Smoke detectors

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crypto11
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Smoke detectors

Post by crypto11 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am

I have a couple of questions about maintenance of smoke detectors and would appreciate some help.
This is for hardwired smoke detectors (powered by electricity).

1. How do you go about changing the backup batteries for a smoke detector in a room when it is located 12 feet high? Is there any gadget/tool to help you change the battery without climbing on some ladder? I cant climb that high and need to call a handyman every time i need to replace a battery.

2. How often do you change the battery? I think most people say every year but i dont understand why. This is for a wired detector that has a backup battery. The 9V backup battery should be drained/used only when the power is out (correct?) so why does it need to be replaced every year when it should have been hardly used ? I changed one such battery 2 years ago and used the best 9V battery I could find, with extra power and durability and still it started chirping to replace the battery after 1.5 years. So frustrating.

3. Have you tried these new 10 year "battery sealed" wired smoke detectors ? Do the batteries last really 10 years before a replacement is needed? I saw an open box on home depot for such detector and it has a regular 9V battery in it. I thought it would be some sort of special battery but is was a regular 9V battery, so how does it last 10 years?

Valuethinker
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by Valuethinker » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:31 am

crypto11 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am
I have a couple of questions about maintenance of smoke detectors and would appreciate some help.
This is for hardwired smoke detectors (powered by electricity).

1. How do you go about changing the backup batteries for a smoke detector in a room when it is located 12 feet high? Is there any gadget/tool to help you change the battery without climbing on some ladder? I cant climb that high and need to call a handyman every time i need to replace a battery.

2. How often do you change the battery? I think most people say every year but i dont understand why. This is for a wired detector that has a backup battery. The 9V backup battery should be drained/used only when the power is out (correct?) so why does it need to be replaced every year when it should have been hardly used ? I changed one such battery 2 years ago and used the best 9V battery I could find, with extra power and durability and still it started chirping to replace the battery after 1.5 years. So frustrating.

3. Have you tried these new 10 year "battery sealed" wired smoke detectors ? Do the batteries last really 10 years before a replacement is needed? I saw an open box on home depot for such detector and it has a regular 9V battery in it. I thought it would be some sort of special battery but is was a regular 9V battery, so how does it last 10 years?
Batteries deteriorate even if not used. Over to the (many) experts here.

I would use lithium batteries when you replace. They are more expensive but do last a lot longer (5 years in we have never changed one).

mortfree
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by mortfree » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:53 am

Most (if not all) smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years.

After ten years the smoke detector will start to beep so you know it is time to replace it. Same for CO detectors having an End of Life beep.

I change the batteries in the hardwire detectors every 2 years or if it starts beeping.

fru-gal
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by fru-gal » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:07 am

I just bought Duracell guaranteed for five years batteries, so that is my plan. I struggle to get the battery compartment open each time, plus doing it while standing on a ladder; they seem to have been designed by the Devil.

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TexasPE
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by TexasPE » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:13 am

I bought a platform ladder (something like this)

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Werner-8-ft-Fi ... 1000075179

that works for me - it gives me a stable working platform to change smoke detector batteries, work on ceiling fans, etc.
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HueyLD
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by HueyLD » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:23 am

TexasPE wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:13 am
I bought a platform ladder (something like this)

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Werner-8-ft-Fi ... 1000075179

that works for me - it gives me a stable working platform to change smoke detector batteries, work on ceiling fans, etc.
So, is it safe to stand on the top (black) platform?

How heavy is the ladder to carry around?

What if one is shorter than 5 ft 6 inches?

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:25 am

mortfree wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:53 am
Most (if not all) smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years.

After ten years the smoke detector will start to beep so you know it is time to replace it. Same for CO detectors having an End of Life beep.

I change the batteries in the hardwire detectors every 2 years or if it starts beeping.
This is very important. ALL smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years.

All CO detectors should be replaced every 10 years, or less, when it's end-of-life- indicator beeps.


Smoke detectors that have a battery backup are connected by wire so that when one goes off, they all go off. I replaced every one in my house in 2016, at 10 years. I used this one - First Alert 3120B smoke detector. It has several advantages:

- it is both photoelectric and ionization. That is superior to only have one or the other type, as most are single detection.
- it uses two AA batteries. These are cheaper than 9volt. They have not beeped since installation nearly 3 years ago.
Last edited by RickBoglehead on Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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lazydavid
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by lazydavid » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:26 am

I use Nest Protects throughout my house. Some are hardwired with battery backup, others are battery powered. The oldest one is 6 years old, and other than when I moved and took them with me, I've never had to touch any one of them. I expect the sensors to start failing their daily self-tests in a couple of years, at which point I'll replace the entire unit.

