Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kidde Scorn

Ok, so why is it that modern smoke detectors these days not only cry wolf half a dozen times a year, but decide to do so only at zero-dark-thirty? It defeats the whole purpose of having them in the first place, if you're so used to them giving false alarms that you don't even bother to check the house out in the middle of the night. You instead spend your time waiting to hear which one goes off first so that you can either smash it on the ceiling with a broom like it's a bigass bug, or take it down and sling it out into the yard like I did last night.

A couple of years ago I updated our house to code by retrofitting the old battery powered smoke detectors with integrated, hard-wired Kidde smoke detectors. A week later I was far far away in a foreign land when the report from my wife came in that the whole house was beeping at like three in the morning. It finally stopped on its own, and didn't repeat that again for several months. At this point, it's a quarterly thing for the detectors to sound off for no reason, and it always happens late at night.

As a residential electrician in a past life, my experience has been that in a twelve pack of modern smoke detectors, one or two of them right off the bat are going to be defective. You normally find this out when you test them; the ones that are screwed up are immediately noticeable, and you replace them so that the home owners don't have an issue with them in the middle of the night. From what I can recall, the smoke detectors from my youth - the one you payed a nickle for and got ten free at the bargain bin at the local flea market - always worked like their supposed to for twenty years or more. You replace the battery when it starts to chirp, and they only go off when there's real smoke, like when you're burning some delicious bacon.

Somewhere along the line the manufacturers who make these detectors have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Last night we had another one go down - the second this year - at a quarter til' three in the morning. Knowing my wife, she no doubt lost the rest of the night's sleep over the event, which means she'll suffer at work today over an item that I would gladly pay three times as much for if it just worked like it's intended. If not, it's back to the flea markets for the nicotine coated one's that some farmer took down when the battery died. I know those will work.

Grrrrrrrrrrr.
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