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Smoke Detectors: Is it time to replace yours?

A couple of weeks ago I went on a service call to replace a smoke detector.  The customer said his smoke detector went off and just kept going, he called the fire department and they disconnected it for him.  When I got there the next day it was evident the unit was original and the house was built around 1970.  There was fuzz coming out of the vent holes and the accumulator had oil and dust built up on it causing it to not work properly.  Once smoke detectors are installed no one really thinks about them until it comes time for them to work, if they do great, but what if they don’t?    Smoke and Carbon Monoxide  detectors really do save lives and working properly give precious time to get to safety.

 You know when to change the battery because it starts beeping or chirping.  When the battery starts to get weak you may only hear the chirp once every few weeks, but when the battery is getting really weak you will hear the beep or chirp every few minutes.  That’s when it’s time to change the battery.  Now how do you know when it’s time to change out your smoke detectors because they are too old and may not even work at all?

How do you test to see if they are working?  There is a button on the face of the detector that says test, push this button for a little while and the alarm should go off, if your smoke detectors are inter connected they will all alarm at the same time.  Every unit needs to be checked because if one unit is not working the rest will not alarm. When you push the button the alarm will sound for a pre set time then shut off and  newer alarms have a silence button so you can silence them immediately.  Care and maintenance instructions come with every unit, if there are no instructions the internet is a great source.

Smoke detectors have been required in new residential an multifamily housing since the early 70’s and considering they have a rated life span of 8 to 10 years it might be time to replace them.  When they were first required one smoke detector was required on each floor in the hallway, they were not required to have a battery or be interconnected.  Today’s codes requires smoke detectors be line voltage,  have a battery backup, and be interconnected, with one in each hallway and one in each bedroom .  They are all interconnected so that if one goes off they all go off, thus giving occupants a better chance of waking up and escaping when a fire occurs.

Replacing your old battery powered smoke detectors could be done yourself if you are mechanically inclined, although it would be better if a professional electrician replace line voltage detectors.  The old non interconnected style can be replaced with 120v units with battery backup and.  You can use the interconnected model but don’t connect the interconnect wire, in fact make sure no line voltage is placed on the interconnect wire or it will burn up the unit.  Replace all interconnected units with the same brand because most are not compatible. 

Carbon Monoxide detectors while not new by any means are being required by statute in Colorado and a few other states on new construction, change of ownership, rentals, new permits etc.  For added safety install new carbon monoxide detectors at the same time you are installing the smoke detectors.


7 comments - What do you think?  Posted by admin - January 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Categories: Product Safety   Tags: , , ,

Christmas Lighting LED

LED Christmas Lighting a Real Bargain Over Time

With Christmas upon us once again lets take a look at why LED Christmas lighting and LED retrofit Christmas bulbs are a good option.

 There is of course the old standby “incandescent” light bulb or the new “light emitting diode (LED)” style lights. While on the outside both look about the same, on the inside they are as different as night and day. We’ll take a closer look at both, with energy prices constantly going up and everybody talking about carbon foot prints, we should all be thinking of ways we can do our part.
Incandescent light bulbs are made with glass and have a tungsten filament, filled with an inert gas. When electricity passes thru the filament it heats up thus causing light, because of the high temperatures, the tungsten filament eventually burns into and the bulb burns out. Congress has passed legislation to phase out all incandescent light bulbs by 2014 in lieu of more energy efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFL) and LED bulbs.
LED lights have an entirely different make up, they are diodes with solid-state technology. LEDs light up solely by the movement of electrons in the semiconductor material producing very little heat. Heat is the major cause for failure, while operating at cooler temperatures allows for longevity. LEDs come in red, orange, amber, yellow, green, blue, and white making them ideal to use as indicator lights, traffic lights home lighting, and Christmas lighting.
Incandescent vs. LED there is no comparison.
• LED bulbs use a fraction of the electricity, 93% less.
• LED bulbs last a 160 times longer, up to 100,000hrs.
• LEDs are a bargain when you consider you would have to replace the incandescent bulb 160 times to just one LED bulb.
• LED Christmas lights can have up to 125 sets, 3000’connected together.
• LED Christmas light colors are much more brilliant.
• LED Christmas light bulbs can be retrofitted to replace your old incandescent lights.
• LED bulbs don’t break like incandescent bulbs do.
• LED Christmas lights have almost no chance of causing a fire.

Christmas Depot has an awesome selection of LED Christmas lights.

If you have been putting off purchasing new LED Christmas lights there is no time like the present.

14 comments - What do you think?  Posted by admin - September 19, 2010 at 10:43 am

Categories: LED Christmas Lighting   Tags: , , , , , ,