Carrerahill

Fire alarms - who has used what?

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Well, its nearing the time I will have a BCO poking at all my hard work so I need some fire alarms for the new bits and altered rooms etc. I was looking at Aico but I am not happy with their customer support via email as the guy was frankly rude and clearly just reading from their own guides which I had already read, understood but still didn't answer my question. Having said that, I may get them anyway as I do believe they are good.

 

I need a heat alarm for the kitchen and some smoke detectors, first fix is in (3 core and earth for power & interlink). I just want a reliable option for fair money. I have found some sets and some products but would be keen to hear from any of you who have recently bought some. Quite a lot of them also list mains mounting plates, surely the products come with everything in the box? 

 

Simplicity is my plan here! I want 4 alarms with everything I need in 4 boxes. End of.

 

Suggestions appreciated.

 

 

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Aico all the time for me. you won't find another that's better for wiring and neatness.  I usually buy them from random ebay sellers for a much better price, but check the "replace by" dates as some are selling old stock near the end of life.

 

I particularly like the fact Aico do a combined heat and CO alarm in one package, perfect for a kitchen with a stove or boiler in it.  I just wish they would make a combined CO and smoke alarm as well.

 

What questions do you have that they could not answer?

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I agree with @ProDave.  The Aico stuff seems really good and decent value.  They have the same base for all the different sensor types, so, for example, it is easy to swap out a smoke alarm giving false alarms in a dusty area to a heat alarm.

 

Mine has a separate control panel so you can easily test, locate and silence from one place.

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27 minutes ago, ProDave said:

[...] near the end of life.

 

Whatever that actually means though... even their heat alarms and control panel switch have a 10yr expiry date!

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whatever one the wholesalers sell. I literally just email them with quantities of smoke and heat, it gets delivered, sparky fits it. Im not very fussy!

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48 minutes ago, Oz07 said:

whatever one the wholesalers sell. I literally just email them with quantities of smoke and heat, it gets delivered, sparky fits it. Im not very fussy!

Must be a more easy going sparky than me.  Some makes of alarm are not exactly easy to connect.

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I used Kidde. They seemed straightforward to fit and have worked ok for the last two and a half years.

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15 hours ago, ProDave said:

What questions do you have that they could not answer?

Basically wall mounting a heat alarm  -  we have a mono-pitched ceiling, rather than put it on the sloped ceiling within the prescribed distance from the apex (I think it was 150mm), I wish to mount it on the wall at 150mm from the peak but on the wall. We all know heat rises and in the event of a fire this top "triangle" of space is going to get rather hot fairly quickly, I see no reason why the thermistor type alarm would not work just fine on the wall within the apex area. The little boy on the other end of this email just kept repeating the same rubbish and wasn't willing to use his head and do some thinking. 

 

Looking at all the guidance and interpreting BS5839 it appears acceptable to mount a heat detector on a wall if certain criteria are met, I have spoken to some people and they have concurred with my thinking.

 

1 of three things will happen here:

 

1. I mount it on the wall where I want it, BCO rejects it and I move it to the ceiling, he checks it, he signs it all off and I move it back to the wall when he goes.

2. I mount it on the ceiling, BCO is happy, he leaves, he signs off and I move it to the wall.

3. I find a product that will go on the wall, with literature or an email or a design to back it up and the BCO accepts it because there is a piece of paper removing his liability!

 

 

Edited by Carrerahill

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33 minutes ago, PeterStarck said:

I used Kidde. They seemed straightforward to fit and have worked ok for the last two and a half years.

 

By choice Aico but I did once fit some Kidde wired stuff on the hurry up as it was all they could get. Tbh it was alright imo and easy to fit. Been in 5 years with no issues. 

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Aren't the Kidde ones the sort with flying leads, so you have to cut a bigger hole in the ceiling and come prepared with a load of small junction boxes to poke up the hole?

 

That's why I like aico, just about the only ones that provide a proper terminal box.

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10 minutes ago, Carrerahill said:

Basically wall mounting a heat alarm  -  we have a mono-pitched ceiling, rather than put it on the sloped ceiling within the prescribed distance from the apex (I think it was 150mm), I wish to mount it on the wall at 150mm from the peak but on the wall. We all know heat rises and in the event of a fire this top "triangle" of space is going to get rather hot fairly quickly, I see no reason why the thermistor type alarm would not work just fine on the wall within the apex area. The little boy on the other end of this email just kept repeating the same rubbish and wasn't willing to use his head and do some thinking. 

 

Looking at all the guidance and interpreting BS5839 it appears acceptable to mount a heat detector on a wall if certain criteria are met, I have spoken to some people and they have concurred with my thinking.

