There are several factors that determine the ultimate lifespan of a rechargeable battery. The definition above presents one of the most important of those factors: number of charge/discharge cycles, also referred to as “cycle fade.” The fact is, no one can tell you how many times your fire alarm batteries will discharge and then be charged over the course of time. If your facility is located in an area that rarely sees power outages, if the power grid also rarely sees high-voltage spikes and other anomalies, then your batteries will last longer than those that reside in geographic areas where storms and other factors adversely affect quality of power to the fire alarm panel.
Another factor involved in the lifespan of your fire alarm batteries is called calendar fade: “Battery performance deteriorates over time whether the battery is used or not. This is known as ‘calendar fade’.” Calendar fade and cycle fade are entirely different in that calendar fade also pertains to batteries that are not in use.
Trickle life is “The service life of a battery is in the trickle use. Usually, the trickle life is the time expressed in years before the dischargeable time of the battery decreases to a half of the initial value.”
One way you can help prolong your fire alarm batteries is to make sure the fire alarm panel is located in a well ventilated room where the temperature remains low enough to sustain operation of the batteries for as long as possible. In a word, heat kills rechargeable fire alarm batteries, and it’s certainly not good for the operation and longevity of fire alarm panels either. The other way to assure battery operability is to have your alarm systems inspected once a year.
To assure continued operability of your fire alarm system, national fire code requires that your batteries be inspected and tested according to Table 22.214.171.124 as contained in NFPA 72, 2013 Edition. As you can see by the table shown at the end of this article, code calls for this annually for some and semiannually for others. You need to inquire of your fire alarm company as to which battery type you have in your fire and security alarm systems so you can assure that inspection and testing occurs as prescribed as the ultimate responsibility for this lies with you, not your fire alarm company (see “Whose Responsibility is it to Notify Me About Fire Alarm Inspections?” viewable at http://bit.ly/1G01Q6J).
Whether ESC installed your fire, camera, access control, or security system when it was new, we stand ready to assist you today! ESC is a full service fire and security company. We carry MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) certification by the State of Ohio, and all our technicians are trained and certified by the State of Ohio as well as all relevant equipment manufacturers. Please call us at 614-754-1393, email us at email@example.com, or use our Contact Us utilities to outline your situation and ask for help. Go to: http://bit.ly/1Araqbu.
John Larkin, ESC Senior Partner