Frequently Asked Questions

Below we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions that we receive from our customers. If you need any further help or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us and we'll be happy to help.

Smoke Alarms

Why does my smoke alarm go into alarm when I can?t see smoke?

Any of these situations can cause unwanted alarms:

Smoke alarm may need to be relocated.

Install smoke alarms at least 20 feet (6 meters) from appliances like boilers and ovens, which produce combustion particles. Alarms should be at least 10 feet (3 meters) from high humidity areas like bathrooms and utility rooms, and at least 3 feet (0.9 meters) from heaters.

Cover or sensor chamber is covered by dust or dirt.

Alarms may look clean, but dust can accumulate inside the cover, even in newly built homes. Gently vacuum your smoke alarm regularly using the soft brush attachment.

Insects covered or clogged the sensor chamber.

Clean the smoke alarm with the soft brush attachment on your vacuum. To prevent repeat problems, clean and treat the surrounding area with insect repellent (DO NOT SPRAY THE SMOKE ALARM).

Why does my smoke alarm chirp intermittently?

The same factors that cause unwanted alarms can cause intermittent alarms: dust, insects, and power interruptions. See question No. 1 for more details. The "chirp" may also be caused by:

A different device or appliance.

Security systems, monitors, carbon monoxide alarms, and other devices have similar low battery or alert signals.

Low Battery

Many smoke alarms have a low battery chirp to alert you to change the battery when its power is running low.

Why doesn?t my smoke alarm sound when I push the test button?

Hold the test button down longer.

Try holding the test button down for up to 10 seconds (20 seconds on photoelectric models.)

Check the power supply.

Make sure the battery is installed properly and snapped all the way in place. Even if the alarm sounded briefly when the battery touched the terminals, you still need to make sure it is snapped securely in place. If the battery is loose, it cannot power the smoke alarm properly.

10-Year Models ONLY(SA10YR or 4010YR):

The smoke alarm may not have been properly activated. If the tab broke away before the alarm was activated, you can use a toothpick to move the switch over to activate the alarm

Why does the alarm sound when I install a battery or turn on the AC power?

It is normal for the smoke alarms to sound briefly (up to 5-10 seconds) when they are powered up. If the alarm continues to sound and no smoke is present, the cause may be:

Insufficient battery power.

Very low batteries may cause a continuous weak sounding alarm

Why do I hear the low battery ?chirp? if the battery is new?

Does your smoke alarm have a silence button?

If so, the button may have been pressed by mistake. The alarm will now "chirp" once a minute for up to 15 minutes.

Are you sure it's the smoke alarm?

Other devices have similar low battery chirps or warning tones.

Even "new" batteries may not be fresh.

If batteries are stored, especially in cold areas like refrigerators, they lose their charge more quickly. Always check the freshness date on the package when buying new batteries.

What replacement batteries can I use?

Check your User's Manual or the nameplate on the back of the alarm. Never use rechargeable batteries because they do not always provide a consistent charge.

What is the difference between Optical and Ionisation smoke alarms?

Ionisation Smoke Alarms are generally more effective at detecting flaming fires, which consume combustibles quickly and spread rapidly. Sources of these fires include paper burning in a wastebasket, or grease fires on a stove. Photoelectric Smoke Alarms are generally more effective at detecting smouldering fires, which smoulder for hours before bursting into flame. Sources of the fires include cigarette smouldering in couches or bedding. For maximum protection, install both types of smoke alarms on every level of your home.

I lost my User?s Manual. Can I get a new one?

Manuals are available online for download at no cost. If you require further information please contact:
BRK Brands Europe Ltd
Unit 6, Carter Court
Davy Way
Waterwells Business Park
Customer Services: + 44 (0) 1452 887570

How long will the battery last in the alarm?

Actual battery service life depends on a Smoke or CO Alarm and the environment in which it is installed. All the batteries specified in the users manual are acceptable replacement batteries. Regardless of the manufacturer?s suggested battery life, you MUST replace the battery immediately once the unit starts ?chirping? (the ?low battery warning?).