 

1 of three things will happen here:

 

1. I mount it on the wall where I want it, BCO rejects it and I move it to the ceiling, he checks it, he signs it all off and I move it back to the wall when he goes.

2. I mount it on the ceiling, BCO is happy, he leaves, he signs off and I move it to the wall.

3. I find a product that will go on the wall, with literature or an email or a design to back it up and the BCO accepts it because there is a piece of paper removing his liability!

 

 

 

perhaps the "little boy" (condescending much?) was uncomfortable with accepting the liability for agreeing to something that isn't in the MIs?

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I have mounted Aico alarms on a wall in a similar situation with approval from Aico and accepted by BC.  You must have picked the tea boy to answer your questions.

 

I forget exactly but I think it had to be >300mm from a corner.

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4 minutes ago, dpmiller said:

 

perhaps the "little boy" (condescending much?) was uncomfortable with accepting the liability for agreeing to something that isn't in the MIs?

That I get, in my line of work I understand that fully, it is also my job to design safe and compliant solutions to achieve the hopes and dreams of others. This little boy was just cheeky and arrogant and couldn't string together a coherent email to save himself. 

 

I did have one manufacturer go away and confirm with their US design office that it could be done but their type rating wasn't approved for wall use yet and until this was official they couldn't sell it as such. They also admitted that generally they say no to wall mounting, much like lockdown, to deal with the inept and those lacking in common sense, therefore you have a strategy aimed at "playing it safe".

 

It is done with commercially designed systems often enough, I used to work in an office next to a team of fire engineers and stupidly lost touch over the years - we often had to include wiring spec within our specification and wall mounted heat detectors were used.

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, ProDave said:

You must have picked the tea boy to answer your questions.

I knew it!

 

He kept just quoting their siteing instructions, which I stated I had already read and understood but also pointed out their siteing instructions didn't actually mention my situation and I wanted clarification, he came back with another cheeky email. 

 

Do you have an email address or details of the clearly more intelligent Aico employee you go hold of?

 

What is your exact situation - I will go and sketch what we have here for clarity.

 

 

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1 hour ago, ProDave said:

Aren't the Kidde ones the sort with flying leads, so you have to cut a bigger hole in the ceiling and come prepared with a load of small junction boxes to poke up the hole?

 

That's why I like aico, just about the only ones that provide a proper terminal box.

 

Used them with a base from memory (and that's fading). The cable comes thru a small hole in the pb and terminates in the base that's screwed to the ceiling, then the alarm, be it smoke/heat or CO2 clips/twists into that. A bit bulkier than Aico. Some pics somewhere...on Tinypic or maybe Photobucket that I don't use anymore...

 

Edit: only pic I can find:

 

P4060239_zps1a9d5a6b.JPG

 

 

Edited by Onoff
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English regs say 300mm down and you’re fine to wall mount. Pretty sure the Scottish regs are the same ..?

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7 minutes ago, Onoff said:

 

Used them with a base from memory (and that's fading). The cable comes thru a small hole in the pb and terminates in the base that's screwed to the ceiling, then the alarm, be it smoke/heat or CO2 clips/twists into that. A bit bulkier than Aico. Some pics somewhere...on Tinypic or maybe Photobucket that I don't use anymore...

 

Edit: only pic I can find:

 

P4060239_zps1a9d5a6b.JPG

 

 

Don't like their "flush mounting box" it makes them so bulky and ugly.

 

So it's either that, or a big hole and poke a junction box up.

 

Or just buy aico.

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1 hour ago, Carrerahill said:

Just so there is no dubiety, this is what I want to do.

 

916024770_HEATALARM.jpg.dcd4dc82d4ba236846678a2d590fbebb.jpg

 

Does the following help at all? I'm no expert on the subject so do check my train of thought...

 

Approved Document B (Fire Safety) essentially refers to BS5839-6 (Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings) for its recommendations. BS5839-6:2019 has the following to say in para 11.2(l):

 

Quote

If ceiling mounting is impracticable, in rooms and hallways not exceeding 10 m in both length and breadth, and not exceeding 50 m2 in area, detectors may, alternatively, be mounted on a wall provided that:

 

1) the top of the detection element is between 150 mm and 300 mm below the ceiling; and

2) the bottom of the detection element is above the level of any door opening; and

3) the manufacturer’s instructions state that the detector is suitable for wall mounting.

