FAQ / Troubleshooting

General FAQ / Troubleshooting:


New Construction FAQ:




Fire Extinguisher FAQ:



Your application or local codes will drive what type of alarms to choose. Whether you’re replacing existing alarms or adding in new, follow these simple steps… Click here to view full FAQ

Ionization Smoke Alarms – Generally are 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 – Generally are more effective at detecting smoldering fires, which smolder for hours before bursting into flame. Sources of the fires include cigarette smoldering in couches or bedding.

For maximum protection, install both types of smoke alarms on every level of the home.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), recommends one Smoke Alarm on every floor, in every sleeping area, and in every bedroom. In new construction, the Smoke Alarms must be AC powered and interconnected. See “Agency Placement Recommendations” for details. For additional coverage, it is recommended that you install a Smoke Alarm in all rooms, halls, storage areas, finished attics, and basements, where temperatures normally remain between 40° F (4° C) and 100° F (38° C). Make sure no door or other obstruction could keep smoke from reaching the Smoke Alarms. More specifically… Click here to view full FAQ

For best performance, AVOID installing Smoke Alarms in these areas:
– Where combustion particles are produced.
– In air steams near kitchens.
– In very damp, humid or steamy areas.
– In very dusty, dirty, or greasy areas.
– Where the temperatures are regularly below 40°F (4° C) or above 100° F (38° C).
– Near fresh air vents, ceiling fans, or in very drafty areas.
– In insect infested areas.
– Less than 12 inches (305mm) away from fluorescent lights.
– In “dead air” spaces.
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If an alarm “chirps” 3 times with 3 Green LED flashes, contact our Consumer Affairs Department at 1-800-323-9005 for immediate support.

Any of these situations can cause unwanted alarms:
– Cover or Sensor Chamber is Covered by Dust or Dirt.
– Insects Covered or Clogged the Sensor Chamber.
– Alarm was Triggered from Another Part of the Home.
– Power Interruption to AC/DC Smoke Alarms
– A Loose Electrical Connection on AC or AC/DC Smoke Alarms.
– When the Furnace is Tuned on for First Use.
– Humidity.
– Near Cold Air Returns.
– Smoke Alarm May Need to be Relocated.
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Any of these situations can cause a low battery chirp:
– Does your smoke alarm have a separate 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 its the smoke alarm? Other devices have similar low battery chirps or warning tones. The source of a single chirp is often hard to pinpoint. Be sure to check wall outlets that may have other devices like carbon monoxides alarms in use.
– 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.

The “chirp” will only be caused by issues surrounding the battery or miss-wiring. However, a homeowner may confuse the chirp with an intermittent alarm. Try and get the homeowner to be specific as to what they are hearing. A “chirp” will have a higher pitched tone and sound in equal intervals about once every minute. An intermittent alarm will be random, sound usually for several seconds and have a lower pitched tone. Any of these situations can cause unwanted chirps… Click here to view full FAQ

Normal Operation
It is normal for some smoke alarms to sound briefly (up to 5-10 seconds) when they are powered up, especially older models. Newer models such as 9120B in most cases will remain silent upon power up. If the alarm continues to sound and no smoke is present, the cause may be:
Insufficient Battery or AC Power
Very low batteries or insufficient electrical power (brown out) may cause a continuous weak sounding alarm. Temporarily disconnect power at the service panel until the brown out is over. If you do not restore the AC power, your smoke alarms cannot warn you of a fire.
Incompatible Warning Devices
If an incompatible alarm or auxiliary device is linked into a series of AC or AC/DC smoke alarms it may cause the system to alarm.

Never use rechargeable batteries because they do not always provide a consistent charge and are not approved for use in our alarms at this time.

Check your Users Manual or the label on the back of the alarm. Never use rechargeable batteries!

