False fire alarms ringing in your employees’ ears are not ideal for any business. Even worse, they can create a “boy who cried wolf” effect and cause people to not believe a real threat of fire. Slow action in these crises can risk lives and business assets.

The best way to have peace of mind about your business is to make sure your fire detection system is maintained and serviced regularly. Other than the fact it is required by the South African legislation to service your fire detection system every 6 months, you might wonder why is it really necessary?

Smoke detector on light background

4 Reasons False Alarms Occur

Dust clogging the sensor chamber on fire detectors

Dust can act as a blocking sheen over fire detectors that can skew it’s readings. Ensuring your cleaning staff runs a duster or vacuum over those fire alarms is very helpful to solve this problem or at least delay it. The real damage of dust happens where you can’t see. Inside the device’s sensor chamber, dust collects overtime and triggers false alarms.

Make sure your fire detection technician installs a dust cover over your alarms to help keep dust out longer. 

Loose electronic connection to AC or AC/DC smoke alarms

A loose hot wire connection in AC or AC/DC smoke alarms, can intermittently disconnect power to the smoke alarm. When power returns, the detector may sound a brief alarm. It may sound on and off like chirping as the wire is partially disconnected to the smoke alarm.

Appliances on the same circuit as alarms

Circuits on which fire alarms are situated may become overloaded and trigger nuisance alarms. Vacuum cleaners or other appliances can overtax the electric circuit, resulting in fluctuations in power which cause false alarms in fire detectors.

It is a common practice to connect smoke alarms to the same circuit as a building lights. Thus, if the power to the smoke alarms are turned off, the owner will know straight away because the lights will also not be functional. Unfortunately this might cause nuisance alarms and if this occurs regularly, then you may need a technician to assess your electronics.

Poorly located smoke alarms

The positioning of smoke alarms is a delicate process that may go awry at times. For example, if a smoke alarm is positioned directly above kitchen appliances like toasters or stoves, harmless smoke may be picked up and trigger a false alarm. Also, smoke detectors might be located in the path of dust blowing through the windows. If possible, smoke detectors should be placed 6m from heat producing appliances, 3m from high humidity areas, and 1m from air conditioning vents and fluorescent lights.

Service Technicians Can Help

Qualified technicians, such as at Minerva Technologies, are able to assess functionality of fire detection systems, clean and repair smoke alarms, and advise you in the correct positioning and electronic connection to your smoke detectors to minimise false alarms. You can help your technician by keeping records of where false alarms went off at which times to aid in their investigation into the problem.

Get your fire detection systems serviced at Minerva Technologies today.