Test your smoke alarm!

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  • Test your smoke alarm!

    I last replaced my old smoke alarms with the Kidde 10 year alarm - supposedly with 10 year battery.

    Heck, I have 9 foot ceilings and its not easy to check the alarms which are within about 1 foot of the ceiling.

    So I don't remember when I replaced it and failed to have a schedule for checking. I expected low battery to chirp intermittently like my old battery alarms.

    So I pulled it off the wall today and pressed the test button... nothing.
    Found out you have to hold it for 5 seconds before it beeps.

    The label on the back says I should check weekly. Hah! who does that on a alarm 9 feet in the air? Isn't that a bit optimistic?
    Anyway I made an install note on the back and it says Jan 2010,

    The instructions say it flashes the LED once every 45 seconds. Yeah, its very dim and hard to see and you have to be perfectly in front if it... low view angle. No way to see from the floor below.

    Allegedly the ionization source in these things only lasts 10 years.

    So, it appears that they are both still operating but 11 years old. Guess I need to order two new ones.

    Don't forget to test frequently.



    Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-22-2021, 03:21 PM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

  • #2
    "Weekly Checking" - ha !!

    It is just CYA - as instructed by lawyers !!

    BTW, my two CO alarms had some internal clock that timed out before the 10 year date and they both started chirping annoyingly just within a day apart from each other. The code on front panel said "Expired" and the only way out was replacing both of them.

    Comment


    • #3
      I think the big thing now is to have dual ionization and particle detectors in the smoke detectors.

      I just ordered replacement dual sensor devices (the old were ionization only) with 10 year lithium batteries.

      I guess the batteries in my unit though more than 10 years old are not low to set off the low battery indicator circuits but I think the ionization detectors get questionable after 10 years and there's no easy way to sense that.
      Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-22-2021, 06:08 PM.
      Loring in Katy, TX USA
      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
      BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

      Comment


      • #4
        Even at my level of insanity I only test my smoke/CO detectors monthly. They're all ceiling mounted so I use a broom handle to push the button.

        I have an extensive maintenance database that has items come up monthly, spring, summer, fall, and/or winter. The monthly stuff is mostly safety stuff, furnace and other filters, and the Shopsmith which is ancient tech and you have to lube everything that moves manually ... and frequently. My monthly schedule takes about three hours on the first Saturday of every month. Quarterly's take the whole day.
        Chr's
        __________
        An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
        A moral man does it.

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        • #5
          We've got a home security system which includes door and window protection in addition to the smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. When the batteries need to be replaced, the alarm control panel signals and tells you which battery needs to be replaced. In our last home we had detectors that would chirp when the batteries got low. Annoying, because it wasn't alway clear where the chirp was coming from and I'd have to wander around looking for the source.

          CWS
          Think it Through Before You Do!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by twistsol View Post
            Even at my level of insanity I only test my smoke/CO detectors monthly. They're all ceiling mounted so I use a broom handle to push the button.

            I have an extensive maintenance database that has items come up monthly, spring, summer, fall, and/or winter. The monthly stuff is mostly safety stuff, furnace and other filters, and the Shopsmith which is ancient tech and you have to lube everything that moves manually ... and frequently. My monthly schedule takes about three hours on the first Saturday of every month. Quarterly's take the whole day.
            That's outstanding !!

            As a side note - I am concerned about these combo smoke/CO detectors. In my opinion, it is fundamentally wrong to combine these two functions in a single unit. These units get typically mounted on Ceiling.

            Smoke is lighter than air so it rises and accumulates near ceiling so it is correct to have Smoke alarms on ceiling. BUT CO is heavier than air. So CO starts accumulating near the floor. We would be dead long before the CO rises to the ceiling level and triggers alarm. So CO alarm should be closer to the ground - lower level than our beds as that's possibly when our noses are closer to ground.

            My $0.02

            - NG

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by nicer20 View Post

              ...

              As a side note - I am concerned about these combo smoke/CO detectors. In my opinion, it is fundamentally wrong to combine these two functions in a single unit. These units get typically mounted on Ceiling.

