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Install a Fire Alarm Bell in 6 Easy Steps

By MSF MSF in  
July 20, 2019
Fire bell

All kinds of issues can lead to the activation of a fire alarm bell—rising smoke, ambient heat, and even water flow through the fire alarm system—but all bells ring to encourage safe and early evacuation by a building’s occupants, and proper placement is key. In this article, MS FireSystems shows you how to safely install a fire alarm bell in six easy steps.

Looking to shop for a new fire alarm bell instead? Click here to browse our selection of fire alarm bells and accessories.

Mount your fire alarm bell in six steps

Fire alarm bells are available in a range of brands, sizes, noise levels, and voltages. As such, these instructions may be slightly different for your bell. In this guide, we’ll show how this process works with one of our own 8-inch, 120 volt AC fire alarm bells. The bell we’re using features a mechanism with a simple 4-wire design sized for standard 2-gang electrical openings.

As with other electrical work, improper installation can damage equipment or harm the installer. Only qualified electricians should install a fire alarm bell.

If you’re ready to start mounting a fire alarm bell, you’ll need three things: a fire alarm bell, a Phillips-head screwdriver, and an adjustable wrench.

Step 1: Mount at the right height

Choose a mounting height for your fire alarm bell based on your manufacturer’s guidelines and ceiling height. Various installation guides recommend a mounting height of at least 8 feet (or 2.4 meters) from the floor and as close to the ceiling as possible.

Step 2: Remove the gong

Next, remove the red bowl, or gong, surrounding the inner parts of a fire alarm bell. Most bells have a short hex bolt or Phillips screw on the front of the bell near the gong’s center. Loosen the bolt and gently remove the gong.

Removing the bolt allows the fire alarm bell mechanism to be exposed.

Step 3: Wire the fire alarm bell

Next, shut off the power supply to the bell’s power source. Circuit breaker switches should be secured with appropriate lockout/tagout devices to stop other people from accidentally reenergizing the wires you’ll be working with.

Then, connect the wires in the fire alarm bell to the wires in the wall. These instructions will vary with the type of current used by the bell: alternating current (AC) fire alarm bells have different wiring schemes than direct current (DC) bells. This handy wiring guide is a suitable starting point for many 4-wire AC and DC alarm bells.

AC and DC fire alarm bells can both connect to fire alarm systems and other devices with only four wires.

Step 4: Mount the bell to the outlet box or back box

Mount your bell to a standard square outlet box or, better, a fire alarm bell back box. Unlike standard outlet boxes, back boxes protect your alarm bell’s wiring from dirt, dust, and debris. Wind and rain will quickly short the bell’s wiring if it isn’t properly protected, which makes back boxes especially critical if you’re mounting your alarm bell outside.

To install a fire alarm bell a back box, simply fasten the included bolts in the holes that align the bell’s housing unit with the back box. The back box’s gasket will form an air and water-tight seal.

Back box installation with a Phillips screwdriver.

Step 5: Reattach the gong

Reinstall the gong. There are two holes on the gong itself – make sure they align with the positioning pins on the bell’s housing unit and re-tighten the bolt you removed in Step 2.

Align the positioning pins to ensure proper installation.

Step 6: Test the bell

Finally, test the bells to ensure that they are correctly wired and sufficiently loud. Each bell must be audible in all areas.

Wondering where to mount an external alarm bell for your sprinkler system – or if you even need one? Check out this blog.

Fire alarm bells at MS Fire Systems

MS Fire Systems carries a complete line of 120-volt and 24-volt alarm bells in 6-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch sizes. Each bell is covered in a thick fire-engine-red enamel to prevent corrosion and resist weathering.

With a 10-inch gong, these fire alarm bells are large enough for use in commercial and residential applications.

Weather-proof, wire-protecting back boxes and durable gong-protecting wire guards are available for each fire alarm we sell.

Need more guidance on fire alarm bell mounting? Comment here, call us at +260 21 1244581 , or email us at sales@msfiresystems.com

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