Edit: Just checked my account, and they actually have replacement dates listed for each one. My first one needing replacement will be the one in the upstairs hallway, on November 24th of next year. The newest one is in the kitchen, and will be due on Jan 12, 2022.
Last edited by lazydavid on Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

prd1982
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by prd1982 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:27 am

As someone previously indicated, smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years. When I last changed mine, I put in lithium batteries designed to last 10 years as well. The problem was that I had to replace the wiring harnesses as well as the detectors. It is unfortunate that the harness and frame are not standardized. Changing just the detector every 10 years would be fairly simple.

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JoeRetire
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by JoeRetire » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:01 am

crypto11 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am
1. How do you go about changing the backup batteries for a smoke detector in a room when it is located 12 feet high? Is there any gadget/tool to help you change the battery without climbing on some ladder? I cant climb that high and need to call a handyman every time i need to replace a battery.
There's no magic gadget that I'm aware of.
Either you, or someone else must climb a ladder when the batteries need replacing. That's what I do.
2. How often do you change the battery? I think most people say every year but i dont understand why. This is for a wired detector that has a backup battery. The 9V backup battery should be drained/used only when the power is out (correct?) so why does it need to be replaced every year when it should have been hardly used ? I changed one such battery 2 years ago and used the best 9V battery I could find, with extra power and durability and still it started chirping to replace the battery after 1.5 years. So frustrating.
Changing them annually is a conservative way to ensure that the batteries always work.

I find it better to do it on a planned date each year, rather than being woken up in the middle of the night trying to find which device is chirping and then dragging out the ladder while half asleep.

You can choose to tolerate the lack of sleep if you wish.
3. Have you tried these new 10 year "battery sealed" wired smoke detectors ? Do the batteries last really 10 years before a replacement is needed? I saw an open box on home depot for such detector and it has a regular 9V battery in it. I thought it would be some sort of special battery but is was a regular 9V battery, so how does it last 10 years?
No, haven't tried them.
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TexasPE
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by TexasPE » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:22 am

TexasPE wrote: ↑Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:13 am
I bought a platform ladder (something like this)

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Werner-8-ft-Fi ... 1000075179

that works for me - it gives me a stable working platform to change smoke detector batteries, work on ceiling fans, etc.
So, is it safe to stand on the top (black) platform? Yes, that's why it is called a PLATFORM ladder

How heavy is the ladder to carry around?33 lb per the link

What if one is shorter than 5 ft 6 inches?
Get a taller ladder, stretch or get a taller person to do the work :oops:
At 20: I cared what everyone thought about me | At 40: I didn't give a damn what anyone thought of me | Now that I'm 60: I realize that no one was really thinking about me at all | Winston Churchill (?)

prd1982
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by prd1982 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:31 am

crypto11 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am

3. Have you tried these new 10 year "battery sealed" wired smoke detectors ? Do the batteries last really 10 years before a replacement is needed? I saw an open box on home depot for such detector and it has a regular 9V battery in it. I thought it would be some sort of special battery but is was a regular 9V battery, so how does it last 10 years?
How did you see the sealed battery? I'm thinking the open box had a regular battery backup which needed to be replaced. To me the problem is that the sealed battery ones MUST be replaced after 10 years, and start chirping at end of life.

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HueyLD
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by HueyLD » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:45 am

TexasPE,

If a short person gets a taller ladder, then it may be too heavy for that person to even carry it.

And stretching can be hazardous to one's life.

Moreover, getting a taller person to do the work may require a service call and $100.

I have a better way of handling the height, but I won't tell you what it is.

Cactuscoug
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by Cactuscoug » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:51 am

. . . and, when the batteries fail, why is is always at 3:00 in the morning??

