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Kidde - Firex FAQs
 Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

FireX FAQs

Most Commonly Asked Questions

Question: What causes my FireX alarm to beep or chirp?

 

Answer: The smoke alarm will chirp at a regular interval, about once every minute, when the battery is weak and needs to be replaced. On units with the Visible Low Battery Indicator feature, the red LED will blink approximately 4 times a minute. Replace with a fresh 9 Volt battery.  FireX Alarms are certified to be used with the following models of batteries: Eveready 216, 522, 1222, Duracell MN 1604 or Ultralife U9VL-J.  Do not use any type of rechargeable battery.  Once the battery is replaced, the beeping or chirping should stop. If the unit chirps at seemingly random times or at random intervals after replacing the battery, check for the following conditions:

 

1) The battery may be loose, or improperly installed.

Make sure the battery is fresh, and that it is snapped in all the way so it cannot be shaken loose. It’s possible that battery connections may not be making good contact with the battery. Disconnecting and re-connecting the battery once or twice will likely fix this condition. On units with a front-load battery, be sure that the battery compartment door is closed completely.

 

2) The smoke alarm cover may be dirty. Dust and insects can collect in the sensing chamber of the alarm. An accumulation of dust in the sensing chamber can cause the unit to chirp. It is good practice to clean the smoke alarm when you change the battery.

 

Cleaning smoke alarms:

Remove the alarm from the wall or ceiling and hold the unit on its side. There is a gap between the front cover and the back plate. Take a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool and clean all around the gap area. Pay most attention to the sensor, which you will see in the gap area. The sensor looks like a small tin can with slots in it.

 

3) Reset the alarm.

Most current model smoke alarms have a processor that retains certain error conditions, such as a weak battery. The error condition should reset when the battery is replaced but sometimes it does not and must be manually reset to clear the error.

 

To reset an AC unit with a battery backup:

Turn off the power to the smoke alarm at the circuit breaker.  Remove the smoke alarm from the mounting bracket and disconnect the power. Remove the battery. Press and hold the test button for at least 15 seconds. The unit may chirp or alarm for a few seconds before going silent.  Reconnect the power and reinstall the battery. The unit will chirp once when the power is restored and should not chirp afterwards."

 

To reset a DC only unit:

Remove the battery. Press and hold the test button for at least 15 seconds. The unit may chirp or alarm for a few seconds before going silent.  Reinstall the battery. The unit will chirp when the battery is first connected but should not chirp afterwards.

 

4) An electrical condition may be causing the power to the unit to be interrupted.  If the AC power to the unit is interrupted, the unit will chirp when the power is restored. This could be caused by power surges.

 

If the chirping seems to occur at about the same time in the evening or morning, it could be due to a surge created when the power company switches electrical grids to meet demand.

 

Check to see if the chirp (or chirping) occurs when something else in the house is turned on such as an exhaust or attic fan, a heater, etc. If the smoke alarm is connected to a circuit with such a device, the alarm may chirp when the other device is switched on. If this is the case and the device is plugged into a wall outlet, move it to another outlet on a different circuit. If it is a hardwired device, have an electrician investigate it.

 

5) Replace the alarm.

If none of these conditions exist and the suggestions don't alleviate the symptom, the smoke alarm should be replaced. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. FireX smoke alarms have a 5-year warranty from date of purchase.  A date code stamped on the label attached to the back of the unit. If the unit is within warranty, send it to the following address for warranty repair or replacement:

 

Kidde Residential & Commercial Division

1016 Corporate Park Drive

Mebane, NC 27302

 

Question: What causes my FireX alarm to false alarm (alarm sounds when no smoke is present)?

Answer: Many conditions that cause the smoke alarms to beep or chirp may also cause them to go into alarm when they sense smoke or something in the alarm chamber.

 

1) Age may be a factor. You should replace your alarm if it is 8 - 10 years old. The date code can be found on the back of the alarm.

 

2) The alarm may be installed in a location prone to nuisance alarms.  Such areas are:

- near kitchens where they may be exposed to smoke from cooking.
- near bathrooms or areas where they may be exposed to steam.
- areas that are very dusty, such as attics or garages.
- areas that are in direct airflow such as near a heating vent or return.

 

Check the location of the smoke alarm; try re-installing it a few feet away.

 

Nuisance alarms can also be caused by external contaminants.

 

3) There may be dust or insects in the alarm chamber. Even in clean environments dust will collect in the sample chamber. This will cause the alarm to be overly sensitive and cause it to go into alarm. Insects can have the same effect and the movement of the insects in and out of the chamber will cause the alarm to go into alarm. If the unit seems to go into alarm mostly at night, it is probably due to insects.

