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Old 11-28-2014, 09:26 PM   #41
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I wasn't aware that hardwired smoke and CO detectors are available without battery backup.

So what happens in case of a fire or carbon monoxide leak with a power outage? Do you have a power generator?
I didn't mention the CO meter but yes, ours just plugs into the wall. I think most of these are not battery backed. The AC powered smoke detectors were actually preferred according to the sources I checked. When I did the first ones I had the same concern as you but was assured that AC only met code. The reasoning is that so many people fail to maintain the detectors that odds are higher that the battery is missing or dead than AC power going out. Still, we went with dual powered the first time and some units this time. I put a couple AC only in locations where it was particularly hard to access for battery swapping--including the attic which is often overlooked. With enough units it seemed we often got a battery going out in less than the 6 months between standard changes.
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Old 11-28-2014, 09:49 PM   #42
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The reasoning is that so many people fail to maintain the detectors that odds are higher that the battery is missing or dead than AC power going out. Still, we went with dual powered the first time and some units this time. I put a couple AC only in locations where it was particularly hard to access for battery swapping--including the attic which is often overlooked.
Power outages are pretty rare in most places, but I'd guess the chances for a fire (or CO poisoning) are a lot higher on a "per day" basis during an outage. Candles, kerosene/propane heaters and burners for water, people using NG stoves for heat (despite the danger), etc.

Those smoke detectors with 10 year batteries might not be a bad idea. No hassle and nothing to remember for a decade, then toss them.
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Old 11-28-2014, 09:58 PM   #43
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Power outages are pretty rare in most places, but I'd guess the chances for a fire (or CO poisoning) are a lot higher on a "per day" basis during an outage. Candles, kerosene/propane heaters and burners for water, people using NG stoves for heat (despite the danger), etc.

Those smoke detectors with 10 year batteries might not be a bad idea. No hassle and nothing to remember for a decade, then toss them.
We had a fire in our previous home, the first thing that alerted us was that the power went out in that room. The fire was in a wall, and it melted the wire insulation and shorted them.

The old alarms in our current home are the AC only type (no back up battery), but I bought a bunch of battery powered ones to have in addition. Two on the first floor (one was AC), one in the upstairs hall (AC) and one in each bedroom and one in the basement. The AC only were replaced with AC with battery backup. I would never forgive myself if something bad happened that could have been prevented with an alarm. Seems like very cheap assurance to me.

The 10 year battery does seem to make sense. Since you are supposed to replace the unit after 10 years anyway, why not?

Two other things that should be standardized - a common base plate design (mentioned earlier), and a 'mute' button. I'm sure many of the cases of the alarms not having batteries in them are due to false alarms, and the battery doesn't get put back. A simple 10 minute mute button solves that.

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Old 11-29-2014, 11:21 AM   #44
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... They made it right, but one wonders why the inspectors we hired for the purchase did not notice a missing smoke detector. The building is completely sprinklered, and we also discovered that a head was missing in a somewhat obscure (but important) spot. Apparently since the place was built...
My experience has been that they "notice" things that can be quickly and easily fixed but tend to not "notice" harder or more expensive things that could ruin a sale. After all, the inspector's "real" customer is the realtor.

I had an inspector notice a loose toilet in the powder room. He went into the crawl space to make sure it wasn't leaking. It wasn't. He didn't notice the floor joist two inches on either side of the toilet waste pipe that had been cut out to make room for the toilet. It was hanging by the nails in the sub floor and the reason the toilet was loose. And yes, it leaked shortly thereafter. I had to tear the tile out, repair the sub floor, shore up the joist, and refinish. When I sold the place, the inspector made me put different connectors in the shoring. A few minute and low cost job.
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Old 11-29-2014, 12:33 PM   #45
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NFPA 72, the fire alarm code, was revised a number of years ago to require AC primary power as well as battery secondary power for smoke alarms, unless the batteries are good for ten years then no AC power is needed. Prior to that, AC-only was all that was required. So if you have a house built prior to that change (I had a house built in the 80's that was like this) then you might not have batteries in your smoke alarms. But then, as this thread began, you should be replacing them anyway since they're probably more than ten years old.

I'd go look up when that change happened, but that would be too much like being at work.
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Old 11-30-2014, 09:11 PM   #46
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I tested mine last week while cooking.

We call it "Beeper Bacon".
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Old 12-02-2014, 07:59 PM   #47
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http://http://freakonomics.com/2012/...s-really-save/

Hopefully this link works. My iPad seems to be extremely poor at copying links. The gist of this freakonomics article is that smoke alarms are less than 29% effective at saving lives in a fire (compared to having no smoke detectors). This is admittedly a lot more significant than I suspected but I still don't plan on dealing with the cost and hassle of having a bunch of those shrill "hey you burned the toast" alarms in my house.

I guess I still like living dangerously.
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How to recycle old alarms?
Old 12-02-2014, 08:18 PM   #48
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How to recycle old alarms?

So now that I'm replacing the old ones, what the heck do you do with them?

They contain 'a small amount of Americium 241, a radioactive isotope', and you are not supposed to trash them. But I have not found any easy way to sidpose of them. Supposedly, you can mail them back to the manufacturer, but you need to check with them first?

Seems if they want to keep people from throwing them in the trash, they ought to make it easy to recycle. I'll be out doing errands tomorrow, I'll throw then in the car and stop by the fire station and see what they say.

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Old 12-02-2014, 08:25 PM   #49
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Our county website has information on hazardous waste disposal, so you might want to check yours.


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Old 12-02-2014, 08:32 PM   #50
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Our county website has information on hazardous waste disposal, so you might want to check yours.


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They're the ones that suggest mailing it back to the mfg.

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