Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
After a Lightning Voltage Surge, what is Causing these Clicks? -- We recently had a bad storm which caused a power surge. All the surge protectors-battery backups in my master bedroom ONLY all began beeping and clicking like crazy. I tried to reset them to no avail. I tested the outlets with a multi-meter...Read More

Will Smoke in My Apartment Sound the Alarm Elsewhere? -- The smoke-alarm in your apartment is a stand-alone fire alarm system. It will detect smoke, and sound the alarm, but only in your apartment. When you are cooking, and accidently burn the food, or burn-the-toast, the sounding off smoke alarm won't sound the alarm in the whole building; it will only sound the alarm in your unit...Read More

Where is that Alarm Coming From in My Apartment? -- The only way to know which device is actually making the sound is to get your ear within a foot or so -about 30 centimeters- of the device think is making the sound, and then listen...Read More

Is that Chirping Sound Coming from the Sprinkler? -- With an electronic device like a smoke alarm, CO alarm, or furnace alarm, no one, including me, can stand in a room and tell what direction a chirp is coming from. Pure tones similar to the annoying chirp cannot be traced that way. Also, the sprinkler head is...Read More

Can the Fire Alarms be Quieter? -- There are actually two different fire alarm systems in your apartment. One fire alarm system is for the common areas in the whole apartment building, like the halls and basement. The other fire alarm system is the smoke alarms located inside your apartment...Read More

Can I Use a Magnetic Door Latch with the Smoke Alarm? -- Most smoke alarms for domestic use have the ability of operating a relay. The relay can be used to turn on and off the door holder. Contact technical support for the manufacturer of the smoke alarm you're using, and find out about this relay...Read More

I Put It Back, Do I Have to Pay for this Service Call? -- The common-to-the-building sounder on the wall is designed to warn you that somewhere else in the building, there's a fire. The building's fire alarm system is all over the building, it warns all the residents in their apartments of fire, and it calls the fire department...Read More

Will Using Canned Smoke Hurt a Smoke Detector? -- The overall questions seem to be, -Why isn't using the button to test smoke alarms good enough?-, -Will the artificial smoke reduce the life of the detectors?-, and -Can all homeowners actually test the detectors using artificial smoke?-... Read More

How do I Connect this 3-Wire Smoke Alarm? -- It appears that you have a security system. The existing wiring looks like it connects a security system smoke detector to the security system. A security system uses low voltage DC... Read More

What Should I Do When the Fire Alarm Sounds? -- When the alarm sounds, as caretaker for an apartment building, what should you be doing? "I would never suggest turning off the fire alarms, or in any way... Read More

Why did the Outside Bell Sound Off? -- It sounds like there was a very short-term influx of city water into the sprinkler system. When that happened, the paddle on the waterflow switch was pushed aside. Rather than returning once the water stopped, the paddle stuck in the aside position for... Read More

Effective Fire Safety Rules Regarding Window Safety -- An average of 353,100 residential fires occurs each year in the US, according to the National Fire Protection Association. As such, it is crucial that homeowners take appropriate measures to ensure fire safety within their homes. Thankfully, there are simple yet effective window safety rules to protect the house and keep loved ones safe. So what rules are these?...Read More

Fire Safety Planning a Vital Part of Accessible Housing -- Accessible Housing for people with physical disabilities because disabilities are a contributing factor in the risk of a death or injury in house fires. From reduced mobility to the inability to properly hear or see a fire alarm, there are many risk factors that you can reduce . . .Read More

Essential Fire Safety Tips For Landlords -- On average, seven people die each day in U.S. home fires, the National Fire Protection Association reveals. As a property manager or landlord, keeping your tenants and property safe from fire is one of the most important responsibilities you have. Unattended ovens or cook-tops, smoking, portable space heaters, and electrical faults are the most common causes of house fires. Not only do property fires cause thousands of . . .Read More

How Clutter Can Increase Your Home Fire Risk -- Official lists of the most common household fire risks include unattended cooking equipment, heating, broken electrical equipment, flammable liquids and even Christmas trees, but one aspect that can worsen all these risks and create a fire of its own, is clutter! NBC reports that one in four Americans has a clutter problem and 55% of those surveyed said it causes major stress. By keeping homes tidy, families can reduce their fire risk, but also reduce the frequency of falls and trips and the mental anguish of constantly being exposed to untidiness. . .Read More

