better cheaper smoke detectors...

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solarguy2003

Member
Feb 17, 2014
50
michigan
So, we had trouble with out normal (ionization) smoke detectors going off almost every time we opened the stove to feed it.

We also had quite a few nuisance alarms in the kitchen when were really just cooking, not burning anything.

I had an idea that perhaps the photoelectric smoke detectors would produce less nuisance alarms. About that same time, watched a fascinating youtube guy tear down and analyze a super cheap chinese smoke alarm, that just happened to be the photoelectric type. It was surprisingly sophisticated and well built. And did I mention, super cheap.

Here's Big Clive's tear down if you want to see all the inside bits and pieces and how they work (in minute detail).



And here is a typical ebay listing. They are often less than five bucks a pop, including shipping.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_sacat=0&_nkw=Fire+Smoke+Sensor+Detector+Alarm&_sop=15

That's it...
 

jb6l6gc

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2015
820
Cayuga, Ontario, Canada
But what standard are they certified to or do they operate too ? Probably none, definetly not ul listed or csa approved. Quality control there is not the best, personally I wouldnt trust mine or my familys safety with it, I would go with a more respected and well known brand. But hey thats just me and my 2cents. I don't go down the really cheapo route when it comes to things like smoke alarms, co alarms, extinguishers, tools, or anything that has the potential to hurt me or save me. Again like i said just my 2 cents take it or leave it.
 

solarguy2003

Member
Feb 17, 2014
50
michigan
But what standard are they certified to or do they operate too ? Probably none, definetly not ul listed or csa approved. Quality control there is not the best, personally I wouldnt trust mine or my familys safety with it, I would go with a more respected and well known brand. But hey thats just me and my 2cents. I don't go down the really cheapo route when it comes to things like smoke alarms, co alarms, extinguishers, tools, or anything that has the potential to hurt me or save me. Again like i said just my 2 cents take it or leave it.


we -also- have co detectors. But the ionization smoke alarms were useless due to the high number of fire alarms and we pulled the batteries. Your mileage may vary.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,406
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Best bet for fire protection is a mix of both pe and ion smoke detectors ...,or a combo unit.

I prefer one built to UL or Factory Mutual standards myself.

A better question is why your existing detectors are going off when you open the stove door ... with a proper draft no smoke should be causing the alarms to sound.
 
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solarguy2003

Member
Feb 17, 2014
50
michigan
Feel free to not use them. Sure solved my immediate problem. Did I mention that the ionization units were oversensitive and worthless?

We have good draft and don't see or smell smoke when we open the stove.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,516
South Puget Sound, WA
We've never had our Kidde smoke detectors go off once from the woodstove. I'm wondering if there is another issue here?
 

jb6l6gc

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2015
820
Cayuga, Ontario, Canada
Feel free to not use them. Sure solved my immediate problem. Did I mention that the ionization units were oversensitive and worthless?

We have good draft and don't see or smell smoke when we open the stove.
possibly from the heat...Too close to stove maybe?
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,406
Unity/Bangor, Maine
possibly from the heat...Too close to stove maybe?

Heat in itself does not set off the detectors as a rule . . . unless a) smoke or dust particles are borne upward by the "heat" (the whole hot air rising deal) or b) they are way too close and the heat is frying the electronics.
 

solarguy2003

Member
Feb 17, 2014
50
michigan
I'll have to look at the brand of the bad ones. No, there are no smoke detectors mounted too close to the stove.

It seems clear to me that our old ones were overly sensitive. The alarms on the 2nd floor would go off every time we made toast. Not burning toast, just regular toast.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,516
South Puget Sound, WA
That is atypical. We've only had our downstairs alarm go off once or twice from kitchen smoke and never upstairs.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
I have both ion and photo brk detectors. I have found that the ion detector near the kitchen goes off sometimes when my wife cooks. I've had the photo detectors go off numerous times. They both have latching features which shows which one caused the alarm, however the alarm seems to must be sustained, and that can be an issue. In the garage, especially, I believe spiders get in the photocell area of the wireless photo detectors I have there. I've sprayed around the detectors, and that helped. Did I mention I store firewood in the garage? :) I actually dissected a photo detector that kept on going off, and there was a little spider web in the photocell area! PS: It's not like I'm overrun with spiders, though.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,406
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I'll have to look at the brand of the bad ones. No, there are no smoke detectors mounted too close to the stove.

It seems clear to me that our old ones were overly sensitive. The alarms on the 2nd floor would go off every time we made toast. Not burning toast, just regular toast.

All detectors are supposed to alarm at a certain point . . . that said . . . sometimes the age of the detector or type can make a huge difference in how fast they activate.

For folks who have issues with many false alarms from cooked food I personally recommend either trying to relocate the smoke detector (doesn't sound like this would help you a whole lot though) or purchasing photo-electric detectors which are generally considered better at not having false alarms due to cooking issues . . . I am also a huge fan of detectors with silencer/hush features which allow you to temporarily silence the detector by either pushing a button on the unit or by deactivating it temporarily with a TV remote.

Incidentally, I would be remiss if I didn't ask if the toaster's crumbs have been cleaned out . . . I am pretty sure that is not the issue . . . but you never know.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,406
Unity/Bangor, Maine
I have both ion and photo brk detectors. I have found that the ion detector near the kitchen goes off sometimes when my wife cooks. I've had the photo detectors go off numerous times. They both have latching features which shows which one caused the alarm, however the alarm seems to must be sustained, and that can be an issue. In the garage, especially, I believe spiders get in the photocell area of the wireless photo detectors I have there. I've sprayed around the detectors, and that helped. Did I mention I store firewood in the garage? :) I actually dissected a photo detector that kept on going off, and there was a little spider web in the photocell area! PS: It's not like I'm overrun with spiders, though.

Insects and dust blocking the PE sensor was one of the reasons PE units tended to fall out of favor for so long . . . they're making a comeback however as most experts recommend both PE and ion type detectors in the home . . . the caveat being it's a good idea to take the vacuum wand and clean around them once in a while.
 

solarguy2003

Member
Feb 17, 2014
50
michigan
I checked, and the super-over-sensitive detectors are First Alert, combination ionization smoke detectors and CO detectors.

The other interesting fact is that they are probably 7 years old, and I don't remember having this problem with them the first few years.

No, no burning crumbs in the toaster.

Yes, a combination of ionization and photoelectric is widely considered to be the best/safest.
 
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