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11 tips on smoke detectors for Condominium owners' association

Uniform and good quality smoke detectors help condominium associations with installation and maintenance.

15 November 2021 Fire Safety

Smoke detector for condominium owners' association

Smoke detectors should be in every flat by now. Uniform and good quality smoke detectors help condominium owners' associations (WEG) with the installation and regular maintenance of smoke detectors. When replacing or installing new smoke detectors, the question arises as to which smoke detector to choose. The smoke detector market offers a large selection. We give you 11 tips on what to look out for when selecting, installing and maintaining smoke detectors.

1. Quality and reliability of smoke detectors

The most important criterion is DIN EN 14604, which must be met by all smoke detectors intended for flats, residential buildings, accommodation establishments and companies. It regulates in detail the requirements, test procedures and performance criteria for smoke detectors. In combination with DIN EN 14604, the application standard DIN 14676 applies, specifying installation, operation and maintenance. Both standards must be observed during purchase and installation.

2. Volume of a smoke detector

The beeping of smoke detectors must penetrate doors, thick walls and reinforced concrete ceilings. To ensure this, they are designed for a minimum volume of 85 decibels (db A). This is required by DIN EN 14604. During initial installation, condominium owners' associations should carry out a loudness test or, better still, have it carried out by the fire protection company carrying out the work. If the required volume is not reached at a distance of three metres, the detector is no good.

3. Installation of smoke detectors

DIN EN 14676 requires a permanent fastening. Sticking them to the ceiling is generally not sufficient for this. The smoke detectors can fall down. It is better to screw and dowel the smoke detectors on. Smoke detectors with several drill hole options in the base plate can save re-drilling when replacing detectors. Detectors with adhesive mounts only can be dispensed with.

4. Smoke detector with or without radio

In larger homeowners' associations, radio-networked smoke detectors are advantageous. As soon as a smoke detector detects smoke, all of them automatically sound the alarm. All residents and staff are warned.  Furthermore, a smoke detector on the top landing can additionally monitor the escape and rescue route. In addition, smoke detectors in just one area can be networked together to form a group. Networked smoke detectors are more expensive to purchase and install than non-networked individual devices, but they offer extra safety. When buying, you should also pay attention to the expandability of the system. Installation and reading into an alarm centre is no problem for a specialist company like CWS Fire Safety. If a fire protection concept exists for a building, radio networked smoke detectors may already be included.

5. Interoperability and remote inspection of smoke detectors

With an eye to the future, pay attention to whether the smoke detector is equipped with the manufacturer-independent Open Metering System (OMS) standard. OMS detectors can be operated interoperably together with other building technology OMS systems of the housing industry. The wireless transmission of (measurement) data takes place via OMS, just like via the automated KNX building bus system. A practical feature of OMS detectors is that they are read out by radio and inspection is carried out remotely in accordance with DIN EN 14676-1. In our experience, OMS smoke detectors are particularly suitable for larger homeowners' associations.

6. Optical and thermal detection with dual detectors

In larger condominium associations and businesses, it is worth considering the use of so-called dual detectors. They combine optical and thermal detection. Their optical sensor detects fire smoke. The thermal sensor registers increased room temperatures, which spread quickly in case of fire. Both criteria also trigger an alarm individually - a plus in safety. Dual detectors are available both as individual solutions and as radio-networked variants.

7. Contamination compensation for smoke detectors

Dust, insects and steam can impair the optical sensors of smoke detectors. To counteract this, there are smoke detectors whose response sensitivity adjusts to the degree of soiling.

8. Smoke detector design

Smoke alarms should be as inconspicuous as possible. That is why many people want small smoke alarms. But they should not be too puny either. A good size is about the size of a hand. This leaves enough space for a circumferential smoke inlet that guarantees good smoke detection. A small, punctual opening makes smoke detection more difficult.

9. Muting of smoke detectors

False alarms are annoying. Especially when the smoke alarm continues to beep deafeningly. To stop this, smoke alarms have a mute function. It is operated via the so-called test button on the underside of the smoke alarm. The test button should be large enough that it can easily be pressed from below with a broomstick, umbrella or walking stick without the help of a specialist so that the smoke detector sets the alarm.

10 Smoke detector battery

Ten-year detectors promise that their power supply will work during this time without battery replacement - not all makes manage this. Simple smoke detectors need a new battery at shorter intervals. If the maintenance of the smoke detectors is in the hands of a competent customer service such as that of CWS Fire Safety, they will make sure that the batteries are replaced.

11. Maintenance of smoke detectors

The state building codes prescribe the annual testing and maintenance of smoke alarms. Depending on the federal state, the property owners or the users are responsible for this. The task should be entrusted to a reliable specialist company such as CWS Fire Safety. We comply with all specifications. This means that flat owners are on the safe side.

Do you still have questions about smoke detectors?

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