Every community is different, but here, the fire department will come over and change batteries. Cost? A plate of cookies.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:55 am

prd1982 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:31 am
crypto11 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am

3. Have you tried these new 10 year "battery sealed" wired smoke detectors ? Do the batteries last really 10 years before a replacement is needed? I saw an open box on home depot for such detector and it has a regular 9V battery in it. I thought it would be some sort of special battery but is was a regular 9V battery, so how does it last 10 years?
How did you see the sealed battery? I'm thinking the open box had a regular battery backup which needed to be replaced. To me the problem is that the sealed battery ones MUST be replaced after 10 years, and start chirping at end of life.
All smoke detectors should be removed and replaced every ten years.

FEMA - https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/ou ... larms.html
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

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lthenderson
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by lthenderson » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:01 am

You can now get "smart" smoke and carbon dioxide detectors that can test themselves regularly and send you a message via the phone app when you need to replace the batteries. This way you don't need to do it as often as the once a year suggestion. This also prevents you from getting the 3 a.m. chirping wake up call by one with a dead battery.

P.S. By getting new detectors, you can also place them in areas more accessible.

jerryk68
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by jerryk68 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:02 am

As stated previously, smoke detectors should be changed out every 10 years. The manufacture date is usually stamped on the inside of the detector. Don’t want to get too techie as I am not an expert but there are different types of detectors that detect different types of fires. I understand there are now comp detectors. I learned this while working in a hardware store many years ago. Maybe things have changed, I look forward to the experts here for their advanced knowledge on the different types.

Without fail every year someone dies in my town as a result of no detector or with a battery issue with a detector. Detectors can be purchased for around $10 to $15 including the battery which is a very cheap potential life saving device. I always change out the battery every year during fire prevention week. I also date stamp the replacement battery as a personal test to see if I missed one in the prior year. I have eight detectors throughout my small three bedroom house with one inside every bedroom as some people close their bedroom doors at night. I also have a small fire extinguisher on every floor of the house. Yeah, I know, I may be over reacting but a family member's life is worth more than a couple bucks.

Ryebrook
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by Ryebrook » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:33 am

I would recommend replacing your alarms every 10 years.

Purchase photoelectric alarms instead of ionization. The technology is better at detecting slow, smoldering fires, which fit the bill of the majority of fires. Ionization technology results in many more false alarms and will be obsolete in it's current form as of May 29, 2020. The UL standard (217) for smoke alarms is changing and no current ionization alarm will pass the new testing protocols being put in place.

You don't need to buy a Nest but buy the best alarm that you can afford. You get your money's worth on these products. Read reviews and make an informed decision. If you don't need the "smart" functionality, one of the more reliable brands that I have used in the past are Gentex.

I would not trust the 10-year sealed batteries as the battery companies themselves do not stand behind the claims. Duracell and Energizer have both put out white papers against the technology.

prd1982
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by prd1982 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:36 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:55 am

All smoke detectors should be removed and replaced every ten years.

FEMA - https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/ou ... larms.html
Rick, I agree. However, there is a big difference between replacing around 10 years, and exactly after 10 years. I have 8 smoke detectors (I think). if they all start chirping at approximately the same time, I would have to run around disconnecting all the smoke detectors, run to a store to find new ones, and install within a day or two. I can how that might end up with disconnected fire detectors for a while.

The strategy I used was to replace one carbon monoxide detector, which plugs into the wall and expires in 10 years. I replaced my other carbon monoxide detector and the fire detectors a month later. I hoping when reminded to replace the 1 carbon monoxide detector it will give me time to place to replace the others. I plan to replace the fire detector in 10 years, but don't want them all chirping. Will know how this works in about 8 years, I hope.

On a slightly different topic -- is the 10 years from date of manufacture, or the date installed? I'm assuming the clock starts when you power on the detector and activate the battery. I saw one comment in this thread talking about date of manufacture.

Finally, I'm guessing will become a moot point in the next couple of years, and all detectors will be battery sealed with expiration dates.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by RickBoglehead » Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:49 am

prd1982 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:36 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:55 am

All smoke detectors should be removed and replaced every ten years.

FEMA - https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/ou ... larms.html
Rick, I agree. However, there is a big difference between replacing around 10 years, and exactly after 10 years. I have 8 smoke detectors (I think). if they all start chirping at approximately the same time, I would have to run around disconnecting all the smoke detectors, run to a store to find new ones, and install within a day or two. I can how that might end up with disconnected fire detectors for a while.

The strategy I used was to replace one carbon monoxide detector, which plugs into the wall and expires in 10 years. I replaced my other carbon monoxide detector and the fire detectors a month later. I hoping when reminded to replace the 1 carbon monoxide detector it will give me time to place to replace the others. I plan to replace the fire detector in 10 years, but don't want them all chirping. Will know how this works in about 8 years, I hope.