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Will CO alarms detect gas leaks?

No, this is a CO Alarm and it reacts to carbon monoxide only. To detect gas, you need a gas detector.

How long does a Carbon Monoxide Alarm last?

First Alert alarms are guaranteed for 5 years, then it should be replaced with a new CO Alarm. Batteries should be replaced as needed for those alarms requiring them.

Where should I install my First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarm?

Install at least one CO Alarm near or in each separate sleeping area. For added protection, install an additional CO Alarm at least 15-20 feet (4.6-6.1 meters) away from a boiler or fuel burning heat sources. Also, locate CO Alarms at least 10 feet (3 meters) from sources of humidity like bathrooms and showers. In multi-storey houses, install one CO Alarm on each level of the home. If you have a basement, install that CO Alarm at the top of the basement stairs.

Is there anywhere I shouldn?t install my Carbon Monoxide Alarm?

DO NOT locate a CO Alarm in garages and kitchens, or in any extremely dusty, dirty, humid, or greasy areas. Do not place units in direct sunlight, or areas subjected to temperature extremes. These include unconditioned crawl spaces, unfinished attics, uninsulated or poorly insulated ceilings, and porches. CO Alarms should not be located in outlets covered by curtains or other obstructions. Do not place in turbulent air-near ceiling fans, heat vents, air conditioners, fresh air returns, or open windows. Blowing air may prevent CO from reaching the CO sensors.

Is one CO Alarm enough for my home? If not, how many should I have?

Install a CO Alarm on every level of your home. If you install only one CO Alarm in your home, locate it near or in your bedroom.

How high should I install my CO Alarm?

For ease of viewing you can locate the alarm about 5 feet (1.5 meters) off the floor. Carbon monoxide weighs about the same as air and distributes evenly throughout the room/house. Choose a location where the CO Alarm will stay clean and out of the way of children or pets. See your User's Manual for specific installation requirements.

Why does my CO Alarm sound when there doesn?t seem to be a problem?

The CO alarm should be located 15-20 feet (4.5-6.0 meters) away from all fossil fuel burning sources like boilers and stoves. It should be located 10-25 feet (3.0-7.5 meters) (away from sources of humidity like showers.

Why does the red light flash? Do I have CO?

No. The red light flashes to show the CO Alarm is receiving battery power.

How do I test the CO Alarm?

Press and hold the Test Button on the front of the alarm until the alarm sounds. Be sure you hold the button down long enough. It can take up to 20 seconds for the alarm to respond to the button.

Can the Carbon Monoxide Alarm be tested any other way besides pressing the test button?

The test/silence button is the only proper way to test the CO Alarm. NEVER use vehicle exhaust! Exhaust causes permanent damage and voids your guarantee.

Can I remove the battery from the CO Alarm to silence or reset it?

NO! The CO Alarm is designed to reset automatically. Use the Test/Silence Button to quiet the alarm while the alarm is resetting.

Why does the horn ?chirp? once a minute on my battery powered CO Alarm?

The battery may be low or weak. Is the Battery Light yellow or green? If it's yellow, it means the battery is low. Replace it with a new battery.

What does the SERVICE light mean on the FCD3 and SC01 units?

First, check the User's Manual to make sure the correct 9-volt battery is installed. If that's OK, then the problem is with the sensor and the detector will have to be replaced.

Is there an audible and visual warning for carbon monoxide presence?

An 85-decibel alarm will sound when carbon monoxide reaches the alarm level. Some Carbon Monoxide Alarms have lights to indicate if the alarm is in early warning or full alarm. Check your User's Manual to determine how your CO Alarm works.

How long will the batteries last in the alarm?

Actual battery service life depends on the Smoke or CO Alarm and the environment in which it is installed. All the batteries specified in the users manual are acceptable replacement batteries. Regardless of the manufacturer?s suggested battery life, you MUST replace the battery immediately once the unit starts "chirping" (the "low battery warning").


(doc:527 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.