Common Questions About USI Smoke Alarms

How often should I replace my smoke alarms?

It's generally recommended that smoke alarms be replaced every ten years. Depending on their location and upkeep, smoke alarms can wear out over time. If you're unsure when a smoke alarm was installed or if you believe it's close to approaching its ten year end of life cycle, you should replace it immediately.

Where should I install smoke alarms?

Early detection of smoke, carbon monoxide, and natural gas is key to saving lives. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends installing a smoke alarm on every level of your home, including finished attics and basements. You are also encouraged to install a smoke detector inside every bedroom (or areas where people may sleep) and at the top of certain stairways.

Do I need four kinds of detectors or can one do it all?

You never know what kind of hazard will strike your home, or when. That's why we recommend technology that can detect carbon monoxide (CO) and natural gas as well as smoke and fire. You'll get the most protection from detectors that can quickly and accurately respond to a range of threats.

What are "nuisance alarms"? Why are they a concern?

A smoke alarm that goes off when there's no emergency is annoying. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), these "nuisance alarms" are the leading reason why homeowners intentionally disable their smoke detectors. A survey conducted by the NFPA found that smoke alarms sounded in only half of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments, and almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Why does my smoke alarm "chirp" approximately once every minute?

The smoke alarm chirps to indicate a "low battery" condition, meaning the battery needs to be replaced. Battery powered smoke alarms will chirp a minimum of 30 days before the battery completely loses power.

AC powered smoke alarms with battery backup will chirp indefinitely assuming AC power is present; if battery power is low, or battery is removed; until a fresh battery is installed. Approved replacement batteries are listed on the back of each smoke alarm and in the user's manual.

Certain model smoke alarms with a silence button (designed to silence the alarm during a nuisance alarm) may chirp to indicate the smoke alarm is in silence mode. The chirp will stop after approximately 8 minutes and the smoke alarm will return to its normal operation.

What is the total number of smoke alarms or devices I can interconnect?

Twenty-four. The NFPA 72 standard states the interconnect limit is 12 smoke alarms and up to 6 other alarms (heat or carbon monoxide) for a total of 18 alarms. With 18 alarms interconnected, up to additional 6 relay modules may be interconnected (for a maximum of 24 devices). If battery backup alarms and non-battery backup alarms and accessories are mixed in an interconnect system, all devices without battery backup WILL NOT operate during an AC power failure.

CAUTION: USI alarms and accessories should only be interconnected with other USI alarms and accessories. Connecting devices from another manufacturer to USI devices may result in nuisance alarms, failure to alarm, or damage to one or all of the devices in the interconnect system.

All interconnected USI alarms should be powered by the same fuse or circuit breaker. Smoke alarms shall not receive their power from a circuit that is protected by a ground fault circuit interrupter. Improper connection will result in damage to the alarm, failure to operate, or a shock hazard.

What is Ten Year Permanent Power?

USI Ten Year Sealed Battery Alarms include a combination of features exclusive to the USI brand. All USI Ten Year Sealed Battery Detectors include a 10 Year Dual Warranty that's applicable to both the alarm and battery. Overall peace of mind is bolstered to an even greater extent as all USI branded Ten Year Sealed Battery Alarms begin their protection cycle upon activation. Protection upon activation removes the guessing game usually associated with an alarm's longevity and performance. USI has also elected to utilize lithium free 10 year batteries that encourage an eco-friendly approach to the disposal process. Unlike alkaline and lithium powered alarms, USI 10 Year Sealed Battery Detectors can safely be disposed in an eco-conscious manner.

What is Universal Smoke Sensing Technology?

The National Fire Protection Association has recommended both ionization and photoelectric smoke alarm sensing technologies to be used in the home for optimum response to both fast flaming and slow smoldering fires. New Universal Smoke Sensing Technology alarms have been tested to respond to both of these types of fires faster than normal ionization or photoelectric alarms. Responding 87% faster to slow-smoldering fires than a traditionally constructed alarm, Universal Smoke Sensing Alarms are the fastest available alarms in today's market in registering and alerting owners to fast-flaming fires. This smoke alarm is further bolstered by a ten year battery that offers an additional decade of uninterrupted protection. Learn More >

What are new Sensing Plus® Smoke Alarms?

Universal Security Sensing Plus® Smoke Alarms include the latest smoke and fire safety enhancement features while conforming to the new UL 217 8th Edition. Complying with this new UL standard set to be introduced, Security Sensing Plus® Smoke Alarms are being designed to quickly identify the presence of smoke and fire without triggering nuisance alarms brought on by everyday cooking smoke and steam. By utilizing multi criteria smoke and fire sensors, this selection of AI powered smoke detectors can differentiate and respond to both fast flaming and slow smoldering fires (includes polyurethane fires that tend to burn quicker). Combine this with a built-in microprocessor that removes virtually all false alarms caused by cooking and you'll have access to a highly intelligent smoke detector that will alert you to actual threats. Learn More >

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