Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A little alarming

New Zealand’s clocks change the first weekend in April, which means changing the batteries in smoke detectors. I’m changing the detectors themselves instead.

The new detectors (photo above) are by Cavius, which calls them “the world’s smallest photoelectric smoke alarms”, and they ARE small: about 45mm in diameter at the base, roughly 50mm from the base to the bottom (the detector in the photo is sitting on its base, upside down; it would be the other way around on the ceiling. But, then, you knew that already…). The detector itself is about 40mm in diameter at the base of the detector itself (not counting the holder). This means it’s about 25% bigger in diameter than a Kennedy (or Franklin…) US half dollar (for comparison, before 2006, New Zealand’s 50 cent coin was 31.75mm in diameter).

I first saw these a few weeks ago at a carpet and flooring store, of all places, but they had no price on them. Recently, both hardware centre chains, Bunnings and Mitre 10 Mega, started advertising them, so I bought three for our main hallway, to be placed on the ceiling, outside bedroom doors. I should note that they didn’t have the “compliance pack” mentioned on the Cavius website.

I like these detectors because of their tiny size (“Danish by Design”, the packaging says), which makes them far less obtrusive than the bigger ones we all have had. They also have 10-year batteries, which is a bonus. However, they’re around 20% or so more expensive than the larger-sized detectors with 10-year batteries, and dramatically more expensive than the cheapest detectors. Even so, I like them much more.

The old ionisation type detectors are being phased out slowly, in part because they have to be disposed of as hazardous waste since they’re radioactive (though I bet most people just throw them in their rubbish). The other option, like these ones, are photoelectric (which should still be disposed of as electronic waste, and not in household rubbish…).

The instructions say to vacuum the alarms monthly and also to test them monthly, which is sound advice, of course. So, I should know pretty quickly if any of them fail (I should note that they all meet NZ standards for smoke detectors).

All the detectors in the house were here when we moved in, nine years ago this year. We’ve changed the batteries regularly, but it’s clear that the two cheapest were at the end of their lives and needed to be replaced (one just stopped working, another barely works and even the third I don’t trust completely). So, replacing all the detectors was going to happen, anyway.

I’m—obviously—fascinated by these little alarms. At the very least, installing them certainly makes a nice distraction from politics!

The same smoke alarm after I installed and tested it. It's not easy working overhead!

Update: I since discovered, while looking for the regulations on where to place smoke detetectors, that Consumer reviewed the Cavius detector and gave it a 63% score, saying it had OK response on “flaming fire” and Good response on “smouldering fire”, arguably the most common type in a home. They also said it had no obvious bad points. I agree.

I found the NZ Fire Service information I was looking for, but, it turns out, Consumer actually explained the rules in more detail (near the bottom of the page in the link).

1 comment:

rogerogreen said...

May I say I HATE Daylight Saving Time? I can't? Oh well.