 

You can presumably cover (1) and (2) okay so that leaves (3). Looking at the installation instructions for an Aico Ei144RC heat alarm, which covers the whole Ei140RC series, it says on page 16:

 

Quote

Wall mounting of Smoke Alarms (only):

 

If ceiling mounting is impractical, Smoke Alarms may be mounted on a wall, provided that: a) the top of the detection element is between 150mm and 300mm below the ceiling; b) the bottom of the detection element is above the level of any door openings; Wall mounting should only be considered where close spaced beams or similar obstructions may preclude ceiling mounting. It is considered to be the responsibility of the installer/client to determine if the presence of asbestos in the ceiling material would make ceiling mounting ‘impractical’.

 

This, to me, suggests that only Aico smoke alarms (not heat alarms) are suitable for wall mounting and thus would fail to satisfy clause 11.2(l)(3) of BS5839 above?

Edited by MJNewton
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1 hour ago, MJNewton said:

 

Does the following help at all? I'm no expert on the subject so do check my train of thought...

 

Approved Document B (Fire Safety) essentially refers to BS5839-6 (Fire detection and fire alarm systems for buildings) for its recommendations. BS5839-6:2019 has the following to say in para 11.2(l):

 

 

You can presumably cover (1) and (2) okay so that leaves (3). Looking at the installation instructions for an Aico Ei144RC heat alarm, which covers the whole Ei140RC series, it says on page 16:

 

 

This, to me, suggests that only Aico smoke alarms (not heat alarms) are suitable for wall mounting and thus would fail to satisfy clause 11.2(l)(3) of BS5839 above?

Yes, what you have read and interpreted is the same as what I have found - as you see Aico say no to heat. If they could even explain why not then I'd listen but you cannot tell me no without a logical reason.

 

He kept telling me that heat travels down the walls and cools, I explained to him that yes this was the wall, but it was within the peak of the ceiling, I don't think he actually understood me.

 

Do you think what I am proposing is reasonable or do you think I am being silly?

 

The mad thing is, if the wall it was to be mounted on had a pitch to it, it would satisfy the Aico installation instructions as it would no longer be a wall. As soon as the surface becomes 100% vertical, albeit it is so high really it is the peak and no cooling can take place, or if it does only very slightly, it no longer complies. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, PeterW said:

English regs say 300mm down and you’re fine to wall mount. Pretty sure the Scottish regs are the same ..?

The regs are fine, it's the products! I am in compliance with BS5389 - but if the product says no, then I know I will be falling foul - on something like this I am sure the BCO will also know this and I don't want the question or debate. I just want to be able to comply while doing it my way so I can show him the evidence that it is conforming. 

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4 minutes ago, Carrerahill said:

Do you think what I am proposing is reasonable or do you think I am being silly?

 

Prior to reading to what I did, I thought your approach sounded reasonable. It is only having read the rules - and interpreting them literally - that personally I would try and comply with exactly what's written. This wouldn't be to (just) satisfy the regs/BC but more just for confidence that I've done everything I can to do things properly based on expertise of others that might not have not have necessarily been explained. All said and done though, I must admit that Aico not approving their heat alarms for wall mounting probably more has in mind conventional flat-ceiling rooms where I can see the obvious issue of it being outside where the heat will rise too (or at least be delayed in being within it). A single-sloped ceiling likes yours seems, in my mind at least, to likely make things different.

 

I don't think you've mentioned why mounting it on the ceiling wouldn't be acceptable to you? I think aesthetically it might look better? This could be down to me just being more used to seeing detectors on ceilings than walls.

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2 minutes ago, MJNewton said:

I don't think you've mentioned why mounting it on the ceiling wouldn't be acceptable to you? I think aesthetically it might look better? This could be down to me just being more used to seeing detectors on ceilings than walls.

 

The wall that it would mount to is nearly 3.8m up so it is well out of sight, the ceiling is totally void of anything, there is no lighting, nothing on it, the whole lighting is done by a single indirect light source which lights the whole kitchen. The plasterers knew that essentially the ceiling was going to be a big reflector and as such made an impeccably good job of it. To then site an alarm on it would stink - also, first fix is in and it's on the wall! To put it on the ceiling now I'd need to run it surface - so it gets even worse.

 

I think I may just have found one! A Kidde unit.

 

 

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17 minutes ago, Carrerahill said:

To then site an alarm on it would stink - also, first fix is in and it's on the wall! To put it on the ceiling now I'd need to run it surface - so it gets even worse.

 

Understood and, yes, I agree that the wall is sounding preferable!

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Just gone to replace some Kidde units. KF1 now the KF10, KF2 the KF20 and so on. Of course, not only have they changed the alarm but the base patress too! Love it when manufacturers do this. It'd be so easy to twist the old one off and unplug it. Then just plug in the old one. That'd be too easy. 

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