HomeRoast Digest


Topic: OT Smoke detectors, was +asleep (literally) at the switch (18 msgs / 366 lines)
1) From: Brian Kamnetz
While we are on the topic, I have a smoke detector question for the
gadget-savvy people on the list. Lately it has still been in the 90s
in the daytime here in SC, but cooling off into the 60s at night, so,
even though it is quite humid, I am leaving the windows open at night.
Since I have been doing that, the smoke detector "chirps" around 4 or
5 a.m. Doesn't do it anymore by the time I wake up a couple hours
later, and doesn't do it in the evening.
Any idea of what is going on? Does it need some sort of maintenance?
Thanks for any suggestions.
Brian
On 10/9/07, Stephen Carey  wrote:
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2) From: Stephen Carey
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Sounds totally coincidental and batteries are needed.  The open 
window is just a fluke - best guess based on how ours let us know to 
change batteries.
Stephen
At 11:32 AM 10/9/2007, you wrote:
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Sounds totally coincidental and batteries are needed. 
The open window is just a fluke - best guess based on how ours let us
know to change batteries.
Stephen
At 11:32 AM 10/9/2007, you wrote:
While we are on the topic, I
have a smoke detector question for the
gadget-savvy people on the list. Lately it has still been in the 90s
in the daytime here in SC, but cooling off into the 60s at night,
so,
even though it is quite humid, I am leaving the windows open at
night.
Since I have been doing that, the smoke detector "chirps"
around 4 or
5 a.m. Doesn't do it anymore by the time I wake up a couple hours
later, and doesn't do it in the evening.
Any idea of what is going on? Does it need some sort of
maintenance?
Thanks for any suggestions.
Brian
On 10/9/07, Stephen Carey <steve> wrote:
>
>  sounds like we both better keep batteries in our smoke
detectors!!!
>
>
>
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3) From: Lynne Biziewski
(I am on the opposite end of gadget-savvy) - gut feeling leads me to
wondering if it means that
the batteries need to be changed...
On 10/9/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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-- 
There is nothing more powerful than the Spirit of a Woman who has lost
everything and then learned to reclaim it all.

4) From: Bonnie Polkinghorn
I had a home that had a smoke detector that went off after opening the
bathroom door after a shower.
It seems they are very sensitive to humidity (just search on smoke detector
humidity).  I don't know if replacing the smoke detector with a newer one
that has less sensitivity will help, or if they are even labeled with that
info.
Consumer Reports suggests replacing the alarms every 10 years.  This is
getting me thinking about inspecting my own smoke alarms.
Good luck!
Bonnie P.
Santa Rosa, CA
On 10/9/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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5) From: Brian Kamnetz
That's what I was wondering: when daily temps are lowest, I would
expect relative humidity to be close to the highest of the day. And
fabrics etc feel damp in the morning when I get up. I'm almost tempted
to turn on the AC just to knock down the humidity a bit.
I should add that the smoke detectors were installed just less than
two years ago, when the house was being built. I know nothing of
quality of the detectors, but age should not be the problem in my
particular case.
Also, the same thing happened a while back, but I have no idea of when
that was. Could have been a couple months, could have been this time
last year. I just don't know. Then didn't occur until the last few
days.
The high temps are supposed to drop drastically in a day or so. I'll
see if the chirping stops then. Hopefully that will be the end of
sticky days in the 90s until next spring.
Thanks,
Brian
On 10/9/07, Bonnie Polkinghorn  wrote:
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6) From: Rich
Replace the battery.  It is gtting cold and becomes weak.
On Tue, 9 Oct 2007 11:32:14 -0400, Brian Kamnetz wrote:
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7) From: raymanowen
Why be on topic? If your question covers problems likely to be encountered
by people roasting Sweet Maria's coffee, how far off is that?
The smoke detector uses a tiny ionizing, radioactive source. Anything like
smoke that "gets in its eye" that can be ionized, will upset the input to a
low current comparator that will change state and trigger an SCR. The
conducting SCR will hook a Sonalert to the battery and tend to empty the
room.
Any particulate in the detection chamber walls, like airborne dust, etc.,
can condense the early morning humidity, ionize and... There you go.
One good place to locate the detector would be just above a minute heat
source like an electric wall clock or small light bulb, like an "Exit"
light.
The small heat source will slightly heat the air above condensation
temperature and create a slight draft. Airborne smoke will still pass
through the detection chamber, so it'll continue working as advertised and
stop the high humidity false alarms.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
On 10/9/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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8) From: Leo Zick
you beat me to the technical response, but i believe NFPA chapter 5 dictates
placement and types of sensors to be used for most conditions.  (not that
residential builders will always follow this)
assuming they have followed code, and your house is below the 93% humidity
threshold, change the battery..
its also good practice to change all smoke and co detector batteries
annually, and the detectors themselves every 10 years.. assuming, of course,
you can find something that will actually wire into your current home
wiring. damn technology and its upgrades!
On 10/9/07, raymanowen  wrote:
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9) From: Aaron
I dont know if this has been covered yet or not but.
Smoke detectors at least most of them, the ionizing type use a small 
amount of a radioactive material in them Americium (i forget the number) 
as part of their active workings.  I won't bore you with the details of 
how exactly it works.... anyways.
If a smoke detector is not working, ie seems dead or goes off on false 
alarms... one of two things most likely the problem.
#1 battery... replace it and try
#2 the radioactive element has a fairly limited half life in there..  
(unlike plutonium it doesn't last millions of years)  and after a few 
years, decays to the point where it really can't do what it is supposed 
to do well anymore.  The most common effect of this problem is false 
alarms, ie dust, steam from the shower etc setting them off.....   
again... anyways... replace the detector, they are cheap.
and if you live in florida #3 the last lightning storm through town 
spiked it and messed it up :x
Aaron