On a slightly different topic -- is the 10 years from date of manufacture, or the date installed? I'm assuming the clock starts when you power on the detector and activate the battery. I saw one comment in this thread talking about date of manufacture.

Finally, I'm guessing will become a moot point in the next couple of years, and all detectors will be battery sealed with expiration dates.
Modern smoke and CO detectors are obsolete from date installed, not date manufactured.

Older CO detectors in particular MAY be obsolete from date manufactured because the sensor was not sealed properly.
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lazydavid
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by lazydavid » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:31 am

jerryk68 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:02 am
I have eight detectors throughout my small three bedroom house with one inside every bedroom as some people close their bedroom doors at night. I also have a small fire extinguisher on every floor of the house. Yeah, I know, I may be over reacting but a family member's life is worth more than a couple bucks.
This. I have 8 detectors as well, including in three of the five bedrooms. The other two are: an office where the door is almost always open, and a basement bedroom that's been slept in for less than 10 nights since we moved in 5 years ago. Both still have one in the adjacent space (hallway for the office, main basement area for the other), and then we have one in the kitchen and one in the dining room as well.

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Noble Knight
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by Noble Knight » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:46 am

Cactuscoug wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:51 am
. . . and, when the batteries fail, why is is always at 3:00 in the morning??
It has to do with colder temperatures, it's likely the time at your house when it's cold enough to trigger it.

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Phineas J. Whoopee
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:04 pm

2. I replace the nine-volt battery twice a year, just like the local fire department recommends. That means the battery still works when I replace it. Around here I can get them at retail for two dollars. Every month I push the battery check button to be sure it beeps.

I see no point in messing around with fire safety to save at most an annual four dollars.

PJW

miamivice
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by miamivice » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:47 pm

crypto11 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am
I have a couple of questions about maintenance of smoke detectors and would appreciate some help.
This is for hardwired smoke detectors (powered by electricity).

1. How do you go about changing the backup batteries for a smoke detector in a room when it is located 12 feet high? Is there any gadget/tool to help you change the battery without climbing on some ladder? I cant climb that high and need to call a handyman every time i need to replace a battery.

2. How often do you change the battery? I think most people say every year but i dont understand why. This is for a wired detector that has a backup battery. The 9V backup battery should be drained/used only when the power is out (correct?) so why does it need to be replaced every year when it should have been hardly used ? I changed one such battery 2 years ago and used the best 9V battery I could find, with extra power and durability and still it started chirping to replace the battery after 1.5 years. So frustrating.

3. Have you tried these new 10 year "battery sealed" wired smoke detectors ? Do the batteries last really 10 years before a replacement is needed? I saw an open box on home depot for such detector and it has a regular 9V battery in it. I thought it would be some sort of special battery but is was a regular 9V battery, so how does it last 10 years?
To reply to your question about batteries, I think the "change the smoke detector battery every year" is a holdover from the era of non-hardwire smoke detectors. First of all, the power normally doesn't go out when something catches fire in your house (at least right away) so a failed battery isn't a automatic crisis in a hardwired smoke detector. Second, yes, they only consume power when the battery is out. The ones in my house lasted about 5 - 6 years.

I only change the batteries when they chirp.

As a general comment, after 13 years, my smoke detectors started giving false indications, causing the entire house to go off. This was incredibily irritating. About the same time, my wife decided that she would sleep better at night if we have CO2 alarms as well.

I went out and purchased a complete set of combination CO2 and smoke detectors and replaced all of the ones in our house. The new ones looked just like the old ones, and cost me about $200 out of pocket. I'm happy we have done it and no more false alarms.

miamivice
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by miamivice » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:50 pm

prd1982 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:27 am
As someone previously indicated, smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years. When I last changed mine, I put in lithium batteries designed to last 10 years as well. The problem was that I had to replace the wiring harnesses as well as the detectors. It is unfortunate that the harness and frame are not standardized. Changing just the detector every 10 years would be fairly simple.
While I agree it would be easier if the frames and harnesses were standardized, I just changed out 8 smoke detectors in my house (frames, harnesses, and detectors) and it was an awfully simple project to do.

