Frequently Asked Questions

Ionisation
This smoke alarm is based on the principle of ion flow within the detector chamber. An alarm condition occurs when the ion flow is affected by smoke particles. Ionisation smoke alarms are more responsive to invisible smoke particles produced by most fast flaming fires. This smoke alarm is ideally suited in bedrooms.

Photoelectric
This smoke alarm is based on the principle of optical detection. It is also known as the “scattered-light” principle. An alarm condition occurs when smoke particles enter the light path within the detection chamber, and some of the light gets “scattered” by reflection and refraction onto a sensor. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more responsive to visible smoke particles by most slow smouldering fires. This smoke alarm is ideally suited in living rooms, hallways and corridors. If only one smoke alarm is installed in your home, we recommend a photoelectric smoke alarm. Photoelectric smoke alarms provide the best overall protection.

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More Information
Fire Protection Association
Metropolitan Fire Brigade

 

Smoke alarms can activate for no reason, and these can be caused by several reasons.

Cooking fumes can cause the smoke alarm to activate especially when the smoke alarm is located too close to the kitchen.  It is recommended to locate smoke alarms at least 5m away from the kitchen.  Photoelectric smoke alarms are less prone to false alarms caused by cooking fumes.  Install a smoke alarm with Hush feature to silence nuisance alarms.

Steam from bathrooms and laundry can cause false alarm. Smoke alarms located inside or in front of bathrooms, showers and laundry can activate when steam enters the smoke alarm.

Insects and dust are common cause of false alarms.  Make sure the smoke alarm is regularly maintained.  Regularly clean and vacuum to remove any loose dust and dirt within the smoke alarm. Insects may be inside or around the alarm. If so, fumigate the base plate area and thoroughly clean the alarm giving it a wipe and vacuum. Wipe the smoke alarm with insect repellent wipes, do not use insect spray.

High humidity could be causing the smoke alarm to false alarm. Water vapours can develop inside the smoke sensor causing smoke alarms to react the same way as it does smoke. Once humidity reaches 85%, false alarms could frequently happen and weak batteries can increase the chance of false alarms.  Blow warm air through the smoke alarm to remove humidity in the smoke alarm and to assist with drying out any moisture build up. You can use a hairdryer to do this.

Is your smoke alarm near any air ducts or fans? High air movement can cause the smoke alarm to false alarm. If so, it will be necessary to re-locate the smoke alarm.

Power issues can cause the smoke alarm to activate.  Unstable power or power interruptions can cause electrical spikes in the circuit, this may cause the smoke alarm to beep or alarm for a short period of time.  Smoke alarms are commonly installed on a lighting circuit shared with other electrical products.  These products can create electrical noise or interference which can activate the smoke alarm.   This electrical noise and electro-magnetic interference may cause the smoke alarm to beep or alarm when the electrical products are activated.  Products such as sweeping fans, lighting dimmers, poor quality LED lights, and heat lamps are examples.  An EMI filter may help to will filter out this interference  (see LIFEMI1 link).  We recommend that smoke alarms be installed on its own sub-circuit to avoid false alarm caused by electrical interferences from other electrical equipment.

 

A large current load on the same circuit as the smoke alarm.  High wattage appliances like vacuum cleaners, space heaters or hair dryers that are on the same circuit as the smoke alarm can overload the circuit and cause the smoke alarm to activate. Avoid putting too many high wattage appliances on the same circuit as the smoke alarms.

If installing the smoke alarm for the first time, please ensure the yellow battery installation tag has been removed. PSA smoke alarms will emit an audible chirp at regular intervals to indicate that the 9 volt back-up battery is low in charge and needs to replaced.
The procedure on how to replace the 9 volt battery differs slightly depending on the smoke alarm model. Please use the information below as a guide and refer to your smoke alarm’s Installation and User Manual for the correct procedure.

Smoke Alarms which are model LIF5800RL, LIF5800RF, LIF10YI and LIF10YPE the batteries cannot be replaced. Contact PSA technical team for information if you have the aforementioned models and are experiencing chirping. Should your smoke alarm be close to 10 years old, it is most likely at its expiry and due for replacement.

