Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions

Should you have any questions relating to Kidde Safety products, please feel free to let us know via the 'Contact Us' page of this website - alternatively you may be able to find a solution to your query from the list of FAQ's below....

Smoke Alarms


Q) What is the difference between an Ionization alarm and a photoelectric alarm?
In general ionisation alarms are quicker at detecting fast flaming fires that give off little smoke, where as photoelectric (optical) alarms are quicker at detecting slow smouldering fires.

Kidde recommends, for maximum protection, that both ionisation and photoelectric smoke alarms be installed.

Q) Is it safe to have a smoke alarm in the home as it contains radioactive material?
Only the ionisation smoke alarms contain this material.  The amount of radium material -0.9 microcurie of Americium 241 is less than is used in watch dials, so is considered safe.

Q) My smoke alarm seems to have started to chirp at certain times during the day or night, why could this be?
When the temperature drops the voltage to the battery reduces which will cause the unit to chirp. As the temperature rises so the chirping will cease. This behaviour normally denotes that the battery needs to be changed but this could also happen on cold nights when the house is unheated.

Q) Why is my smoke alarm chirping?
There are a couple of reasons a unit may chirp. If the battery is low the unit can have a sporadic chirping at first but the should settle down to a 40-second interval, this chirp will continue for at least 30 days or until the battery is replaced.  The second cause for this chirp is if the alarm sensor has malfunctioned, the alarm must be replaced in this case.

Q) The unit keeps chirping after I press the hush button.  What should I do?
The hush button is designed when activated to chirp every 30 seconds for seven minutes. The smoke alarm unit will automatically re-set and go quiet after 7 minutes providing that the hush button has not been pressed more than once.  If you have touched the hush button more than once it will complete a further seven minute cycle for each time the hush has been pressed.

Q) How can I tell the difference between the malfunction chirp and the low battery chirp?
When the unit malfunctions the red LED will flash between chirps, whereas the red LED will flash in synch with the chirps for a low battery.

Q) Where should I locate my smoke alarm?
We would recommend that each household have a smoke alarm at each level – one in the hallway and one at the top of the stairs. It would be even safer to have an additional one in each bedroom.

Q) Where should smoke alarms not be fitted?

The locations to avoid when fitting any smoke alarms are as listed below
- In the garage as products of combustion are present when the car is started.
- In kitchens
- In front of forced air ducts used for heating and air conditioning, near ceiling fans or other high flow areas.
- In the peak of an ‘A’ frame type ceiling.
- In an area where the temperature may fall below 40F or rise above 100F.
- In dusty areas. Dust particles may cause nuisance alarm or failure to alarm.
- In very humid areas or near a bathroom. Moisture or steam can cause nuisance alarms.
- Near fluorescent lights. Electronic “noise” may cause nuisance alarms.

Interconnectable Smoke Alarms

Q) Can I interconnect my old Kidde Interconnectable smoke alarms with the new interconnectable one I just purchased?
Yes, all the new Kidde models have been made to facilitate this capability.  If the existing models are more than 7 years old it may be worth updating them also.

Q) Can I interconnect my hard wired Kidde units with other brands? 
It is not advisable to do this because other manufacturing companies may use a different temporal pattern ( temporal pattern means how the voltage is sent over the interconnect white wire that tells the other units to go off as the originating smoke alarm has sensed some smoke).

Q) With interconnected smoke alarms if one units starts to malfunction will the others on the same circuit be affected?
If all the units are interconnected and one goes into an alarm or malfunction state, it will cause the rest of the units to also signal that alarm or malfunction.  The originating smoke alarm will be the unit with the rapidly flashing red LED while the unit is in alarm, or it will be the flashing green LED alarm memory condition afterwards.  Reset this unit and the problem should stop, if not then disconnect the unit and diagnose the unit individually.

Q) I have just installed some hardwired smoke alarms but they are chirping, why is this?
It is important when installing the smoke alarms to ensure that all the batteries are in place and that the smoke alarms are all correctly wired up otherwise they will chirp. To check this each  smoke alarm should have a permanent green led light.
If you install smoke alarm models with the hush button then it is very easy to touch the hush and the alarm will then chirp every 30 seconds for seven minutes before going quiet. Each time the hush button has been touched will elicit a seven minute chirp cycle.

Q) Can you tell me how your heat alarms work?
The temperature needs to rise to 57C before the detector will sound. It does not matter how much smoke is being generated that is why heat detectors should only be used in the kitchen with either an ionization or photo-electric smoke alarm linked in the hallway.

 

carbon monoxide alarms

 

Q) What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, tasteless, odourless gas.

Q) How is it produced?
The gas is produced when any fossil burning fuel does not burn efficiently.
It can caused by inadequately maintained or badly fitted domestic heating appliances such as wall heaters, fires and boilers and cannot escape from the home if the flue of chimney has a blockage.

Q) Does the carbon monoxide unit detect natural gas if the cooker is just switched on but not ignited?
No - a 'standard' carbon monoxide alarm will only detect poisonous carbon monoxide and not natural, household gas that may have leaked. 

Q) I have inserted the batteries, but the alarm is just making a screeching noise, why is that?
Please check that the batteries have been inserted correctly - the top and bottom battery need to have the polarity to the right and the middle one should go to the left.

