concentration of carbon monoxide in a room and sound an alarm if the CO concentration is higher than permitted. 

You can reduce the risk of CO poisoning by:
  • having solid fuel appliances maintained and serviced regularly
  • have your chimneys and flues checked regularly
  • make sure rooms with solid-fuel heaters are well-ventilated

Are there any restrictions to the distance a radio-interlinked smoke alarm will work?

Most radio-interlinked alarms have a range of 150 meters in an open space and up to 50 meters in buildings. The thickness of the walls and partitions will affect the travel distance of the signal.

I need to install a number of alarms to an existing mains panel system, but don't want to install new wires everywhere. Can I install wireless units that will link to the panel system?

You can install mains powered radio-interlinked alarms in the rooms and a mains powered alarm with an Ei128R base near the central control panel. The Ei128R base would then be connected with wire to the panel.

Which smoke alarms should I use in a bed and breakfast?

We recommend long-life battery-powered smoke alarms for B&Bs as they contain 10-year lithium batteries, which last the full life of the detector. We also offer a radio-interlinked option so that if one alarm detects a fire, all connected alarms go off.

Alternatively, you can install mains powered alarms which are also available with long-life backup batteries and wireless interlinking.

Which radio-interlinked smoke alarms do I need in my home?

To cover all the usual fire types within a home it is recommended that you install a selection of radio-interlinked smoke alarms. Install optical smoke alarms in hallways, landings, living rooms and bedrooms as well as heat alarms for the kitchen and garage.

It is also recommended to install a radio-interlinked carbon monoxide alarm if you have solid fuel appliances, open fires and wood burners. 

Multi-sensor radio-interlinked alarms use two detector types in one alarm, giving you the earliset fire warning possible.

You can purchase the radio-interlinked alarms separately or as a complete home alarm kit. Our Smoke Alarm Buying Guide explains more about smoke alarm types.

Do I need to use test gas when testing my CO detector?

There is no legal or BSI requirement to test CO detectors with a test gas. It is usually sufficient to check your CO detector is working by using the test button on the detector. For peace of mind sign up to our free reminder service.

What type of smoke alarm do I need?

We recommend using an optical smoke alarm in hallways, living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms, as they are good at detecting smouldering fires from soft furnishings and are less likely to be set off by cooking fumes from a connected kitchen.

Heat alarms are recommended for kitchens and garages as they do not sound false alarms from cooking fumes, vehicle fumes or steam.

Ionisation alarms are being phased out due to the small amount of radioactive material used in the detector chamber. Safelincs recommends optical smoke alarms where ionisation alarms were previously used.

What level of carbon monoxide is dangerous?

Different levels of carbon monoxide (CO) affect the body in  different ways. Exposure to large amounts of CO can cause sudden death, and prolonged exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can have adverse effects on the body and brain.

This table shows the effects of different levels of exposure to carbon monoxide.


Concentration of CO in the air Implications of Exposure
10 parts per million (ppm) Threshold at which prolonged exposure can have adverse effects on the body and brain. This can include neuropsychological and cardiovascular issues.
50 parts per million (ppm) Safety level as specified by the Health and Safety Executive for a maximum of 30 minutes.
200 PPM Slight headache within 2-3 hours.
400 PPM Frontal headache within 1-2 hours, becoming widespread in 3 hours.
800 PPM Dizziness, nausea, convulsions within 45 minutes, insensible in 2 hours.


See our carbon monoxide information page for more details.

Where should carbon monoxide detectors be positioned?

CO detectors should be installed near potential sources of carbon monoxide, essentially any fuel-burning appliances. As you are likely to be most affected by CO in areas of your home that you spend the most time in it is advisable to install alarms in those areas as well, such as at head height in the living room and bedrooms. If your property has an attached garage with a connecting door through to the house, it is recommended to fit a CO alarm inside the house leading from that doorway.

Carbon monoxide has been proven to spread into neighbouring properties through open windows, as well as through loft spaces in semi-detached or terrace houses.

Battery powered carbon monoxide alarms can typically be installed wall-mounted or left free-standing on flat, level surface. Combined smoke & CO alarms or mains-powered CO alarms are typically installed on the ceiling.

  • Near an appliance: they should be placed within 1 to 3 metres horizontally from the appliance and between the height of the appliance to 150mm below the ceiling – i.e., not above a stove where it would be in the path of steam or fumes.
  • In living spaces: they should be positioned close to where the occupant's head is likely to be most of the time – e.g., on your bedside table.
  • On the ceiling: at least 30cm away from any wall, light fitting, or other obstruction.

Do not install CO alarms within 3 metres of doors or windows, above radiators, or immediately close to anything that gives off steam or fumes like a cooker or shower room. Similarly, it is not recommended to install detectors in dusty areas such as workshops or garages.

For more information, please check the manufacturer's instructions – you can download the PDF manual from the relevant product page on our site. You can also watch our video guide to positioning CO detectors.

Where should I install my carbon monoxide alarms?

