Archive for the ‘Alarms’ Category

With the cold winter Holidays here, brings a time for celebration, and that means more cooking, home decorating, entertaining, and an increased risk of fire and accidents.

christmas-lights

 

You probably remember the movie “Christmas Vacation” Every home inspector and firefighter will tell you not to let your lights, plugs and outlets look like theirs did!

Please be safe

Merry Christmas

 

As you are getting ready to decorate for the holidays:

Remember to check the amperage, use compatibility (indoor or outdoor) and the physical condition of extension cords. Is it frayed, worn and the proper size.

I just finished an inspection that the client didn’t want, at first. Her lending institution told her she needed one to get a loan. (That’s another story) During the course of the inspection things went very well. The house was 30 plus years old and had recently been rehabbed by someone local.

When I got to the heating and cooling I found an item which costs only a few dollars and it was incorrectly installed which could cost someone their life. I found that someone used a clothes dryer vent pipe for a gas flu vent type “b” vent. Needless to say, this won’t work, the back side of the vent was cooked with a large hole in it. Carbon monoxide had been pouring into the house while doing this home inspection until I found this safety issue.

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I immediately turned the heater off and asked the clients and their young kids to go outside and get some fresh air. Fortunately they had not been there but a very short time and fresh air is all they needed and they refused medical treatment. I do carry a small medical bag with me and checked my SPO2 levels which were fine.

Lots of lessons to be learned here. Above all else, GET A HOME INSPECTION!

Yes, more fire safety talk. It seems everywhere I turn lately there is more convincing evidence that most of our current smoke & carbon monoxide detectors are not as safe as we would like to think. I’m talking about Ionization type. A few quick Google searches and a newer type called “Photoelectric” will keep popping up.

Both types can and do alert us, but there are some big differences. Below are some samples of what I have come to learn recently along with some interesting quotes.

Will combination units be the next best thing?!

“A smoke detector that sounds approximately nineteen minutes after smoke reached its sensing chamber is like an airbag that does not deploy until nineteen minutes after
a car accident.”

- Judge David E. Schoenthaler, Mercer v. Pitway/BRK Brands (First Alert)

Among the objectives of a smoke characterization study conducted by UL in 2007 were to develop recommendations to UL 217 and allow for the development of new smoke-sensing technologies. As a result of UL’s project, the following was identified for future consideration: “Requiring the use of combination ionization and photoelectric alarms for residential use in order to maximize responsiveness to a broad range of fires.”

The reason for this recommendation was that “Some of the evaluated flaming and non-flaming test scenarios triggered one but not both photo and ion alarms within the alarm response time criteria specified in UL 217.”

Ionization alarms are notorious for nuisance tripping. They frequently go off when you cook, burn toast, shower, etc. When alarms nuisance trip, people become frustrated and intentionally disable them. Most of us, including myself have removed a battery or pulled a unit off the wall intending to “fix it tomorrow”

In summary…I am heading to my local Big Box store to look at some combination units, I think you should do the same