Try the following before assuming the alarm is not responding:
– Make sure you didnt accidentally press the silence button. (Older models like 4120SB have separate silence and test buttons).
– You may have accidentally pushed the silence button This temporarily disables the test function on some alarms. You an tell the unit is in silence mode if the red light is flashing, and the alarm “chirps” about once a minute for up to 15 minutes. The test function will return to normal when the smoke alarm is no longer in silence mode. Newer models like the BRK 9120 Series and 7010 Series can be tested while in “Silence” mode.
– 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, in cannot power the smoke alarm properly. See “The Battery Drawer is open”
– Make sure the AC power is on. AC and AC/DC units will have a power indicator light (red or green) that shines continuously when they are receiving electrical power.
– 10-Year Models ONLY = Model SA340: Be sure the battery pack is installed. Models 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.’

Like all devices with electronic components, smoke alarms have a limited effective service life. As electronic devices, smoke alarms are subject to random failures. In 10 years there is roughly a 30% probability of failure before replacement. After 15 years, the chances are better than 50/50 that your alarm has failed. That is too big a risk to take. Replacing alarms after 10 years protects against the accumulated chance of failure, but monthly testing is still your first, best means of making sure your alarm will work.
Source: NFPA 72; 2007 Edition page 72-118; Section Paragraph 5(b)

ANSI/UL2034 specifications have changed to require all CO alarms and combination smoke/CO alarms to have an end of life feature. This is an industry wide change. This requirement went into effect for any production beginning on August 1, 2009. All BRK/First Alert carbon monoxide alarms manufactured on or after this date meet this requirement. This information is stated on the original packaging, label on the alarm and the manuals.

Basic text reads “Replace alarm 120 months after installation”. This feature is a simple counter that begins working once the unit is activated either by plugging it in, hardwiring or inserting the battery. Then after approximately 120 months of operation the unit will begin to sound 5 chirps. See the individual CO product on the BRK website and click on the ”sounds” tab to hear this alert. This silence feature can temporarily quiet the End of Life warning “chirp” for up to 2 days. You can silence the End of Life warning “chirp” by pressing the Test/Silence button. The horn will chirp, acknowledging that the End of Life feature has been activated. After approximately 2 days, the End of Life “chirp” will resume. After approximately 2-3 weeks the End of Life warning cannot be silenced

“10-year smoke alarms” are available, which feature extended life batteries or power cells designed to provide up to 10 years of service without battery changes. Regardless of the manufacturers suggested battery life, it is important to replace batteries (or smoke alarm) as soon as the low battery alert is activated! Many factors, including temperature, installation location, and how well smoke alarms are cleaned and maintained, can shorten battery (or smoke alarm) life. First Alert® model SA340 Smoke Alarm. This model has three non-removable Lithium power cells sealed into the battery pack. This makes the unit tamper-proof. Once the power cells are installed in the alarm they are activated. They provide up to 10 years of continuous service. Since they are power cells – not traditional batteries – they cannot be used in other battery-powered devices, which deters unauthorized removal. Once the power cells become weak, the smoke alarm must be replaced. Long-life lithium batteries. Some manufacturers offer long-life Lithium batteries, which provide a longer service life than carbon zinc or alkaline batteries, possibly up to 10 years depending on type of alarm, temperature conditions over the life of the alarm, how often the unit is in alarm, how often tested, etcetera. These can be used in most battery powered and AC/DC smoke alarms.

CSA 6.19-01 Standard requires residential CO Alarms to sound when exposed to levels of CO and exposure times as described below. They are measured in parts per million (ppm) of CO over time (in minutes). CSA 6.19-01 Required Alarm Points*… Click here to view full FAQ

The length of warranty varies by product. See specific product section on this website for warranty length by product.
Your warranty is outlined below with the exception of warranty length changing as specified above:

BRK Brands, Inc., (“BRK”) the maker of First Alert® brand products warrants that for a period of (see specific product for details) years from the date of purchase, this product will be free from defects in material and workmanship. BRK, at its option, will repair or replace this product or any component of the product found to be defective during the warranty period. Replacement will be made with a new or remanufactured product or component. If the product is no longer available, replacement may be made with a similar product of equal or greater value. This is your exclusive warranty.