CO detectors should be installed near potential sources of carbon monoxide, essentially any fuel-burning appliances such as boilers, cookers and ovens, fireplaces (both open and enclosed burners), and portable generators. As you are likely to be most affected by CO in areas of your home that you spend the most time in it is advisable to install alarms in those areas as well, such as the living room and bedrooms. It is also worth noting that while one detector is better than no detectors at all, larger homes may require several detectors to cover the property fully.

Also note that carbon monoxide has been proven to spread into neighbouring properties through open windows and, in semi-detached or terrace houses, through loft spaces. If your property has an attached garage with a connecting door through to the house, it is recommended to fit a CO alarm inside the house leading from that doorway.

Battery powered carbon monoxide alarms can typically be installed wall-mounted or left free-standing on flat, level surface.

  • Near an appliance: they should be placed within 1 to 3 metres horizontally from the appliance and between the height of the appliance to 150mm below the ceiling – i.e., not above a stove where it would be in the path of steam or fumes.
  • In living spaces: they should be positioned close to where the occupant's head is likely to be most of the time – e.g., on your bedside table.

Combined smoke & CO alarms or mains-powered CO alarms are typically installed on the ceiling and should be at least 30cm away from any wall, light fitting, or other obstruction.

Do not install CO alarms within 3 metres of doors or windows, above radiators, or immediately close to anything that gives off steam or fumes like a cooker or shower room. Similarly, it is not recommended to install detectors in dusty areas such as workshops or garages.

For more information, please check the manufacturer's instructions – you can download the PDF manual from the relevant product page on our site. You can also watch our video guide to positioning CO detectors.

How do I pair the Firehawk W Series radio-interlinked smoke & heat alarms?

Watch our pairing video for quick and simple instructions on how to interlink the Firehawk W Series alarms.

Which smoke alarm should I use in a bedroom with an en suite bathroom?

We recommend installing an optical smoke alarm in a bedroom with an en suite bathroom.

It would be less likely to sound a false alarm if steam or water droplets were to come into contact with the smoke alarm. They are also slightly quicker at detecting slow smouldering fires that can originate from upholstery and over-heated wiring. 

Detectors should usually be installed as central to the room as possible. However, we recommend ensuring your detector is not installed directly in the path of the bathroom door as smoke alarms are not designed for use in bathroom areas.

How many alarms can be wirelessly interconnected using radio frequency?

This depends purely on the model and manufacturer of the alarm or system you are planning to install. Some models will allow 12 to 15 alarms to connect wirelessly, whereas other newer models can interlink with up to 50 other devices.

Please view our range of Radio-Interlinked Alarm Systems.

How can I make sure I hear the smoke alarm?

To ensure you hear the smoke alarm when it detects a fire you should have radio-interlinked alarms. If one of the alarms detect a fire then all the other alarms in the system will sound which will greatly increase the chance of the occupant hearing the alarm.

If the occupant has a hearing impairment there are fire detection systems for the deaf and hard of hearing that feature strobe lights and vibration pads to ensure the occupant will be alerted in the event of a fire.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

The symptoms of CO poisoning can range from mild flu-like symptoms such as headache, drowsiness, confusion, nausea and dizziness to more severe symptoms like breathing difficulties and irregular heartbeat. CO poisoning can ultimately lead to coma and death.

View more symptoms on our carbon monoxide information page.

Can smoke alarms detect carbon monoxide gas?

Only combined smoke and CO alarms can detect both fire and carbon monoxide gas.

Which smoke alarms can be interlinked?

All mains powered smoke alarms can be interlinked, as well as some battery alarms.

Mains powered smoke alarms can be interlinked via a radio signal (for RF alarms) or via a signal wire for alarms that do not have RF, such as Kidde, Aico Ei & FireAngel

Battery radio frequency smoke alarms, such as UltraFire, Ei and Firehawk can also be interlinked. 

Can a wireless router interfere with radio interlinked alarms?

A wireless router is very unlikely to interfere with the signal of your radio interlinked smoke, heat or CO alarm as the RF signal is digitally coded.

What are the regulations for testing CO detectors? Do I need to use test gas?

A weekly check with the test button is sufficient if you choose a high quality CO detector. There is no legal or BSI requirement to test the CO detectors with a test gas.

Where should I position my smoke and heat alarms?

Smoke and heat alarms should ideally be installed in the centre of the ceiling. See our guide to positioning smoke and heat alarms for some helpful tips. Always refer to the manufacturer manual for specific information. 

How do I replace my smoke alarm battery?

To change the battery in most smoke, heat and CO alarms you need to remove the alarms from the ceiling. Our helpful videos
 will guide you through replacing batteries in specific alarms. 

Why is my smoke alarm flashing red?

The reason why your smoke alarm has a red (or green) flashing LED light can be different for each make of alarm. Check the manual for your smoke alarm to find out why; you can usually find these on the technical data tab on most of our smoke alarms.  