How Do I Enhance Home Fire Safety? -- Home fires account for 75% of all structure fires and cost $6.7 billion in direct damage during the period 2011-2015. They are dangerous and deadly but are highly preventable. With an average of seven deaths a day due to home fires according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there are things that you can do to improve safety in your abodes. From looking at structural issues to implementing preventive measures, fire safety can save many lives and avoid property destruction ... Read More

How To Keep Seniors Safe From Fires -- Did you know that closing your bedroom door at night could save your life? Studies show that, in house fires, carbon monoxide levels are ten times higher in rooms with an ... Read More

The Main Causes Of Domestic Kitchen Fires -- Home fires claim an average of 7 lives a day in the U.S as reported by NFPA, making it the 3rd leading cause of accidental home injuries and deaths. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of residential fire injuries and the second leading cause of home fire deaths after smoking. Refrigerators and other kitchen appliances that are electrically operated are also potential hazards, especially if old and outdated. . .Read More

The Alarm Chirps, Which One is it? -- In the home or apartment, there's a loud chirping, almost like a bird, but it's electronic. Coming from somewhere, every...Read More

Why is the Carbon Monoxide Detector Chirping? -- I have a loud chirping noise that I think is my smoke / carbon monoxide alarm. It is hardwired and hasn't got a battery. If it's not a low battery chirp, what could be wrong?...Read More

Don't Breathe Smoke -- When the apartment building fire alarm is sounding off, open your door to the halls slowly. If the halls are full of smoke, use your judgement. There is no good choice in a real fire; some choices will be only be bad, other choices could be worse. Maybe waiting in the apartment is less bad than risking your life by going through smoke, maybe trying to escape down the halls . . .Read More

I'm Getting Desperate Dealing with False Alarms... -- I'm getting desperate dealing with false alarms waking me up in the middle of the night. Last November, I replaced our solitary photoelectric smoke alarm when it reached the end of its ten year life. Following the advice of a building inspector, I installed hard-wired (AC-powered with battery backup), interconnected smoke alarms in each bedroom and the hallway...Read More

Can the Fire Alarm System be Fixed so It Can Be Heard? -- Tonight our buildings fire alarm was pulled due to a couple on the top floor set their stove on fire. We have the round battery-operated smoke detectors inside the apartment. Outside in the halls are squared red box which sounds like a very loud duck-vibration sound. Now back in...Read More

How Can I Reset the Home Fire Alarm System? -- Last night my fire alarm went off because we were steaming up the bathroom for my sick kid. The alarm company called, we explained the situation but they said it couldn't be reset, we had to wait for it to reset itself from the steam clearing. We tried using fans to accelerate the clearing, but after fifteen minutes got impatient . . .Read More

What Happens When Water is Thrown on a Cooking Grease Fire? -- Cooking is good; grease catching on fire while cooking is bad. With all that sizzling crackle and pop, frying bacon sounds mouthwatering. But... Read More

Home Wateflow Switch - Do you know how to reset it? -- Three days ago, my husband wanted to adjust the water power. He mis-turned the waterflow switch, and then, the fire alarm was beeping for a long time. We did not know how to stop it. He called...Read More

How Do I Connect a Sprinkler Flow Switch To Smoke Alarms? -- Check with Help Center for the brand of smoke detectors in your house. Yes, many manufacturers of home smoke alarms have this feature, however, there are some things to consider if you intend to do the work yourself. This is a life-safety property-protection system. If there is a fire, you want the system to absolutely work. If water accidently flows into an unoccupied area of the house, you also want the system to absolutely work. If you aren't totally confident with utility wiring, or if you aren't sure of some of the complicated wiring, get an ...Read More

Is Fanning a Smoke Alarm Good Enough? -- I live in a basement and the fire alarm went off all I did after was fan it with a cloth and it stopped. Is that all I should do? Do I have to press anything to restart it, or do anything else, or is it fine? I didn't notice it before but now I see a green light. The smoke alarm does not have a reset button so there is no button to press. Fanning out the smoke alarm is all that is needed. If the smoke alarm quits making noise and goes back to the normal-green-light-is-flashing, the smoke alarm is ready to detect smoke again...Read More