This warranty is valid for the original retail purchaser from the date of initial retail purchase and is not transferable. Keep the original sales receipt. Proof of purchase is required to obtain warranty performance. BRK dealers, service centers, or retail stores selling BRK products do not have the right to alter, modify or any way change the terms and conditions of this warranty. This warranty does not cover normal wear of parts or damage resulting from any of the following: negligent use or misuse of the product, use on improper voltage or current, use contrary to the operating instructions, disassembly, repair or alteration by anyone other than BRK or an authorized service center. Further, the warranty does not cover Acts of God, such as fire, flood, hurricanes and tornadoes or any batteries that are included with this unit.

BRK shall not be liable for any incidental or consequential damages caused by the breach of any express or implied warranty. Except to the extent prohibited by applicable law, any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose is limited in duration to the duration of the above warranty. Some states, provinces or jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages or limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, so the above limitations or exclusion may not apply to you. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights that vary from state to state or province to province.

How to Obtain Warranty Service
Service: If service is required, do not return the product to your retailer. In order to obtain warranty service, contact the Consumer Affairs Division at 1-800-323-9005, 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM Central Standard Time, Monday through Friday. To assist us in serving you, please have the model number and date of purchase available when calling. 25 Spur Drive, El Paso TX 79906
Battery: BRK Brands, Inc. make no warranty, express or implied, written or oral, including that of merchantability or fitness for any particular purpose with respect to the battery.

You can obtain a replacement manual in two ways:
– We will gladly send you a replacement users manual or equivalent instructions. Please call Consumer Affairs and have the model number handy when requesting a replacement manual.
– You can also download current users manuals on this website. Go to the “Products” section. Then find your product and click on the downloads tab.

BRK hardwired Smoke Alarms are designed to be mounted on any standard wiring junction box to a 4-inch (10 cm) size, on either the ceiling or wall. Read “Recommended Locations For Smoke Alarms” and “Locations to Avoid For Smoke Alarms” before you begin installation… Click here to view full FAQ

Interconnected units must meet ALL of the following requirements:
– A maximum of 18 compatible units may be interconnected (Maximum of 12 Smoke Alarms).
– The same fuse or circuit breaker must power all interconnected units.
– The total length of wire interconnecting the units should be less than 1000 feet (300 meters). This type of wire is commonly available at Hardware and Electrical Supply stores.
– All wiring must conform to all local electrical codes and NFPA 70 (NEC). Refer to NFPA 72, NFPA 101, and/or your local building code for further connection requirements.
If you are in doubt about any of these requirements, contact an experienced Electrical Professional to complete the installation of these alarms.
The maximum number of smoke alarms that should be interconnected per NFPA 72 standards is 12. Always make sure the smoke alarms you are interconnecting are compatible. In addition to the 12 smoke alarms in the series, you can connect up to 6 compatible devices like door closers, bells, or lights.

Only BRK Brands, Inc. CO alarms or Smoke/CO combo alarms with a “smart interconnect” feature should be interconnected with compatible smoke and heat alarms. The smart interconnect sends a unique signal for smoke and CO alarms on one interconnect wire. With non-smart interconnect CO products, no electrical hazard is associated with such a connection of CO and smoke alarms. However, homeowner confusion can arise when an alarm condition exists when these two devices are interconnected as they have different horn patterns. In addition, the homeowners response to fire or CO hazards usually requires opposite reactions. In a fire, the homeowner needs to exit the building immediately. In a CO condition the homeowner should shut off appliances and open the windows before leaving the building. Mistakenly identifying what condition caused the alarm can have tragic results. For example, if a fire actually caused the alarm condition and it is mistaken for a CO condition, opening windows and turning off appliances can actually feed the fire and cause the homeowner to be in the building for precious extra minutes they may not have. Conversely, if a CO condition is what initially caused the alarm, and the homeowner believes a fire condition exists and no fire is found, they could succumb to CO poisoning by remaining in the building. It is for these reasons that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms should not be interconnected in a residential application unless the CO alarms have a smart interconnect feature.

