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We moved into our current home just over seven years ago. When we purchased it, the previous owner left behind various items such as dirty old carpet (yuk) and 1970's curtains (double yuk) and two perfectly serviceable smoke/fire alarms.
Of course we have worked through the house, redecorating all the rooms now several times over. One thing we only recently replaced though is the smoke alarms as they were in perfect working order (A little bit too perfect if you ask me - cooking toast always set the alarm off).
When we heard the tell tale beep beep in the middle of the night, telling us that the battery was due to be replaced, we decided it was the time to change the whole appliance.
There are many, many fire alarms on the market now, all singing all dancing ones with all the bells and whistles. We decided on the Fire Angel plug in unit primarily because of the simplicity of the fitting and best of all, no remembering to buy and change the battery.
I don't have the technical specifications to hand, as we bought these a couple of months ago so this review is just about the appliance in general. The smoke alarm comes with the basic bayonet style end for fitting in a bayonet light fitting. You simply screw it in, and then screw the light bulb into the smoke alarm.
This alarm is fitted in seconds, with no further attention needed, no batteries and no checking the battery has died without you hearing the beeping. Although ours is a family home, this alarm is perfect for a senior citizens home, where they would be unable to climb up and change batteries.
Once it is fitted, just leave the light on for a few hours, this charges the battery up in the unit. I was informed by the packaging that during the summer months, when you don't need to use your lights so much during the longer days, the appliance may beep to let you know the batteries are running low. Recharging the unit is as simple as switching the light on for half an hour.
I purchased two Fire Angel alarms (one for the top of the stairs protecting us while we sleep) and one outside the kichen, in line with fire regulations. They were purchased from Amazon for the low price of £11.99 with free post and packing. A brilliant bargain, considering my mum, who also had these, paid £24.99 each for hers from a DIY chain.
I think the Fire Angel smoke alarm is brilliant. It's quite sleek and unnoticeable under a lightshade. There is very little or no maintenance needed and it does its job without sounding every time I cook toast.
I am sure we all know that smoke alarms for the home are a great idea but unless you live in a new home and have one wired in then you need to remember to replace the batteries regularly. My smoke alarms are now quite elderly (20 years+) so I started looking at the options.
I discovered that there are more than just one type of smoke alarm. There are two basic systems according to the Fire Service:
*Ionisation: These are the cheapest and cost very little to purchase. They are very sensitive to small particles of smoke produced by flaming fires, such as chip pans, and will detect this type of fire before the smoke gets too thick. They are marginally less sensitive to slow burning and smouldering fires which give off larger quantities of smoke before flaming occurs.
*Optical: These are more expensive but more effective at detecting larger particles of smoke produced by slow-burning fires, such as smouldering foam-filled upholstery and overheated PVC wiring. They are marginally less sensitive to free burning flaming fires.
Alternatively there are combined smoke detectors on the market.
It all sounded quite complicated to me and it would appear that to be fully safe you should either get one of each or a combined alarm.
I was happy enough to have two the only problem being that I didn't want too many things fixed to the ceiling so I was quite pleased when I saw a Fire Angel Plug-in Smoke Alarm in a catalogue.
About the Fire Angel Plug-in Smoke Alarm
Basically this is an Ionisation Alarm that fits into a standard light fitting without any need for DIY skills. If you can change a light bulb you can fit one of these. It fits standard bayonet light fittings and it needs to be in some form of 'open' lamp shade either an uplighter or standard type but it will not work in 'globe' type shades.
It is small enough to fit most lanp shades except for very slim ones. It measures around 5" at its widest point so you would need a light shade with at least that diameter. It also lowers the bulb by around 2" so if you have a very short shade the light bulb would be visible below the shade.
Buying the Alarm
As I said I saw the Fire Angel Plug-in alarm in a catalogue that came with my local paper where they were selling it at £24.99 plus postage. However a quick search of the internet told me that other people were selling it for far less including Fire Angel themselves who sell it via their web site. I found that B&Q also stocked it for £17.98 so I reserved a couple online and then collected them from my local store the following day.
Fitting the alarm is very simple indeed. First you unpack it and remove the battery protection. Then just remove your light bulb, fit the Fire Angel into the light socket and then replace the bulb into the base of the Fire Angel. You will then need to charge the batteries in the alarm and you do that by leaving the light on for 8 hours. After that just one hour per week should keep the alarm fully charged.
I fitted mine in the hall and at the top of the stairs. It works for me but just one word of warning, to test the alarm all you need to do is switch the light on and off quickly so if you are likely to do that with a hall light you will set off the alarm - not good if you do it in the early hours when everyone is asleep! Mind you it does make it very easy to test the alarm.
It is a simple idea and effectively gives you a mains supported smoke alarm where the batteries don't need to be replaced each year as they recharge. If you forget to charge the alarm it will give you warning bleeps to alert you.
Would I recommend it?
Yes I would as I think they provide a useful level of cover in the home especially if you aren't good at remembering to replace batteries. Ideally you should also fit an optical alarm to give you more comprehensive cover. The product comes with a 10 year guarantee but you will need to keep your receipt for that time to be covered as other reviewers suggest that they have had problems with the system failing earlier than that. I can't comment as I have only had mine for a few months.