Here are some examples of why smoke detectors periodically have a flashing red or green LED light without an alarm sounding;

  • To indicate that the alarm is receiving power and is operating normally
  • An end-of-life or low-battery warning 
  • To indicate the alarm is in hush mode or that there is a fault with the alarm

What is a masking plate?

A masking plate is used to hide the footprint of an old alarm when replacing it. The plate covers any marks left by the previous unit and maintains the aesthetics of the room.

How do radio interlinked smoke alarms work?

Radio-interlinked or RF smoke alarms use radio-frequency signals to communicate with each other. If one smoke alarm detects a fire, all smoke alarms within that system will receive an RF signal and trigger them to alarm. 
Radio-interlinked smoke and heat alarms ensure everyone in a building will hear the fire alarm. They are often used in large houses and small commercial premises.

Can mains powered smoke alarms be connected to the mains power via the lighting circuit?

Yes, hard-wired mains powered alarms can be wired to the unswitched live feed of the nearest frequently used lighting circuit.

If a false alarm goes off can pressing the hush button on any of the interlinking alarms stop all the units beeping?

No, to stop all the alarms from sounding the hush button on the alarm that started the process needs to be pushed. Pressing any other alarm will just silence that one unit. The alarm that triggered the warning can be identified by the rapidly flashing red LED.

Which smoke, heat & CO alarms are suitable for the 2022 Scottish regulations?

Since February 2022 all homes in Scotland must be fitted with interlinking smoke and heat alarms. In addition carbon monoxide alarms are required if there is a carbon-fuelled appliance or flue. 
View our list of alarms suitable for the Scottish regulations.

Where are carbon monoxide alarms required?

Most legislation advises at least one carbon monoxide alarm is fitted near new or replacement fuel-burning appliances that are fixed installations, though rented properties (both social and private sector) often require CO alarms be provided by landlords even if no appliances are being installed or replaced. Examples include boilers, coal fires, wood burners, and gas ovens and cookers, though an exception is often made in legislation for gas appliances solely used for cooking.

However, any and all materials can give off CO when burning, including gas cookers. Carbon monoxide can also spread from neighbouring properties or outside sources such as vehicle fumes. Because of this, Safelincs strongly recommends the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in every home, and also at head-height in bedrooms to protect occupants while sleeping.

Landlords, please see our pages for English, Welsh, and Scottish alarms or our landlord guidance page for more information.

Is there a carbon monoxide alarm for the hearing impaired?

Yes, we supply the Ei170RF, a strobe and vibration pad for the deaf and hard of hearing which can be linked to the following CO detector:

Can the sound level of smoke alarms be increased if they are used for hard of hearing?

Unfortunately, you cannot adjust the sound level of smoke alarms. However, we offer a range of smoke alarm systems for people with hearing impairments which use strobe lights and vibrating pads in conjunction with existing alarms to alert anyone hard of hearing of a fire.

How can I test my heat alarm?

All of our heat alarms have test buttons. Press the test button for about 5 seconds regularly to ensure your alarms are operating correctly.

If you wish to test the heat sensor of the alarm, our advice is to use a solo 400 series tester or call a fire alarm servicing company.

Sign up for our free reminder service to ensure that you check your heat and smoke alarms regularly.

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that is undetectable by humans. Inhaling CO reduces the blood's ability to carry oxygen to the body's organs and cells.

Each year, over 50 people die in the UK from exposure to carbon monoxide. Many more people die through strokes and respiratory illnesses made worse by inhaling low levels of CO over prolonged periods.

To protect you and your family, purchase a carbon monoxide detector and use the test button weekly to check it is in working order.

Is there a way to control an interlinking smoke alarm system?

Yes, many manufacturers offer additional accessories which connect to existing systems to help manage them.

Some Aico / Ei models, for example, have the option to incorporate a manual call point, as well as test, silence and control switches so the alarm can be tested at ground level rather than reaching up to the ceiling.

Many manufacturers, including Aico / Ei and FireAngel, are also introducing Smart Home technology which, when using the appropriate module / gateway, will allow users to view the alarm system from their smartphone, as well as receive notifications of alarm activations, and test, silence and locate alarms via a smartphone app.

How can the alarms interconnect without a cable connection?

Radio-interlinked smoke alarms use a radio frequency to communicate with each other, which replaces the signal cable. When the test button is pressed, or the alarm senses smoke, a radio signal is sent from that alarm to all other alarms in the system, triggering them to sound.

Do all my mains powered RF alarms need to connect to the power supply?

Yes, all mains powered radio frequency smoke alarms need connecting to the power supply.

If you are retrofitting your RF alarms the electricity supply can be taken from the nearest light fitting. In new builds, the electrician will create a dedicated electrical circuit for the alarms.

If your mains powered smoke alarms are not radio-interlinked you will also need to connect your alarms with a signal wire.

 

Reviewed: 14/09/2023 (doc:536 V1.0). Our articles are reviewed regularly. However, any changes made to standards or legislation following the review date will not have been considered. Please note that we provide abridged, easy-to-understand guidance. To make detailed decisions about your fire safety provisions, you might require further advice or need to consult the full standards and legislation.

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