              Smoke is lighter than air so it rises and accumulates near ceiling so it is correct to have Smoke alarms on ceiling. BUT CO is heavier than air. So CO starts accumulating near the floor. We would be dead long before the CO rises to the ceiling level and triggers alarm. So CO alarm should be closer to the ground - lower level than our beds as that's possibly when our noses are closer to ground.

              My $0.02

              - NG
              Nicer, maybe you are confusing CO2 and CO.

              While CO2 is denser than air and sinks, CO is very slightly lighter than air and will rise in a still room or likely mix with any air movement.
              The alarms check for CO which is carbon monoxide.


              The density of Carbon Monoxide at 20 C (68 C) is 0.96716 which is slightly lighter than the density of air (1.00).
              Gas Awareness: S-Tech Online
              Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-22-2021, 11:11 PM.
              Loring in Katy, TX USA
              If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
              BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post

                Nicer, maybe you are confusing CO2 and CO.

                While CO2 is denser than air and sinks, CO is very slightly lighter than air and will rise in a still room or likely mix with any air movement.
                The alarms check for CO which is carbon monoxide.


                The density of Carbon Monoxide at 20 C (68 C) is 0.96716 which is slightly lighter than the density of air (1.00).
                Gas Awareness: S-Tech Online
                OK then may be I am wrong and stand corrected. I had watched this film on CO (by National Geographic or Discovery Channel may be) several years ago - I think something like a "Silent Killer" and it showed this very deadly scenario of how dense CO was causing animals to die. May be I got it wrong then.

                Thanks for the scientific data.

                NG

                Comment


                • LCHIEN
                  LCHIEN commented
                  Editing a comment
                  At standard temperature and pressure, the density of carbon dioxide is around 1.98 kg/m3, about 1.53 times that of air.

                  Carbon dioxide - Wikipedia


                  CO2 is much, Much denser. and easily displaces air in closed rooms.

                  https://www.vexplode.com/en/national...al-geographic/
                  talks about Killer Lakes that emit CO2

                  CO2 kills because it is heavy and in closed rooms settles to the bottom and efficiently displaces oxygen bearing air. When you breathe large percentage CO2 you suffocate from lack of oxygen in your breath.

                  CO kills because it preferentially attaches to your red blood cells using the same chemical valence bonds as Oxygen. So in small concentrations it can quickly replace all your oxygen in your blood. Even though it is mixed with air.
                  Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-23-2021, 02:05 AM.

              • #9
                When we built our new home, the CO and smoke detectors installed are hard wired for power and have battery backups. They also self test every few minutes. I have a spread sheet that tracks all battery powered security devices in the home, as well as clocks, etc., so I can see installation, battery change, and projected replacement dates. Our security system is wireless, so there are lots of batteries to keep track of.
                Jim Frye
                The Nut in the Cellar.
                ”Sawdust Is Man Glitter”

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                • #10
                  CO is not something you want to mess around with. Back in our houseboat and cruiser days a good friend and his wife took their houseboat to their favorite anchor out spot. He dropped anchor and went to the stern and found the jet ski’s tow ropes tangled in the outdrives. He laid on his belly and was reaching over the back of the boat to untangle the rope, his wife was curious what he was doing laying down and went to see what was happening and stepped out on the back deck just in time to catch him by his ankle as he was sliding into the water. Their generator exhaust had accumulated CO behind the boat and he had his head low enough to breath in enough to knock him out. Pretty serious stuff.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by capncarl View Post
                    CO is not something you want to mess around with. Back in our houseboat and cruiser days a good friend and his wife took their houseboat to their favorite anchor out spot. He dropped anchor and went to the stern and found the jet ski’s tow ropes tangled in the outdrives. He laid on his belly and was reaching over the back of the boat to untangle the rope, his wife was curious what he was doing laying down and went to see what was happening and stepped out on the back deck just in time to catch him by his ankle as he was sliding into the water. Their generator exhaust had accumulated CO behind the boat and he had his head low enough to breath in enough to knock him out. Pretty serious stuff.
                    Quite scary.

                    The film I mentioned above whichI had watched showed similar scenario. A vulture sits on a carcass - as it dips its head down to get a bite, it breathes the poisonous air accumulated near the ground in those morning cold hours. Feeling uncomfortable it raises its head and breathes normally. Unaware of the situation it tries again and again to grab bites and succumbs to death. It is a very eye opening footage. I will see if I can locate it on Youtube or any other resource.

