Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
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Thread: Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

  1. #1
    Senior Member m3s's Avatar
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    Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

    Smoke Alarm Facts

    One out of five homes that have a smoke alarm are not actually functional due to dead, missing or disconnected batteries (NFPA)

    Nearly half of the nation's fire deaths occur in the four percent of homes that do not have smoke alarms (NFPA)

    The risk of dying in homes without smoke alarms is twice as high as it is in homes that have working smoke alarms. (Consumer Product Safety Commission)

    source

    Soo I was checking my hardwired smoke alarms today and discovered they are all clearly marked "Replace in 2016" Oops. They are also marked to dust/vacuum monthly. Oops again! They were manufactured in 2007 and activated in 2008 so technically haven't hit the 10 year expiration mark yet. Regardless it is time to find some replacements. I'm finding that with new technology and codes, you may want to consider replacing yours as well

    The vast majority of homes only have 1 type of smoke detector while today there are new multi-sensor devices available that are far more reliable.

    Ionization detectors - Better at detecting fast flaming fires – a flaming fire devours combustibles quickly, spreads rapidly and generates considerable heat with little smoke. More sensitive and often get unplugged due to many false alarms

    Photoelectric detectors – Better at detecting slow smoldering fires – A smoldering fire generates large amounts of thick, black smoke with little heat and may smolder for hours before bursting into flames.

    Dual ionization and photoelectric - One device that can detect both smouldering and fast flaming fires faster. If you only have the 1 type of detector, you risk losing a lot of precious time to react or escape

    Intelligent combo detectors - combines 2 or more sensors so that when any sensor detects a potential hazard they communicate with other sensors to adjust sensitivity to avoid nuisance alarms

    Interconnection:

    When one alarm trips they all sound. Some codes now mandate this is in new builds. If you are asleep you may not hear an alarm from the other side of the house unless they are interconnected. New codes also call for an alarm in the bedrooms

    Power source options:

    Hardwired 120v - This is apparently code now including battery backup in new builds

    9V battery backup - Least reliable, needs to be checked annually

    AA battery backup - More efficient detectors, still needs to be checked

    Lithium battery - Newest and lasts for the life of the detector (they expire after 10 years)

    Costco seems to have the best deal I can find online. You get about 3 top of the line detectors for the price of 2 elsewhere. Not having to file a receipt for 10 years is also handy.

    Smart detectors:

    Many new options coming that combine even more sensors into 1 device and integrate into home automation. This will not only improve detection but be able to turn on lights, notify devices and emergencies services etc. Reading the reviews I think this technology is still maturing but the potential is there


    amat victoria curam

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    Check out aartech.ca. I found them to be cheaper than Costco. That's where I got mine. Shipping was free and delivered the next day - was really impressed!

    I just replaced mine, about a month ago - even though still functional. They were all way past due. I opted for the photoelectric detectors since the study says smoke will kill you before a fire does. I also had too many false alarms with the old ionization ones. I could of opted for the dual but my research concluded that those ones often fail. As a bonus, the new detectors also have a battery back-up.

    My detectors are all interconnected except for one which is connected directly to my house alarm - which I also replaced.

    And lastly, I replaced my LP/Natural gas detector. This one was expensive since it is also connected to my house alarm - turned out the old one was no longer functioning! Not many models to choose from either.

    What's important is everyone checks their systems to ensure they are 1- functional and 2- not expired.

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    Another tip if you're wiring your own house/addition.

    Some people put the hardwired smoke alarms on their own dedicated circuit. That's a NO NO. You might be tempted to shutoff the breaker due to false alarms and forget about it.

    Wire them on a shared circuit, like the hallway lights so if the breaker is off you'll know it.

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    Senior Member m3s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mortgage u/w View Post
    Check out aartech.ca. I found them to be cheaper than Costco. That's where I got mine. Shipping was free and delivered the next day - was really impressed!
    Thanks. I also came across their site when searching for home automation but didn't realize they sold detectors. They sell First Alert but their prices seem to be +/- $5 of firstalertstore.ca right now who also sells on amazon

    My current alarms are all ionization and while I don't recall any false alarm in the kitchen or even in the garage it seems that photoelectric is the new standard, and more enviro friendly than radioactive material

    The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) is the largest firefighters union in the US and Canada with nearly 300,000 members. In 2008, the IAFF adopted an official position recommending that only photoelectric smoke alarms be installed. The IAFF position also commits the organization to working for changes in the law and model codes to require photoelectric technology alarms. Further, the IAFF position specifically states that combination type alarms are not acceptable.
    source

    After reading the IAFF's stance on dual alarms they sound like a bad idea. I imagine it's the same for these new smart detectors. The technology just isn't mature enough to trust yet as testing standards and codes need to be updated

    Then there's the garage. I've read that some states mandate interconnected heat detectors in attached garages. Makes sense to me with all the combustable material in there. The only heat detector I can find in Canada is Kidde and it's AC hardwired..