Is My Neighbor's Laser a Danger to the Neighborhood? -- The power from a 120-watt laser is exactly the same as the power from a 120-watt incandescent lamp. The lamp gives off most of its power in the form of heat in all directions, and only some of the power in the form of visible light. The 120-watt laser doesn't give off much heat at all, but puts most of that power into one color of light, and it concentrates the power into a very thin directed beam... Read More

How Do You Let the Smoke Out of the Apartment? -- OK. Now the bacon is overcooked and, making the smoke alarm sound off, the apartment is full of smoke. That kind of thing happens... Read More

Can I Use a Hardware Store Magnet Test Home Detectors? -- The magnet-on-a-stick that you get from a hardware store should work just fine. The one thing you have to remember with any magnet you test with is that the magnet-test inside the smoke detector is somewhat directional... you might have to rotate your test magnet so is...Read More

The fire alarm bell to my house is going off... -- How long does it take for the water pressure to build back up to stop the alarm? I had to disconnect the bell. -- The main purpose of that bell is to sound the alarm if there's a fire and the sprinkler system is dousing it with water. A secondary purpose is to sound the alarm if water is pouring out of the sprinkler system and causing damage. You want it to work in either case, just to...Read More

Don't Smoke Alarms Detect Smoke? -- A smoke alarm isn't really a smoke alarm at all; a smoke alarm is a particles-in-the-air alarm. When a smoke alarm detects particles... Read More

Are False Alarms Going to Keep Happening? -- In the middle of the night my detector beeped a few times the it said fire, fire. I checked the entire house and found nothing except my visibly alarmed self. All the alarms in the house were replaced two years ago. Is this going to keep happening?...Read More

Can I Have an Outdoors Smoke Alarm? -- Because a house is enclosed and holds the heat of even a small fire inside, a house will rapidly burn if it starts out with a small fire. A smoke alarm is meant to alert those inside a house that there's a little smoke. Another thing that a smoke alarm says is -This is just a little smoke, get out of the house before... Read More

Smoke Alarms are There for Your Safety -- Smoke alarms are there for safety; disconnecting one so it won't make noise when it shouldn't will also prevent it from making noise when a person's life is on the line. Because they detect smoke while the smoke is just starting to build up in a room, the smoke alarms give people an early warning of dangerous smoke, often before the person even realizes there is smoke. . .Read More

What's the Difference between a Smoke Alarm and a Smoke Detector? -- Smoke alarms are inside houses, townhouses, apartments or condominiums. In areas that people live and sleep, smoke alarms are there to alert the ... Read More

Aren't Those Coat Hanger Racks on the Wall? -- Hotels, motels, apartment buildings, condominiums, townhouses, and some newer private homes, all have automatic fire-fighting sprinkler systems. Without anyone needing to do anything... Read More

The Pump was Very Hot - What Happened? -- Last night my husband heard noise in laundry room and asked me if I was doing anything in there. I was not, so we checked and heard a constant running of the pump. It was causing a vibration and friction with the PVC that connected it to the water tank. The PVC looked loose and came undone and then water started spurting out...Read More

Why Doesn't My Smoke Alarm Set Off The Building Alarms? -- In apartment Buildings, real fire alarms are bad; false fire alarms are just as bad... or worse... Read More

Why Doesn't My Smoke Alarm Set Off The Building Alarms? -- In apartment Buildings, real fire alarms are bad; false fire alarms are just as bad... or worse... Read More

Why Can't I Find the Chirping Noise? -- Because of room acoustics, chirping sounds aren't easy to find. Almost no one is going to be able to tell which direction the chirping sound is coming from, until getting the ear within a foot or so - about half a meter. The way to find it, though, is to walk around and get close to possible sources of sound, like the furnace or the sump pump. With this kind of chirping, everything ... Read More

What is a Short Circuit -- A short circuit is usually thought of as a spark that almost instantly trips a circuit breaker in the fuse panel of the home. A short circuit does more than that, though. A short circuit is an electrical path that allows the electricity to run wild. . .Read More

Can You Tell Me how the Red Box on the Wall Operates? -- I moved into a 1-bedroom apartment recently that has 3 smoke detectors (the flat, round kind mounted on the ceiling), but also mounted on one wall is a red strobe alarm... Read More

Do I Need to Ground a Metal Weather Mast? -- I'm installing a weather station on metal pipe mast on roof gable-rake. The weather station is self-contained, battery powered, WiFi linked to indoor display console, not connected to the home electrical system...Read More

Life Safety
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