Fire detection systems, fire alarms, and individual smoke detector systems are necessary for warning us to the dangers of fire. If smoke is present or fire breaks out, these fire detection systems allow us to act quickly so that we may evacuate the building and start extinguishing the fire any way necessary. Or, at the very least, these fire alarm systems let us call the authorities so that the fire may be put out by professional firefighters.
If these systems aren’t working properly, you’re putting yourself and those you care about at risk. For homes and businesses, it becomes necessary to have fully-functioning fire detection systems at the ready at all times.
However, there’s one element of fire detection that few consider, and that’s the system’s sensitivity level. At what point does a fire detection system become most effective so that there are no false alarms?
The Necessity for Smoke Detector Sensitivity Adjustment
We’re all familiar with those times we’ve been cooking and the smoke detector goes off. Usually, this is because we left something in the oven a little too long. Yet, some fire detection systems are so sensitive that they can be let off by high heat and even steam.
There is nothing more terrifying than a smoke detector going off and you don’t know the source of the smoke or fire. A fire detection system that malfunctions and sends up a false alarm can end up scaring you to death for no reason. Why have that kind of frustration?
Technology now allows fire detection, fire alarm, and individual smoke detector manufacturers to set the sensitivity levels so that only serious risks are indicated, preventing false alarms and making the systems more effective at detecting smoke and fire.
By making individual smoke detector sensitivity levels, as well as commercial-grade fire detection and alarm system sensitivity levels adjustable, it becomes necessary to ensure that the levels are set according to the highest standards.
Who establishes those standards?
The National Fire Protection Association code 72 sets the precedent for fire detection system installations, fire detection equipment repair and maintenance, and even the sensitivity levels of individual smoke alarm systems.
To remain fire code compliant, it becomes necessary to have the sensitivity levels of all fire and smoke detection systems testable according to NFPA 72. The type of testing will depend on the type of fire alarm detection system, but most professional services are skilled at working with all top-brand smoke and fire detectors.
The aspect of NFPA 72 says that smoke detectors must remain within the required sensitivity range. Any smoke detection systems that fall outside of the recommended ranges are not considered compliant and may report false alarms. Worse, the fire alarm systems may not sound or make visual cues at all in the case of fire. This is why it becomes necessary to have your fire detection, fire alarm, and individual smoke detector systems properly tested to ensure NFAP compliance.
Newer Smoke Detection Systems
The good news is that many smoke detection systems allow you to monitor the sensitivity levels of your system to keep them within acceptable levels. These systems will even alert you if your system’s sensitivity levels fall outside of NFPA regulations. Only when the sensitivity is within the required ranges will the system alert you to smoke and dangerous fire.
Having the proper smoke alarm detection service is all about getting the right type of equipment installed. Your service professional should come highly recommended while only installing the best smoke detection systems on the market. After all, this isn’t a service you want to take lightly. When you consider that a smoke alarm can save you thousands in damages, as well as injury or worse to those you care about, you owe it to yourself to find the best fire detection installers in your local area.
Ask Your Service Professional About NFPA Fire Alarm Standards
When you schedule your fire alarm installation, ask your service professional about the proper sensitivity levels. Your service professional has likely experienced homes and businesses that set their sensitivity too high, which wouldn’t be enough to alert anyone to risk of smoke and fire.
On the other hand, most service professionals have experienced fire detector, fire alarm, and individual smoke detector sensitivity levels that were far too low. This can lead to frustrating false alarms and expensive trips from the fire department for any cutting-edge system that auto-reports dangerous situations.
Instead, ask your service professional to provide you with the acceptable guidelines for your unique situation so that you can set your fire detection sensitivity levels to just the right ones to detect smoke and fire for your ultimate protection.
Proper Fire Alarm Systems Maintenance
What if you moved into a building where the fire detection system was already installed and you have no idea if your sensitivity levels are at acceptable levels? If that’s the case, not to worry. A professional fire alarm installation, maintenance, and repair service will have the equipment and expertise to set your sensitivity to more acceptable levels.
Proper maintenance of your smoke detection system will reduce the likelihood of false alarms and ensure that actual instances of smoke and fire are detected. Proper detection, after all, can save money and lives.
How to Find a Smoke Detection Service Provider
When you want to have your smoke detector sensitivity levels checked, you’ll want to look for a few key qualities in a professional smoke detector installation service.
Recognized in Their Field
You don’t want to trust your smoke detectors, fire alarms, and fire detectors to just anyone. Look for a service professional who is certified, extremely knowledgeable, and experienced. You want to know that you’re hiring the best professional possible. With so much at stake, you’ll definitely want to ensure you’re hiring the best-of-the-best fire alarm system experts.
