A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: Fearing Fire

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16 April 2015

Fearing Fire

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Thanks to Westside Wholesale for providing the supplies for this review post.  All opinions are my own.

When we moved into a home with fireplaces, I was thrilled and petrified.  On one hand, fireplaces are beautifully functional and offer a backup when the heat goes out in emergencies.  They also raise the risk of household fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke damage.  For many nights when we first moved in, I would lie awake in bed, picturing all the various escape routes in case of fire. Over and over again I would picture fires going astray.

Both a blessing and a curse , the fireplaces weren't quite ready to be used when we moved in.  One was blocked with plywood and another had a completely broken flue.  For most of the winter, we didn't even attempt a fire.  Once the fireplaces were functional, I needed more security before lighting that first match.  I went a bit overboard with smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors (both important with fireplaces) and today I am going to share my results with you.  Here are the devices I tested, ranked in order from my favorite down.

Night Hawk Carbon Monoxide AND Smoke Detector

Kidde Smoke Detector with "Hush" Button

First Alert Battery Operated Smoke Detector

Westside Wholesale Selection of Carbon Monoxide Detectors


 This is the Night Hawk Carbon Monoxide AND Smoke Detector.  Main advantage?  It covers BOTH concerns with fireplaces.


That singular advantage makes it one of my top picks. Other advantages include a "smart" interface which reduces nuisance alarms and the alarm is a "voice" so you know whether the threat is carbon monoxide or actual smoke.  It is pricey compared to many, but for a high smoke area, like the kitchen, the Night Hawk is the right choice.




This one is inexpensive compared to many other devices, and though it is a small thing, 
that top-loading, spring-pop battery slot is so convenient. Also -- a great "HUSH" button.  Totally necessary.

The smallest of the group is the detector pictured at the top of the post -- the First Alert Battery Operated Smoke Detector


It's smallness allows it to be discrete and seamless for modern designs.  It is fairly expensive (at around $20) and the battery is a CR2.  One battery is included, but replacing it is a bit more difficult than the other devices.  If a modern look is your main concern, this is the device for you.  Otherwise, I would choose a different detector.


Last on the list is the Kidde Plug In Carbon Monoxide Detector w/ Battery Backup, a great detector that plugs directly into the wall.  The ONLY reason it is last in this list is because it will not detect smoke, only carbon monoxide.  The thing is, many households across America HAVE smoke detectors already, but many DO NOT have carbon monoxide detectors.  Both are important and carbon monoxide is a serious deal, particularly in homes with fireplaces.  It can also be emitted by common household appliances.  Not to scare you, but for more information on this odorless gas that can silently kill, READ MORE HERE on the CDC website.   Please, if you do not have one, please get one.  


One more important reminder: 
Follow the instructions in the user guide on your particular device for a replace by date and DO IT.

A Nest for All Seasons Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Ranking

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