Basic safety check whilst at home

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As a large majority of us are at home a lot more and looking for some jobs to do perhaps now is the time for some basic electrical safety check

A.Smoke / heat alarms check.

Hopefully you house has at least one smoke alarm in your primary escape route, typically this would be in the hallway and on the landing. Ideally there is also a heat alarm in the kitchen. These alarms require some maintenance and testing to ensure that they will operate in the event of a fire. Follow these simple steps ideally monthly

  • Press the test button on each alarm and make sure that it sounds loudly (you may need to hold it for a few seconds)
  • Using a vacuum cleaner, vac around any opening in the unit to clear out some of the dust/insects that could be blocking the unit reducing its sensitivity
  • Check that date code on the unit. A manufacturer will typically say replace every 10 years as the sensor gets clogged up making it less sensitive to detection and / or the lifetime sealed battery is about to fail. The date code is either on the side or on the base of the unit
  • If the units are mains powered they will probably have a green light to indicate that they are being powered by the mains and perhaps a red light that flashes every 60 seconds to indicate that they are operating OK.
  • Some mains powered units also have a replaceable battery backup in case of mains power failure. This should be replaced every 2 years even though its running on mains power
  • Battery operated units can have either a sealed 10 year battery or a replaceable battery. If replaceable then remove the unit from the ceiling and replace with good quality batteries
  • If the units are out of date, fail the self-test or the visual inspection have the units replaced with a branded manufactures units, ideally mains powered with a 10 year lithium re-chargeable battery ones.
  • Also, if you are painting please cover the smoke alarms as paint fumes will enter the sensor chamber reducing the sensitivity of the unit


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