Can you help me find smoke detection for the elderly

bizzyliOctober 30, 2010

Is there a system for smoke detection that does not require an elderly person to climb a ladder to struggle with a very difficult plastic container and well-lodged battery on the ceiling in the middle of the night? I wrestle to get the batteries in and out even in the daylight and I can't get the battery area to line up with my trifocals.

One plastic container is broken, one ripped off the wires due to losing balance. I finally disconnected the others until I can find something I don't have to climb to get to.

Our city requires a detector behind each closed door and in the halls. The house is two-story so there are a lot of them and one goes off about every other month. As I understand it, even the hard wired ones have batteries that have to be replaced. Surely there is something easy to use out there. What do people in wheel chairs do?

Thank you for your help,

Li

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smithy123

hard wired ones do not use the battery, unless the power is out.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 8:53AM
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brickeyee

"hard wired ones do not use the battery, unless the power is out."

The hard wired ones all come with a backup battery now, and it will need to be replaced just from age.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 11:07AM
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hendricus

What do people in wheel chairs do?

Relatives, neighbors, the kids on the block.

I've changed ceiling light bulbs for the in-laws, they were in their 80's.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 12:48PM
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DavidR

This is a problem and I don't have an answer. Wish I did. An older person I know got so annoyed with the hardwired smokes in her house griping about their dying backup batteries that she insisted that her grandson remove all the smokes. I've tried to convince her to have them put back, but she won't hear of it. :(

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 2:40PM
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kudzu9

I'm not sure there is any solution except to get some able help. To work properly, all smoke detectors need to be mounted on the ceiling or on a high point on a wall, regardless of what type they are.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 2:41PM
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bizzyli

Thanks so much. I wonder, if I hard wired and just didn't put in the back up battery would the alarms still work? Assuming the wiring worked.

I've seen some comment here about only really needing the alarms in bedrooms. Is that true most places? My house is a two story shoebox and one in the hall is less then 4 feet from the one in each of two bedrooms. The other end of the 15- 20 foot hall is the same way except the second room is a bath. Between the two ends are two rooms each with alarms. That's 8 just upstairs. I think there are 6 downstairs.

Trying to find out which battery is beeping has become the central focus of my at home time. Is hard wiring very expensive? Do I need to find a contractor or can an electrician do it? Thanks for any and all info.

Li

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 3:54PM
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bus_driver

In many places, the fire department will send someone to help with battery replacement- at no charge. Placing smoke detectors low is not good practice.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 5:17PM
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brickeyee

A hardwired unit without a battery is liable to beep incessantly.

A missing battery looks like a dead battery.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 5:19PM
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smithy123

couldnt u just solder wires to the + and- to a transformer plug in the utility room?

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 7:23PM
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kudzu9

I would be disinclined to modify smoke detectors...

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 3:02PM
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texasredhead

There is no good solution that you are not going to argue about. What about light bulbs in ceiling fans or in ceiling fixtures or in a closet,or,or,or? Now, unless these people are feeble or infirm or have 12 ft. ceilings, have they expressed this concern to you? If any of these issues exist, the only sure thing is for you or someone else to help!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 3:34PM
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smithy123

IT IS JUST TO FEED THEM POWER, NOT DAMAGING THEM IN ANY WAY. AS LONG AS THE POWER IS ON, THERE WILL BE NO PROBLEM. THEY WILL THINK THERE IS A BATTE3RY, AND WE WILL HAVE NO PROBLEM.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 3:35PM
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Billl

They do sell sealed lithium battery smoke alarms for a few extra dollars. The manufactures claim they last 10 years. You would still have to put them up once, but then you are done for quite a while.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 4:05PM
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DavidR

Bill, that's a good idea. I've also seen 9v lithium batteries intended for existing smokes. Not cheap at something like $10 each, but maybe worth it for the long term peace of mind.

The battery in a hard wired smoke detector is there to make sure it can still warn of a fire in a power failure. Replacing that battery with a line-powered adapter defeats that purpose. No way would I ever suggest that.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 4:27PM
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bizzyli

Guys, thanks so much for discussing this. I will try the fire department here and look into the long term lithium batteries first, then work on finding an electrician to see if the house can be hard wired.

It sounds like hard wiring is the most sensible long term solution. I'm glad I brought this to you, I've learned a lot. Once the house is wired, I'll try Smithy's suggestion and let you all know if the alarm beeps without the battery or just if the battery is dead.

Many thanks to you all, and
DON'T FORGET TO VOTE on Tuesday
Li

    Bookmark   November 1, 2010 at 10:10PM
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brickeyee

Even hard wired smoke detectors have a battery that WILL need replacement.

Even lithium batteries have a shelf life.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 9:23AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

It sounds like hard wiring is the most sensible long term solution.
Even hard wired ones have a battery in them that will in time start to beep.

I suggest you get new ones and place them hanging on a nail high up on a wall, where you can then get them down to access the battery more easily. To avoid having to do that sometime in the night, just replace the batteries 'regularly' before they wear down and start to beep...like once a year put in fresh batteries.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2010 at 4:01PM
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higgins

I work with some non-profit organization who replace smoke detectors and batteries for the seniors at not cost to them.

From time to time, the smoke detector companies provide the fire departments with FREE smoke detectors, which in turn get installed by one of the local charity groups! So start with your local fire department and see if they have such a program. Or, they may be able to tell you if there is a charity group that does provide that type of service to seniors. Also, check with some of the local church groups as some have a group of gentlemen who provide that service at no charge to the senior!

Several yrs ago we received a pallet of smoke detectors that had the lithium batteries and was a sealed unit. When the unit stopped working i.e. 10 Yrs., you replaced the unit!

Now we recently received some wireless smoke detectors for use in older homes that do not have hard wired detectors. When installed, if one unit goes off, they all will go off! And for the life of me I can't remember what type of batteries they used. Sorry!

Hope this helps!

AL

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 4:08PM
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smithy123

do you live in higgins, higgins? just curious.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2010 at 5:41PM
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