TLC1957
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by TLC1957 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:24 pm

As a retired insurance loss prevention engineer for the best protection, it is recommended both (ionization and photoelectric) technologies be used in homes. In addition to individual ionization and photoelectric alarms, combination alarms that include both technologies in a single device are available.

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/B ... toelectric

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/B ... oke-alarms

adamthesmythe
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by adamthesmythe » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:38 pm

1. You gotta buy a ladder or persuade someone else to change the battery. For a while I would ask the guy who checks the furnace in the attic. After a while I bought a ladder. Useful for other purposes also.

2. When the battery gets low the smoke detector starts beeping. Even if it's a wired smoke detector. REALLY annoying if it happens in the middle of the night.

3. No.

prd1982
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by prd1982 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:52 pm

As for 10 year batteries --

California requires that all new battery-powered smoke detectors used sealed batteries that last for 10 years. If CA is ok with them, then so am I.

mrc
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by mrc » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:43 pm

TLC1957 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:24 pm
As a retired insurance loss prevention engineer for the best protection, it is recommended both (ionization and photoelectric) technologies be used in homes. In addition to individual ionization and photoelectric alarms, combination alarms that include both technologies in a single device are available.

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/B ... toelectric

https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/B ... oke-alarms
That's what I did as well, side-by-side ion and photo detectors, radio linked to each other on three levels. Because if something smoulders in the basement, we'd never hear the alarm on the second floor. We have a pair in the upstairs hall and in the master bedroom b/c we tend to keep the door shut. Small price to pay for piece of mind.

It won't be too long until you'll only be able to buy 10-year sealed units without the ability to swap out the battery. I do wonder how many people will just ignore and not replace these units.
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mortfree
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by mortfree » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:53 pm

CO alarms - Carbon Monoxide

CO2 - Carbon Dioxide

IMO
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by IMO » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:58 am

crypto11 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:03 am
I have a couple of questions about maintenance of smoke detectors and would appreciate some help.
This is for hardwired smoke detectors (powered by electricity).

1. How do you go about changing the backup batteries for a smoke detector in a room when it is located 12 feet high? Is there any gadget/tool to help you change the battery without climbing on some ladder? I cant climb that high and need to call a handyman every time i need to replace a battery.

2. How often do you change the battery? I think most people say every year but i dont understand why. This is for a wired detector that has a backup battery. The 9V backup battery should be drained/used only when the power is out (correct?) so why does it need to be replaced every year when it should have been hardly used ? I changed one such battery 2 years ago and used the best 9V battery I could find, with extra power and durability and still it started chirping to replace the battery after 1.5 years. So frustrating.

3. Have you tried these new 10 year "battery sealed" wired smoke detectors ? Do the batteries last really 10 years before a replacement is needed? I saw an open box on home depot for such detector and it has a regular 9V battery in it. I thought it would be some sort of special battery but is was a regular 9V battery, so how does it last 10 years?
A. As others have noted, while more expensive, there are 5 yr 9 volt batteries that while more expensive should last as advertised. I also suspect the change yearly advice is generic to cover everyone especially those without hardwired alarms. Typically better to be safe than sorry.

B. Yes, you can buy 10 yr alarms. The ones I've used are sealed without battery access. If you go this route spend the extra and get one with smoke and CO dectection. If you dont already have a CO alarm, mounting one of these at reasonable height is good adjunct.

C. As others said replace at 10 years and spend the extra money get ones that also have CO detection. Expect to need to replace the wires as there is not standardization. Not hard to do for most, but sounds like you would have to hire a handyman, ask for fee to do all of them at once.

D. The newer alarms are actually hazardous waste and dont go into the trash. See lessismore.org/materials/99-smoke-detectors/ as an example on disposal.

neilpilot
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by neilpilot » Fri Apr 19, 2019 6:21 am

IMO wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:58 am


D. The newer alarms are actually hazardous waste and dont go into the trash. See lessismore.org/materials/99-smoke-detectors/ as an example on disposal.
Regarding your comment, even an older ionization smoke detector shouldn't go in household trash. Ionization chamber smoke detectors contain a small amount of americium-241, a radioactive material. When I replaced our 4 older alarms years ago, they were marked indicating they should be handed over to the fire department for proper disposal.

When my wife brought them to the fire station nearby, she was told that other residents have also brought detectors to them for disposal. Then the firefighter proceeded to admit that they simply tossed the old detectors into their trash. So much for proper disposal.