 

To clean the alarm:

 Remove it from the wall or ceiling and hold the unit on its side.  There is a gap between the front cover and the back plate.  Use a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool or a can of compressed air and clean all around the gap area.  Pay most attention to the sensor.  The sensor looks like a small tin can with slots in it.  This needs to be thoroughly cleaned since dust or insects may be caught in the sensor.

 

4) Cleaning solvents (particularly ammonia), Latex paints, and high dust conditions associated with construction can cause the unit to go into alarm. Eliminate the condition and clean the alarm.

 

5) Reset the unit.  Disconnect the alarm from the electrical power (if applicable) and remove the battery.  Hold in the test button for approximately 10-15 seconds.  This will reset your alarm.  Re-install your alarm after this procedure.

 

 

Question: Why does the red light blink once every 40 seconds?

 

Answer: The blinking or flashing red light every 40-45 is normal operation.  This is a battery test the unit performs. When the battery is weak the unit will beep or chirp approximately once a minute and the red LED will flash approximately 4 times a minute.

 

 

Question: Why do my alarms in my unfinished basement keep sounding the alarm?

 

Answer: Smoke alarms located in environments such as unfinished basements, garages, and attics, tend to be exposed to more dust and insects than those in other rooms. An accumulation of dust in the alarm chamber will cause the alarm to go into alarm. As the dust accumulates in the detecting chamber, the sensitivity will increase causing the frequency of nuisance alarms to increase as well. 

 

Insects can have the same effect and the movement of the insects in and out of the chamber will cause the alarm to go into alarm. If the unit seems to go into alarm mostly at night, it is probably due to insects. Smoke alarms in these environments will have to be cleaned more often.

 

To clean your alarms, remove them from the wall or ceiling and hold the unit on its side.  There is a gap between the front cover and the back plate.  Use a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool or a can of compressed air and clean all around the gap area.  Pay most attention to the sensor.  The sensor looks like a small tin can with slots in it.  This needs to be thoroughly cleaned since there is dust or debris caught in the sensor.  This should fix the problem.

 

 


Question: Why does the alarm go off during cold weather?

 

Answer: The unit may go into alarm only when it is very cold out or if a door adjacent to a heated area is opened, such as in an entry way.  This is due to condensation (water vapor) in the detection chamber.  The sensor is a particle-sensing device and when water condenses in the sensor, the unit will go into alarm.  The operating temperature on FireX smoke alarms is between 40 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit (4 - 38 degrees Celsius).  If the unit is in a garage or attic, you may consider replacing it with a heat alarm which is not effected by condensation.

 

 

Question: How often should the battery be changed in my smoke alarm?

 

Answer: It is recommended that the battery in every smoke alarm be replaced at least once a year to ensure it is operating properly or any time the unit indicates that the battery is weak. The general rule is to replace the batteries when we switch to daylight savings time and / or when we switch back.

 

When the battery requires replacement, the alarm will sound a short beep or chirp approximately once every minute. At this time you must remove the old battery and replace it with a fresh battery of the correct type.

 

 

Question: What is the warranty on FireX smoke alarms and how do I get it repaired or replaced?

 

Answer: If any smoke alarm does not sound when the test button is pressed, it should be replaced immediately. FireX smoke alarms include a 5 year warranty. If the unit fails while under warranty, return it to:

 

Kidde Residential & Commercial Division

1016 Corporate Park Drive

Mebane NC 27302

 

A replacement unit will be sent to you.

 

 

Question: What should I do if nothing happens when the TEST button is depressed?

 

Answer: The TEST button must be held for at least 3 seconds before the unit will begin its test sounding. If the smoke alarm does not go into alarm and it is an AC unit, replace it immediately. If the unit is a battery-powered unit and it does not sound, it may have a weak battery.  If the unit does not sound with a fresh battery or there is any concern or question about the reliability of the unit, it should be replaced. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. If the unit is approaching the end of it’s service life, replace it. FireX smoke alarms have a 5-year warranty. The manufactured date is stamped on the label located on the back of the unit. If the is under warranty, send it to the following address:

 

Kidde Residential & Commercial Division

1016 Corporate Park Drive

Mebane  NC  27302

 

Please include your address for shipping and a brief description of the problem.  A replacement unit will be sent to you.

 

 

Question: What is the difference between ionization and photoelectric type smoke alarms?

 

Answer: Currently, there are only two types of smoke alarms available to the general public. One is ionization and the other is photoelectric. Both are effective means of sensing smoke in residential environments.

 

The photoelectric type alarms are generally most effective at detecting slow, smoldering fires which smolder for hours before bursting into flame. Sources of these fires may include cigarettes burning in couches or bedding.

 

The ionization type alarms are generally most effective at detecting fast, flaming fires which consume combustible materials rapidly and spread quickly. Sources of these fires may include paper burning in a waste container or a grease fire in the kitchen. The National Fire Protection Agency recommends having both types of smoke alarms in your home.