When dealing with new construction for existing home additions, the First Alert® OneLink® “Bridge” unit (SA520B) is a perfect solution… Click here to view full FAQ

Property Owners and Facility Managers of existing buildings can save an average of $150 – $200 per alarm on installation when compared to hardwired alarms… Click here to view full FAQ

As with hardwired units, NFPA states that up to 18 total units can be interconnected (RF Wireless or hardwired) with a maximum of 12 of those being smoke alarms.
See our lineup of OneLink Wireless Battery and OneLink Wireless Hardwired Alarms

1. Insert batteries (two AA batteries). Alarm Will Say: “Welcome, First Alert Smoke Alarm.” “No location programmed” if first time or “[Location, example: “Basement”] location programmed” when changing batteries. “To select location, press and hold test button now.”
2. Press & Hold Test Button if you would like to program the location or change the location of the Alarm. Release button after Alarm responds. Alarm Will Say: “To save location, press and hold test button after location is heard.” Alarm will speak list of locations.
3. After you hear the location of where you are placing the Alarm, Press & Hold the Test Button. Alarm Will Say: “[Location, example: “Basement”] location saved.” If no location is chosen: “No location saved.” Your Alarm has now been programmed for the location of your choice… Click here to view full FAQ

The alarms interconnect via reliable and secure radio frequency (RF) communication. They operate on the 915MHz frequency bandwidth and employ 3-channel frequency hopping vs. 433MHz non frequency hopping with other competitive alarms. If for some reason one channel is blocked or being used by another device in the home it automatically switches to one of three frequencies increasing the chance that the signal will be received. This “hopping” to the next frequency to complete the signal vs. waiting for the next send cycle saves precious time. Seconds count in an emergency as a home fire doubles in size every 30 seconds. See also “Mesh Network Communication”.
See our lineup of OneLink Wireless Battery and OneLink Wireless Hardwired Alarms.

First Alert® OneLink® alarms operate on a “mesh network”. All of the First Alert® OneLink® alarms send, receive and resend the initiating alarm’s signal. With competitive wireless one-way communication, only the initiating alarm sends a signal. It does not resend… Click here to view full FAQ

The linking is automatic through the software with 65,000 security code combinations. This eliminates manual dip switch programming as on the competitive product with only 255 combinations. This saves confusion, time and money on installation. With First Alert® OneLink® there is an extremely small chance of a duplicate code programmed in an adjacent apartment’s units as with the competition. No trying to remember dip switch locations for each apartment’s units. Easier programming means a more cost effective installation.
See our lineup of OneLink Wireless Battery and OneLink Wireless Hardwired Alarms.

As required by the ANSI/UL standards, a battery operated alarm must have the batteries last for at least one year. First Alert® OneLink® battery operated alarms meet these requirements.
See our lineup of OneLink Wireless Battery and OneLink Wireless Hardwired Alarms.

First Alert® OneLink® alarms include these quality innovative features:
– A photoelectric smoke sensor.
– Requires only 2 “AA” batteries.
– Two Silence features.
– Perfect Mount mounting bracket.
– Tamper resistant pins.
– 10yr and 5yr warranties.
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The Spread Spectrum Horn Tone is a lower and varying horn frequency that sweeps through the 2200 – 3400 Hz range. As we age we lose the capability of hearing higher frequencies. This lower frequency and sweeping tone make it easier for the elderly with normal age related hearing loss to better hear the horn as compared to a standard horn. This is an important feature as the overall population is getting older as the Baby Boomer’s population segment moves into their 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The first US Baby Boomers will turn 65 in 2011. (The baby boom refers to people born in the post-World War II period from 1946 through 1964). This market potential is already being targeted by builders as evidenced by the increase in the development of more “Over 55” communities. American’s 55 and older will head 40% of the nation’s households by 2012. No other alarm manufacturer has recognized this potential and has this feature to date.
See our lineup of OneLink Wireless Battery and OneLink Wireless Hardwired Alarms.

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