Q) How do the Carbon Monoxide alarm sensors work?
Carbon monoxide alarms use electrochemical sensor technology to sense the air every 15 - 20 seconds.  Then, in accordance with BSI 50291 requirements, Kidde alarms meet the following response times;

- At 30 ppm, the unit must not alarm before 120 minutes

- At 50 ppm, the unit must alarm within 60 - 90 minutes

- At 100 ppm, the unit must alarm with 10 - 40 minutes

- At 300 ppm, the units must alarm within 3 minutes

CO alarms that meet different 'requirements' may meet slightly different response times.

Q) Where should carbon monoxide alarms be located?
Kidde recommend that carbon monoxide alarms should be placed 1.5 metres from the floor providing it is not in dead air space (which is 34cms from any walls, corners or alcoves). Alarms must be at least 2 metres away from any heating appliance to prevent nuisance alarms.

Q) How many carbon monoxide alarms should I have in the home?
Kidde recommend one alarm on each level of the home.  However, if you are only purchasing one then it is best located near to sleeping areas as you need to be able to hear the alarm at night whilst you are sleeping and would not be otherwise aware of the effects of CO poisoning.

Q) The carbon monoxide alarm has started to chirp, does this mean that the unit has detected carbon monoxide gas?
When the unit detects carbon monoxide gas it will alarm at 85 decibels.

Q) Why has the carbon monoxide alarm started to chirp?
Carbon monoxide alarms chirp for various reasons – usually it is because the batteries need changing. When the battery starts to run down you will find that it normally chirps in the early hours of the morning when it is coldest. This occurs when the temperature drops the voltage to the battery automatically drops and the carbon monoxide alarm goes into low battery mode whereby the unit will chirp.  When the temperature rises the chirping should stop.

 

fire extinguishers

 

Q) Where can I find the expiry date on the fire extinguisher?
Kidde fire extinguishers do not have an expiry date. The warranty period starts from the date of receipt of purchase.

Q) How many fire extinguishers should I have in my home?
Kidde recommend at least one fire extinguisher on each level of the home.

Q) What is the best fire extinguisher to have in the home?
Any model with an ABC fire rating can fight most commomn fires in the home;

A - Solid materials:   wood, paper, textiles etc
B – Flammable liquids:  petrol, oil, fat, paint, solvent, grease etc
C – Flammable gases: propane, butane, acetylene, natural gas etc

Due to the dry powder content, all Kidde Safety fire extinguishers are safe for use on electrical equipment – however, damage to the equipment might be caused by the residues

Q) Is the chemical powder used in the ABC fire extinguishers harmful?
Mono-ammonium Phosphate is non toxic but it could cause mild irritation when it comes into contact with the skin.

As a first aid measure we would advise the following:
1) If inhaled – move to fresh air
2) Skin contact – wash off with plenty of water
3) Eye contact – irrigate with fresh water for at least 10 minutes holding the eyelids apart
4) Ingestion – rinse your mouth with water and give plenty of water to drink. If other symptoms persist seek medical advice immediately and treat symptomatically.
 
Q) What do the numbers mean on the extinguisher - for example 8A 34BC?
The number simply supplies an indication of the size of the fire that the extinguisher will be able to handle. The higher the first number the bigger the fire that the extinguisher could tackle. Most domestic fire extinguishers have ratings of 8A 34BC. This would tackle a fire in its early stages quite easily.

 

Fire Blankets

 

Q) What type of fires should fire blankets be used for?
These blankets are recommended for small fat pan fires and for plumbers when they do very small soldering jobs.

Q) Where should I store my fire blanket?
It is best to place the fire blanket near but not over the cooking appliance. That way you do not risk injury when reaching for it in the event of a fire.

Q) Why does it explain how to fold the blanket when it also states after one use to discard?
The re-folding instructions are provided as some consumers like to check the product over before use

Q) What approvals do Kidde have for these blankets?
The three blankets is the range are Kitemarked to Standard BS EN1869


Fire Escape Ladder

 

Q) How many ladders do you have in your range?
We currently have one type of ladder but it is supplied in two lengths:
13ft and 25ft .

Q) What is the ladder made of?
It is made of aluminium with a fire resistant webbing and has a 5 year warranty.

Q) What window ledge size does it fit?
The depth of the window ledge can be from 9” but no more than 11”.

Q) How fire resistant is the ladder?
Fire ladders manufactured after January 2000 meet the ASTM F21-02 “ Standard
Specification for Portable Escape Ladder for Residential Use”.

In the standard, Section 3.1.10 identifies the Heat Deflection Temperature requirement;

“All materials that soften or melt by heat used in support components of the ladder including the rungs, rung supports, and hooks shall have a heat deflection measured by Test Method D648 of not less than 150 degrees Celsius at 66 PSI”.

Q) How strong is the ladder?
Kidde Escape ladders have been tested to 450Kg (204.5lbs) weight holding capacity but it is not advised to have more than one person on the ladder at one time.

Q) How many escape ladders should one home have?
Kidde recommend one per occupied bedroom.

Q) Should I try out the escape ladder?
Kidde recommend that all members of the household are familiar with how the ladder attaches to the window ledge but does not recommend that the ladder be fully unfurled