by Will Mason
Many fire alarm companies have the required expertise to install a wired system, but have little or no experience when it comes to installing a wireless system.
When installing a wireless system the designer has to understand radio technology, the relevant wireless standards and how radio waves travel through different types of building materials. Furthermore, the designer and installer must have an in-depth knowledge of the equipment being used. A fire alarm company that does not specialise in wireless systems will not have the required experience and expertise to install a reliable system.
When obtaining a quote for a wireless system, it would be wise for the buyer to carry out due diligence and make sure the company is a specialist and not installing a one-off system.
Many companies that do not have the expertise will request the assistance from the equipment manufacture, such as Hyfire, EMS or Electro Detectors. These manufacturers will assist the installer to design the system, but the installer will have limited knowledge, and this will lead to an unreliable system and if faults should occur at a later date, the installer will not have the knowledge to rectify the issue. The buyer is usually left to find an alternative fire alarm company and have to foot the bill to rectify the issues left by the installer.
Fire Systems Ltd, is one of the few true specialist fire alarm companies when it comes to installing and maintaining wireless fire alarms and is now considered the leading fire alarm company in this field.
When deciding to install a wireless fire alarm system, many people, including consultants, are unaware of the technical difference between the design and installation of a wired, against that of a wireless fire system.
There is a misconception, that a fire alarm company, that is capable of installing a wired system, can, in fact, install a wireless system, and this is not the case. The two types of systems are completely different with different skills required.
Installation of a wired fire alarm is relatively straightforward, and many fire alarm installers and competent electricians can install basic wired systems. However, when it comes to the design and installation of a wireless system, it is a totally different ball game.
With wired systems, you can usually see the physical path that the cables have taken and can be sure that the data from the panel will get to the devices unless there is an issue with the cabling; however, with wireless fire alarms the data between the panel and the devices are connected using radio waves. Therefore, a good knowledge of how radio signals travel through different types of building materials is important.
For example, a radio wave will go through wood a lot easier than steel. Therefore, having design experience of installing wireless fire alarms is crucial.
When designing a new wireless system, a site visit is usually required, and a radio signal strength test is carried out. This will give the designer an idea of how the radio waves will travel throughout the building, and this will help you to ascertain how many radio boosters will be needed to obtain the required radio signal to all parts of the building where the wireless fire alarm equipment is to be installed.
In some cases due to lack of experience of the fire alarm company, the wireless fire alarm manufacture will attend site on behalf of the installer and carry out a radio integrity test. This is ok, but if issues occur during the installation, the fire alarm company will not have the expertise to resolve the issue and has to rely on the manufacture who will not always be available as they do not offer an engineers service.
In many cases the fire alarm company will have limited experience and knowledge installing wireless fire alarms and therefore, will request the help of the manufacturer. However, this can lead to problems later on if issues occur and the manufacture is not available to assist the fire alarm company.
Another important factor to consider is being familiar with the wireless equipment you are installing. Installing equipment you are not accustomed to will create problems as you will not know the equipment’s strengths and limitations.
Due to our extensive knowledge of wireless fire alarm equipment, we only use equipment that has been tried and tested by our own personnel. This allows us to supply and install the right type of system for different applications.
Therefore, make sure you choose a wireless fire alarm professional to design and install your wireless fire alarm system.
Source a Wireless Fire Alarm Specialist, Such as Fire Systems Ltd.
The best way to install a wireless fire alarm system is to use a company who has many years of experience, a proven track record and who have carried out many wireless fire alarm installations. Ask for references or to visit a couple of the sites, this will give you peace of mind
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