Have you pressed the Hush feature? Pressing the hush button on the smoke alarm will cause the smoke alarm to beep or chirp for 10-15 minutes. The Hush feature is designed to desensitize the smoke alarm from false alarms, with the chirping indicating hush mode is active. Hush mode will automatically reset once the 10-15 minute chirping cycle is over. Pressing the hush button before this cycle if over will restart another 10-15 minute cycle of chirping.

Lifesaver Series
Remove the tamper locking pin from the smoke alarm and separate the unit from the mounting base by sliding the smoke alarm in the direction of “Slide to Remove” arrow embossed on the smoke alarm top panel.

Homeguard Series
Remove the tamper locking pin from the smoke alarm. Twist the smoke alarm in a clockwise direction to remove the unit from the mounting base. Disconnect the fly lead from the bottom of the smoke alarm by squeezing the sides of the fly lead.

Turn the smoke alarm over and locate the battery compartment (Homeguard Series: Release the battery compartment door on the bottom of the smoke alarm to access the battery.) Remove the old battery and replace with a new Duracell or Energizer 9 volt battery.

Fold the red battery lever down into the compartment with the replacement battery. If the red battery lever is not held down by the battery, the smoke alarm will not close and will not be operational. The battery can only be inserted in one direction, please ensure the polarity is correct.

Test the alarm by pressing the Test Button for a few seconds. This should sound the alarm. The smoke alarm can now be reinstalled back onto the mounting base.

Is the smoke alarm in “Hush Mode”? As you are changing the battery, you may have accidentally pushed the “Hush” button while handling the smoke alarm, hence putting it into “Hush Mode”. If it starts chirping once reattached to the ceiling, leave it to chirp for its 5-10 minute cycle, and do not push any of the buttons. (Please note that every time the Hush button is pushed, this will cause the smoke alarm to start its 5-minute chirp cycle over again)

Give the smoke alarm a bit of a vacuum to suck out any dust particles that may be compromising the chamber. Furthermore, check that the battery terminals are not pushed in too far and are still in contact with the battery.

If the smoke alarm is still chirping after following the above, contact our office for more information and solutions to resolving the constant chirps.

Check for the green power light on the smoke alarm to ensure it is constantly on (and make sure a fresh battery is inserted). Also do a quick test to ensure the smoke alarm is operational.

Make sure you are pushing the “Test” button firmly. You can also use a can of “Test Smoke” to simulate a proper fire situation. Click here for this product. During power cuts, the smoke alarm should continue to operate. If your smoke alarm does not operate during a power cut, check the condition of the battery and replace where required to.

It is recommend by Australian Standards and Fire Departments that smoke alarms are replaced after 10 years.

  • Both hard-wired and battery operated smoke alarms are manufactured to have a recommended service life of at least 10 years under normal conditions of use (AS 3786).
  • After 10 years smoke alarms may malfunction and their efficiency compromised with accumulated dust, insects, airborne contaminants and corrosion of electrical circuitry.
  • A smoke alarm constantly monitors the air 24 hours a day. At the end of 10 years, it has gone through millions of monitoring cycles. After this much use, components may become less reliable. This means that as the smoke alarm gets older, the potential of failing to detect a fire increases.

Unfortunately none of the LIFESAVER 5 Series will fit on the LIF3000 base plate. Since releasing the new LIF 5 series smoke alarms, there is a now a patented slide on and off design which can be interchanged with the LIF5000, LIF5800, LIF5800RL, LIF5800/2 & LIF5800RL/2 smoke alarms.

You will require a licensed electrician to change your smoke alarm from the LIF3000 to the Lifesaver 5 series range.

Unfortunately, none of the older model smoke alarms will fit on the new LIF5 series base plates.  Since releasing the new LIF 5 series smoke alarms, there is a now a patented slide on and off design which can be interchanged with the LIF5000, LIF5800, LIF5800RL, LIF5800/2 & LIF5800RL/2 smoke alarms.

You will require a licensed electrician to change your old smoke alarm over to the new LIF5 series smoke alarms.