                    For some reason I registered it as CO - Now that might have been CO2 layer and not CO layer as Loring explained.

                    - NG

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by nicer20 View Post

                      Quite scary.

                      The film I mentioned above whichI had watched showed similar scenario. A vulture sits on a carcass - as it dips its head down to get a bite, it breathes the poisonous air accumulated near the ground in those morning cold hours. Feeling uncomfortable it raises its head and breathes normally. Unaware of the situation it tries again and again to grab bites and succumbs to death. It is a very eye opening footage. I will see if I can locate it on Youtube or any other resource.

                      For some reason I registered it as CO - Now that might have been CO2 layer and not CO layer as Loring explained.

                      - NG
                      I didn't watch it but you mentioned Killer and Nat'l Geo.
                      probably this
                      https://www.vexplode.com/en/national...al-geographic/
                      talks about Killer Lakes that emit CO2
                      CO2 being relatively a lot more dense pools in low areas. and enclosed areas suffocating the unwary. Not really poison but asphxiation.
                      CO latches to your blood's oxygen receptors and denies them oxygen. So it is a poison.
                      Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-23-2021, 07:52 PM.
                      Loring in Katy, TX USA
                      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                      BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        The CO incident that I described above startled my wife and I enough that I purchased a CO detector to carry with us when we went overnight on other peoples boats. My boat had a smoke / CO detector and a CO detector mounted at floor level between the 2 bunks.

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Originally posted by nicer20 View Post


                          As a side note - I am concerned about these combo smoke/CO detectors. In my opinion, it is fundamentally wrong to combine these two functions in a single unit. These units get typically mounted on Ceiling.

                          Smoke is lighter than air so it rises and accumulates near ceiling so it is correct to have Smoke alarms on ceiling. BUT CO is heavier than air. So CO starts accumulating near the floor. We would be dead long before the CO rises to the ceiling level and triggers alarm. So CO alarm should be closer to the ground - lower level than our beds as that's possibly when our noses are closer to ground.

                          My $0.02

                          - NG
                          CO is :
                          • 1.250 kg/m3 at 0 C, 1 atm
                          • 1.145 kg/m3 at 25 C, 1 atm
                          CO2 is:
                          • 1101 kg/m3 (liquid at saturation −37 C (−35 F))
                          • 1.977 kg/m3 (gas at 1 atm
                          air is "At 20 C and 101.325 kPa, dry air has a density of 1.2041 kg/m3."
                          all three from wikipedia

                          https://www.homedepot.com/b/Electric...co2%20detector

                          lists a bunch of CO and smoke detectors, combination units. It seems that air is lighter than both CO and CO2 but CO2 has a huge density difference being much heavier than air. Loring is correct. Strange though my search query at the Borg was for CO2 detectors and it gave me a bunch of CO detectors. I can see good reasons to have CO2 detectors below bed height.
                          just another brick in the wall...

                          Comment


                          • LCHIEN
                            LCHIEN commented
                            Editing a comment
                            At the same temperatures CO is just slightly lighter than air, not air is lighter than CO as you stated.

                            The density of Carbon Monoxide at 20 C (68 C) is 0.96716 which is slightly lighter than the density of air (1.00).
                            Gas Awareness: S-Tech Online

                        • #15

                          As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.
                          Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers | CPSC.gov


                          The lowest lethal concentration (inhalation) for humans is 100 000 ppm (=10%) for 1 min. Carbon dioxide concentrations of 20–30% can cause convulsions and coma within a minute. Unconsciousness may occur when inhaling a concentration of 12% for 8–23 min.
                          Lethal Concentration - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics


                          So you see folks, Carbon monoxide is lethal at levels 1000th as much as carbon dioxide. 100,000 ppm is 10%. 20% is 200,000 ppm. Oxygen is normally 21% of air.
                          Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete combustion of carbon; Carbon dioxide is the normal byproduct of combustion of carbon bearing materials.
                          Last edited by LCHIEN; 10-07-2021, 02:22 AM.
                          Loring in Katy, TX USA
                          If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                          BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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