TLC1957
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by TLC1957 » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:50 am

If your detector is too high at the ceiling you can relocate the detector to the wall as long as it is within 12” of the ceiling.


https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/B ... oke-alarms

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:58 am

There are several recommendations for buying a combination smoke and CO detector. A word of caution - make sure you understand the reason you might not want to do this.

I posted early about replacing my hardwired smoke detectors with a combination ionization and photoelectric detector, the First Alert 3120B.

Why?

An ionization detector detects "fast flame" fires quicker than a photoelectric detector. 30 to 90 seconds quicker.

A photoelectric detector detects "smoldering fires" 15 to 50 minutes faster than an ionization detector. Yes, that's MINUTES, not seconds.

Most detectors are ionization detectors (the ones with the radioactive material in them.

To my knowledge, you can't buy a combination ionization / photoelectric / CO detector.

https://www.kidde.com/home-safety/en/us ... oelectric/


Also, note that garages generally don't have smoke detectors due to dust. In our development of over 100 homes, in the past 10 years two have had major fires. Both fires started in the garage. I added a rate-of-rise detector to my home alarm system. It goes off when the temperature rapidly climbs.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

deskjockey
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by deskjockey » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:17 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:58 am
To my knowledge, you can't buy a combination ionization / photoelectric / CO detector.
Yes, they exist, although not common. I've been looking at different units to replace our existing ones and came across this one (and a few others):

https://www.universalsecuritystore.com/ ... c1509s.htm

It has both ionic and photoelectric detectors, as well as a CO detector. Universal also makes another combo unit that also detects natural gas. Not sure how well these work, but I'm considering them.

lazydavid
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by lazydavid » Fri Apr 19, 2019 11:25 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:58 am
There are several recommendations for buying a combination smoke and CO detector. A word of caution - make sure you understand the reason you might not want to do this.

I posted early about replacing my hardwired smoke detectors with a combination ionization and photoelectric detector, the First Alert 3120B.

Why?

An ionization detector detects "fast flame" fires quicker than a photoelectric detector. 30 to 90 seconds quicker.

A photoelectric detector detects "smoldering fires" 15 to 50 minutes faster than an ionization detector. Yes, that's MINUTES, not seconds.

Most detectors are ionization detectors (the ones with the radioactive material in them.

To my knowledge, you can't buy a combination ionization / photoelectric / CO detector.

https://www.kidde.com/home-safety/en/us ... oelectric/
Nest Protect uses two different types of photoelectric sensors to achieve the same result as having both PE and ionization sensors, and also has a CO detector:

https://nest.com/support/article/What-i ... rum-Sensor
Like a traditional photoelectric alarm, the Split-Spectrum Sensor has an 880nm infrared wavelength that looks for large particles created by slow smoldering fires.

A second, 450nm wavelength of light looks for the tiny particles created by fast fires. The shorter wavelength acts like a fine tooth comb, which allows the sensor to detect smaller particles more easily than a longer wavelength.

mariezzz
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Re: Smoke detectors

Post by mariezzz » Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:03 pm

Ryebrook wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 8:33 am
I would recommend replacing your alarms every 10 years.

Purchase photoelectric alarms instead of ionization. The technology is better at detecting slow, smoldering fires, which fit the bill of the majority of fires. Ionization technology results in many more false alarms and will be obsolete in it's current form as of May 29, 2020. The UL standard (217) for smoke alarms is changing and no current ionization alarm will pass the new testing protocols being put in place.

You don't need to buy a Nest but buy the best alarm that you can afford. You get your money's worth on these products. Read reviews and make an informed decision. If you don't need the "smart" functionality, one of the more reliable brands that I have used in the past are Gentex.

I would not trust the 10-year sealed batteries as the battery companies themselves do not stand behind the claims. Duracell and Energizer have both put out white papers against the technology.
+1.

I'm holding off on replacing fire detectors until new standards take place & have been in place long enough to determine which brands/models are best. If you really need to upgrade, there are really cheap options out there you can buy in the meantime (if you're planning on selling a house, be aware of requirements there). If you have kids, you may want to go with a better option. But for (extra, guest) bedrooms in which no one currently sleeps, a cheap option should be fine. I have 4 smoke detectors literally within 10 feet of each other.

I'd never buy a combined CO monitor/fire detector. They're more expensive and if one goes, the whole unit needs replacing.

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