    My current detectors do seem to be interconnected but they don't have battery backups. That seems like a horrible idea as you're more likely to light a candle inside when the power is out etc. Definitely time to upgrade
    amat victoria curam

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    Senior Member m3s's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotnet_nerd View Post
    Another tip if you're wiring your own house/addition.

    Some people put the hardwired smoke alarms on their own dedicated circuit. That's a NO NO. You might be tempted to shutoff the breaker due to false alarms and forget about it.

    Wire them on a shared circuit, like the hallway lights so if the breaker is off you'll know it.
    That's a good point and I may have to add a hardwired box into the garage ceiling. I was wondering if I could just tap into the nearby light from the attic. I may be capable of doing this myself but I'm not sure if it's legal to do myself..
    amat victoria curam

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    Quote Originally Posted by dotnet_nerd View Post
    Another tip if you're wiring your own house/addition.

    Some people put the hardwired smoke alarms on their own dedicated circuit. That's a NO NO. You might be tempted to shutoff the breaker due to false alarms and forget about it.

    Wire them on a shared circuit, like the hallway lights so if the breaker is off you'll know it.
    Not only a no no but I do believe it is against code as well. It absolutely has to be tied in with a lighting/outlet circuit.

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    I got last year a photoelectric one that has a battery good for 10 years. I did move it a little away from kitchen and I have less false alarms compared to ionization one I had.

    My house is not wired for smoke alarms and since it's a older build in Quebec, seems like I don't have to wire it.

  9. #8
    Senior Member m3s's Avatar
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    Soo the Costco 3 pack are ionization detectors.. aartech.ca and amazon.ca have similar deals on photoelectric so I'll go with amazon

    I came across a better video of how Nest Protect actually works. They advanced photoelectric to sense more range of particles like commercial detectors do. The fact that they sell 1 model with all available features and go beyond standards makes me feel like the traditional companies are just making dozens of compromised models for the sake of maximizing their profits - not one of their models have all features for no good reason other than marketing.. They just recommend you buy more of their devices



    Over the next few years I think there will be a new standard for theses smart detectors. There's several interesting devices in the works
    amat victoria curam

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    Senior Member humble_pie's Avatar
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    what great info, thankx

    i have to replace so the timing is good. I didn't know about photoelectric.

    what's not great in my view, is this idea of the wired smart home. We going to have doors that lock on remote command? windows & blinds that close or lock, furnaces & air conditioning that turn themselves on or off on remote, lights that can be dimmed, even frigos with sensors that will send lists of food that needs to be replenished to the grocery store?

    idk sounds inhuman to me. Everything could be reversed by a mad dictator gummint able to hack the system, into a house prison. What if it's july & there's a heat wave & the system breaks down & no air conditioning & all the windows are locked shut. Dang even the doors are locked shut.

    my ideal dwelling is a small log cabin on a mountainside. No electricity, not even a generator. A cast iron wood-burning stove. A cold stream running nearby where a bottle of milk can be submerged to keep cold. Wild raspberries & blackberries. Wild roses. A view across the valleys all the way to jay peak in vermont. Heaven on earth.

    .
    Last edited by humble_pie; 2017-03-14 at 08:04 PM.

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    Senior Member m3s's Avatar
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    My grandmother cooked on a cast iron wood burning stove year round. I highly doubt she had carbon monoxide detector anywhere in the house. I would love to be off the grid but I might as well bring a decent smoke/CO detector with a 10 year battery with me.

    If Trump farted in public today I'd get instant notifications but if half my networth went up in flames I'd hear nada. Say you left a burner on and went to walk the dog, a smart device could warn you before an alarm would even be tripped. Even when I'm home my house is empty half the day and then I'm away half the year. I've had a thermostat fail and a pipe leak while I was home but if I was away both would have been disasters.

    I also think it's too early for commercial smart things right now. When the US military first connected its computers, a teenager in Australia easily got full access. No modern military would go back to paper today. Cyber ops is still in major development

    Last edited by m3s; 2017-03-15 at 11:01 AM.
    amat victoria curam

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