10) From: Aaron Scholten
Brian, a chirp is a signal to replace the battery, the detector's 
circuitry is voltage sensitive and you are just on the threshold.   In 
the night it's cooler, the battery puts out less voltage, because the 
cool, slows down the chemical reaction of the battery, detector 
chirps... the chirp in itself is ... in reference.  a HUGE draw on the 
battery over just normal quiet operation... so keeps it there... in the 
day, it warms up, warmer battery, bit faster chemical reaction, voltage 
up a teensy bit past the threshold, low alarm stops...
give it a few weeks and it will chirp all the time... better yet... 
replace the battery save the annoyance.
Aaron
Brian Kamnetz wrote:
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11) From: Brian Kamnetz
A quick update to all who were kind enough to respond:
I think I am in Dennis's category. I removed the battery (no mean feat
in itself!) and my multimeter said it was fine. Put it back and it
hasn't chirped since. Perhaps had a poor connection, and moving it
fixed the connection....
Brian
On 10/9/07, Dennis & Marjorie True  wrote:
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12) From: raymanowen
As they say- "Change your clocks, Change your battery."
Even a VOM is not a good battery checker, since the high impedance metering
circuit does not appreciably load the battery.
I was sure a 9v battery was bad in some circuit, but I put the meter probes
on the terminals and the Simpson 260 read just a hair under 9v. Good enough?
When I pressed my thumb across the terminals with the meter connected, the
voltage dropped!
Smart money might just get a second detector for the fresh ionizing source
and clean detection chamber. Cheap Insurance.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
On 10/11/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

13) From: Dave Kvindlog
Chanage the battery every year, regardless of what unit or battery test
restults are.  Think you'll find this is the recommendation from the
instructions that came with the unit (as if anyone ever reads them!).  I use
the daylight savings time change every spring to remind me to do this.
Better to be safe than sorry...
Roasting in Iowa (and never hearing my smoke detectors chirp),
Dave Kvindlog
On 10/11/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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14) From: Brian Kamnetz
The unit in question was chirping again this morning, even though
yesterday the multimeter said there was plenty of snoose in the
battery. I bought new batteries (rather than using batteries that may
have been in my battery stash for a couple years or more) and will
replace the batteries in all 5 smoke detectors.
(Sure hope that stops the chirping!!!!)
Brian
On 10/11/07, Dave Kvindlog  wrote:
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15) From: Lynne Biziewski
Reminded me of some sit-com I saw recently. Can't remember what show
it was (most likely something mindless), but the person had their fill of
that
chirping, smashed it til it was almost unrecognizable.. and it continued to
chirp.
Good luck!
Lynne
On 10/12/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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-- 
There is nothing more powerful than the Spirit of a Woman who has lost
everything and then learned to reclaim it all.

16) From: Rich
Terminal voltage varies directly with temperature.......
On Fri, 12 Oct 2007 13:24:12 -0400, Brian Kamnetz wrote:
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17) From: Justin Marquez
We just got back home Tue from a 7-week business trip to England.  One of
our 6 detectors was LOUDLY chirping about every 2 minutes.  I just went
ahead and bought new batteries for all of the detectors since I had to haul
in the big ladder from the garage to change the complainer's battery (extra
tall ceilings!).
"Better safe than sorry" - AMEN!
Safe Journeys and Sweet Music
Justin Marquez (CYPRESS, TX)
On 10/12/07, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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18) From: Lynne Biziewski
and a lot more effective (not to mention easier) than smashing them...
On 10/12/07, Justin Marquez  wrote:
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