American Alarms Blog

Give your batteries some love, once in a while.

by Adam Jacobs 10/19/2021

Electronic systems usually have backup batteries that take over powering the system when your primary (120VAC) power fails.  This time of year we see it regularly.  When big thunderstorms come through Iowa, the wind and lightning can take out lines, power transformers or even entire substations.  Fire alarm panels are required by code to have enough battery power to run the system in standby for 24 hours and then provide 5 minutes of alarm after that.  If you are having your fire alarm system tested every year, your fire alarm company should be testing the batteries and checking their dates every year.  Most rechargeable sealed lead acid batteries (the kind used for alarm systems) will last 3-5 years.  One of the things that can shorten the life of these batteries is HEAT.  If the panel is in a room that is not air conditioned, the batteries may only last a year or less.  See the picture attached for an example of batteries that got over-heated.  Now these happened to be over-charged by a charger that had been damaged by lightning.  But when batteries are overheated, either by their charger or by the environment, they will gradually bulge and may even burst.  This is because the gel inside the batteries produces gases when overheated that can't get out fast enough.  

Since it's fire prevention month, it's a great time check your fire alarm batteries or have a qualified fire alarm company do it for you.

 

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