This review was also published on Ciao by laramax
When beginning this review, I thought I would look up the name of my Guardian Angel. I felt a weird little shiver as I was informed that, because of my day of birth, my Angel is Uriel the Archangel of Justice. Uriel holds scales in his hands and I am a libran the star sign of balance and justice. So Wow! Now that we know that it is idiotic not to have at least one and preferably more smoke alarms in the home, we put up with them sitting attached to ceilings somewhat like miniature Sky dishes and about as pretty. Despite testing mine regularly, I never really feel happy about the life of a battery. In fact, I replace the whole unit every now and again probably without good reason. Not because I am obsessive about fire, as I switch off everything I can before leaving the house or going to bed, but I do worry about my helpless dogs just as others do their family. A smoke alarm gives valuable time to everyone in the household should the unthinkable happen. Yet 40% of people have admitted that they disable an alarm by removing the battery. This means 6 million people have rendered their smoke alarms useless, so I am informed by the Fire Angel website. I have not done this, but my cooking has been known to set off the ear-punishing sound of an alarm, with the addition of the dogs barking to let me know that their eardrums don't appreciate being perforated. The answer is the Fire Angel which needs no batteries and has a life of ten years. More, it takes no more than a few moments to fit and doesn't mar the ceiling. The Fire Angel is approx 5"x 3" x 1 1/4" deep, surprisingly neat and fits snugly into a lampshade. Pale grey in colour it is a plastic material which feels as smooth as bakelite. All you need is a light fitting which is no more than 11" from the ceiling and open top and bottom (in other words not the bowl variety). An uplighter or downlighter are equally suitable. Make sure the light switch
is off and remove the bulb. The Fire Angel will have shipping tape over the business end which is easily pulled off.... after all the sound of constant bleeps from a few thousand smoke alarms would be enough to drive any lorry driver wild! The Fire Angel replaces the bulb (must be the standard bayonet type ) and the bulb then fits into the Fire Angel socket. That's it! No DIY, no stepladder and no unsightly lump of plastic on your newly-painted ceiling. Should the length of the alarm be obstructed by the arms of the lampshade, just carefully pull them apart and adjust. I needed to do this for the one on my landing and no damage was done. The maximum wattage of the light bulb should be 60w, longlife bulbs may be used and there should always be a bulb in place. The Fire Angel has an ionisation type sensor which detects fast and flaming fires and the smoke produced. The clear and comprehensive booklet states that you should also keep a photo electric alarm somewhere to detect smouldering fires. An integral battery is kept charged by the light being switched on for an hour a day. Therefore you need to use a light which is in regular use and then will never need to change a battery. Incidentally, dimmer switches may be used for the alarm as well as the normal light switches. Following the instructions of the booklet supplied, I left the light containing the alarm switched on for 8 hours and this fully charged the Fire Angel for me. After this period I tested the alarm by switching the light off then on again quickly. Two cycles of 3 bleeps ensued and I knew that all should be alright. However, since I knew I would write this review and have a sense of responsibility to my readers, I did something that I would not normally think off. You've got it! I took a deep bowl upstairs and lit a fragment of Jeyes type duster, before dropping it in the dish. This should not be done anyway, but too close to the alarm could contaminate and dam
age it. So, smoking dish in hand I stood a few feet away from the light bulb. A few seconds later the sound of about 50 rape alarms split the air around me in 3 pulse beats. There is a little literary licence here, but it would certainly wake the Kraken. Fortunately both my dogs are going deaf with age and I managed to stop the alarm before they reacted. To silence the alarm I just switched the light on and off again quickly. Unfortunately, by this time the acrid smoke was not going to clear just because I had turned a light switch on and off, so I had to throw open the landing window to give my ears relief. Phew!! The alarm soon pulled itself together and is now quietly sitting in obedient attendance. Should you not use your light for an hour a day, the integral battery will run down and you will hear a single chirp a minute until you recharge. It does seem that the manufacturers have covered everything. "Where do I buy this interesting piece of technology?", you ask. I ordered mine from the find-me-a-gift website and it arrived the next day. The Fire Angel manufacturers, Sprue Aegis, intend total countrywide coverage and they may already be found in Tesco, Waitrose, Woolworth, B&Q and others listed on their website, http://www.fireangel.co.uk. I have also seen these in Sainsburys for the same price I paid. The warranty promises replacement free of charge for the first year after purchase and, for the remaining 9 years of warranted life, the alarm will be replaced for a charge no more than Sprue Aegis' cost. Now for the price . This is not your £5 item. I paid £19.99 + £2.50 delivery. But over the 10 year life of the Fire Angel I know I would have bought quite a few of the cheaper standard smoke alarms. Anyway, I decided it was time to treat myself. I was tempted to take off a star as this is expensive, but decided it really is good value. Many thanks to Carol (Barbieblonde) who announced
her find on chuckleweb and then said she didn't mind me writing an op on it before she did.
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