This is just a test.
Actually, as part of my basement makeover, I decided to upgrade the smoke detector in the basement to one that can detect Carbon Monoxide. While this is current code for new houses, our house isnt so new. But we have a gas furnace and gas water-heater down there and I thought it a good idea. My wife agrees. So it began.
In the process of becoming educated in smoke detector technologies and codes, I decided that maybe it is time to review all seven detectors in my house.
They are all line powered with battery backup and interconnected so they all alarm if just one trips.
To be honest, the only test they ever get is when the wife accidentally burns a steak or roast.
(dont tell her I told you)
In my investigations, I was suprised to learn that smoke detectors are supposed to be replaced every ten years, regardless of functionabilty. Ours were original contractor installs and were over 14 years old. I decided it was time to replace them all and upgrade.
Current reccomendations are a CO detector on every level, with at least regular smoke detectors in every bedroom. This would mean I would need 4 CO detectors and 3 regular detectors, total. Yes that means that the cost I anticipated in the basement renovation just took yet another spike. But considering the purpose, once again I concede to the need.
So off to the internet I go, first to learn what is available, and match it to my needs.
120vac wired line power
9vdc battery backup
Then I learn that there are two types of smoke detectors.
I decide since they are available as one unit to buy dual-sensor types.
I also decided that CO detectors can commonly come with built-in Ionization smoke detectors.
Photoelectric detectors are suited for detecting smokey particulate matter such as a sooty or smoky smoldering type fires.
Ionization detectors sense active fires that are flash or growing but not smokey or smoldering fires.
Then I had to decide on brand and pricing. It had to be something that has high customer satisfaction, hasnt a huge track record for false alarms, reliable, and a recognised name brand.
My first look was the First Alert brand. Seemed logical as I have heard of them before. But after a bit of reading reviews and customer feedback, I decided to keep looking. I found the Kidde brand had significant higher levels of customer satisfaction ratings than First Alert. Plus Kidde brand has built-in voice ennunciators as required in some states. (not my state)
I settled on Kidde for both types of detectors, to make sure they communicated with each other on the interconnectability.
Pricing was a bit more than I wanted, but found Amazon was a sure source for discounts. Plus if sourced from Amazon, I get the buy-back guarantee. Also I signed up for Amazon Prime for a free 30 day trial which gives me free 2-day shipping. A nice savings right there.
Here are the models I selected...
Kidde KN-COSM-IB Hardwire Combination Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm with Battery Backup and Voice Warning, Interconnectable - one for each level including basement
Kidde PI2010 Smoke Alarm Dual Sensor with Battery Backup, White - all bedrooms
Well I ordered them Sunday, and they were delivered Monday much to my suprise.
Tuesday (today) was install day. First I killed the breaker for the alarm circuit. Verified power was off at each detector. (this because of the questionable wiring discovered in the basement reno, just to be sure)
Removed all the detectors, the old bases, and the wire-nutted detector power connectors. This job gets all-new.
Then I wired in all new connectors that came with each unit ordered, and tightly wire-nutted them into place making sure hot-nuetral-interlink were wired properly, and wires secure with a lil' tug. Lastly, mounted the new base and detectors. All told, maybe an hour, one #2 Phillips screwdriver, and one ladder.
Threw the breaker and heard all the boxes chirp as they initiated first powerup. (note:first power-up on the CO detectors initiates a timer that will cause the detectors to chirp like a low battery after 7 years, except it cant be stopped. This seven year timer forces you to replace the detector every seven years as required. Probably good practice anyway, just hope that I remember this in the year 2019).
OK, verified proper power from line on each box by a steady green light, even though they all chirp for low battery, and the CO detectors announce it with a female voice "low battery". So on each unit I pull the battery tab, a convenient plastic tab on the outside that you just pull out to connect the battery. This way you dont have to unmount the system. Of course I have to momentarily hit the test button to reset the low battery condition. (note: I prefer using fresh new Energizers, but opted to try out the Kidde brand batteries pre-installed. Probably going to replace them all anyways if I decide to follow protocall of replacing detector batteries at every time change, for best practices).
And finally, the test. I initiated a test on each one to verify it works, reset the unit, and verify it initiates alarm on all other units. Done with no problems.
I like the CO detectors. If they alarm they announce "Low Battery", "Fire!, Fire!, Fire!, "Carbon Monoxide Detected!", or "Hush Mode Activated" for when a steak gets burned.
I think I feel good about this upgrade. Most certainly since I tested out all the old standard 14-year old detectors, and found three of them stone dead, and one with a really crusty battery.
Was about time methinks.
A final note, if you consume any gas in heating or any appliance, get a CO detector, even if just a wall-wart type. CO poisening is the number one thing in the home to poison people in the US.