Local and Available
The service you select to test your fire detection and individual smoke detector sensitivity levels should be located near your home or commercial establishment. This is because you always want to know that the service is ready to send someone out to your location in case there’s a system error, malfunction, or some other problem that may require smoke detector repair services.
A local company has your best interests in mind and can be at your home or office at a moment’s notice, giving you peace of mind that your smoke detection systems, as well as the safety of your home, business, family, and personnel are always in good hands.
Works with Your Type of Equipment
The service you select should be able to install new fire detection systems to work with your current one, or at least maintain and repair your smoke detectors to the fullest of their abilities. This can only happen when the professionals are used to working with your brand of smoke detection equipment.
Before you begin working with a smoke alarm installation and repair expert to test your smoke detector sensitivity levels, ask if they’ve ever worked with your brand. Taking the time to check for brand familiarity can save you time, money, and frustration in the long run.
Can Perform Maintenance and Repairs
Ideally, you’ll want to find smoke and fire detection professionals who can do everything in-house. That means that the professionals can come out and perform individual smoke detector sensitivity level testing, fire alarm maintenance, and fire detector repairs.
A professional should be able to do all the work required for your smoke alarm system. Otherwise, you’ll have to call multiple professionals, leading to more time spent on your behalf, more money wasted, and a smoke alarm system that may work as required.
Why take the chance? Hire the most professional and experienced fire and smoke alarm system professionals to have your sensitivity levels tested for optimum safety and compliance.
The Steps for Testing Smoke Alarm Sensitivity Levels
Smoke or Aerosol Test
Most smoke detection installation professionals will perform what is known as a smoke or aerosol test. This is where they allow smoke or an approved aerosol to enter the detection chamber. If the smoke detector senses smoke and emits an audible alarm, the test finished and your system passed.
However, if there is no alarm, visual cue, or another alert mechanism, then the test is said to have failed. In that case, the professional will either reset your smoke detector’s sensitivity levels or replace the unit as necessary.
How Does the Tester Use Smoke or Aerosol?
Obviously, the professional service provider isn’t going to start a fire in the middle of your home or office to test your fire detection equipment. Most services use a machine that produces smoke or the required aerosol, which is then wafted through your home’s ventilation system. The system works by creating a closed-loop system that measures how smoke is detected and if the smoke detector’s sensitivity is indeed set at acceptable levels.
The Wide Variety of Smoke and Fire Detection Systems
Depending on the type of business you have, the size of your building, or whether you have individual smoke detectors for home use, you may find yourself using a particular type of smoke detection.
There are photoelectric smoke detectors that sense smoke by noticing the changes in the light around the smoke detection system.
There are also photoelectric light scattering and light obscuration smoke detectors that work much the same way, but to varying other degrees.
Of course, there are the individual smoke detectors that you may find in any home or office, but industrial centers and other commercial organizations may have elaborate smoke detection systems with a system of wires and connections that all need to be tested if proper sensitivity levels are to be maintained.
Once again, ensure that you work with a smoke detector installation and repair specialist who is familiar with your brand and type of smoke and fire detection. A professional will also be able to tell you if your smoke and fire detectors are in the right locations, if their sensitivity levels are at acceptable ranges, and if you are fully protected from smoke and fire.
This is not one area where you want to trust the do-it-yourself approach, nor should you ever trust your fire detection system to just anyone.
A trained and experienced professional will be able to keep your fire detectors working properly and will establish sensitivity levels that reduce false alarms (otherwise referred to as nuisance alarms) and keep your building and everyone around you safe at all times.
How Often Should Your Individual Smoke Detector Sensitivity Levels Be Tested?
Most manufacturers of fire alarms, smoke alarms, and smoke detection systems recommend that you receive sensitivity level testing at least once more year. This ensures that your sensitivity levels never fall outside of the acceptable ranges and ensures that your fire alarm systems are always working as they should.
This is one other reason why it pays to find a one-stop-shop for all your fire detection needs. A professional can test your sensitivity levels and perform regular maintenance to check all pertinent wiring and connections. Only when your system is inspected and verified by a trained and experienced professional can you have ultimate peace of mind that your smoke detector will sound, give a visual cue, or otherwise alert you in the unfortunate chance that fire does break out in your home or office.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Your Local Fire Detection Professionals
If you live in Denver, Colorado or Los Angeles, California and you want the services of a trained, experienced, and qualified smoke detection installation professional, call Nationwide Fire Protection.
We can install new systems, maintain your current fire detection systems, and ensure all your sensitivity levels are set at acceptable standards according to NFPA 72.
Call today and tell us about your smoke detection needs and we’ll provide you with a free and fast quote.