Fire Angel smoke alarms are an alert system to warn you of fires in your home
We have had a load of different fire alarms over the years including expensive radio linked alarms. Our most long lived and problem free so far is the Fire Angel Toast Proof Smoke Alarm. According to Fire Angel these are the alarms used by 96% of UK fire and Rescue services.
There are several different types of detector available each one suits different purposes. This detector is an optical type alarm which tends to not generate false alarms such as when cooking. So while you don't generally put alarms in kitchens this type can go in adjacent rooms without being set off all the time by normal cooking fumes. They can however be set off by humidity although of all our alarms this particular one seems to be the least affected by it.
It is a neat and unobtrusive disk shaped detector with a large central button and small oval openings. The alarm has a base which is screwed to the ceiling and the body of the disk simply twists on.
This version is supposed to last 10 years with normal usage however obviously it may vary and you still need to test your alarm regularly.
It will also signal when the battery is going flat.
We've found that this optical alarm version is the most reliable of the Fire angel range as we've had the others from the range but they have developed problems quickly.
Each fire alarm is approximately £30.
I think for this budget level then this is a good option.
We used to have two smoke alarms in our house. Both were very old and the one near the kitchen would alarm out if neighbour 3 blocks away lit a cigarette (an exaggeration, it was VERY sensitive though!). We decided that the best idea after redecorating the hallway was to arrange for the local fire service to fit new alarms. This alarm is the model we had fitted and instead of changing the batteries every year the unit has a built in battery that lasts 10 years. We were told we must arrange for a replacement battery to be fitted when the battery was low.
These smoke alarms are optical, which means they are less 'sensitive' to the cooker being turned on, and they are also better in that they can detect slow burning fires more easily compared to the cheaper ionised versions. The alarms are in a clean white colour, and are much flatter to the ceiling than my old alarms. They look more subtle and have a larger light than just a single LED like my previous smoke detectors.
I think visually they are easier on the eye, and they do a better and more stress free job than my old fittings. I would definately look at replacing old units with these because it is widely known that many homeoowners remove old batteries and forget to replace them. It is better to be safe than sorry.
I guess everyone knows how important it is to have a working smoke alarm and if you have the little battery operated ones the key thing is making sure that the batteries are replaced regularly. It is a chore that I don't always remember and it isn't until it starts beeping that I remember I ought to have bought some batteries.
Anyway I decided it was time to replace the smoke alarms I had as the old ones were over 20 years old and the plastic was looking discoloured and shabby. I went on a shopping trip to see what was available on the market these days.
I discovered that there is 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.
I had already bought a couple of ionisation ones that plugged into a light fitting and I thought it would be wise to also buy an Optical one that I could use close to the kitchen which wouldn't be triggered into alarm mode anytime I just overdid the toast a bit. Whilst in B&Q I saw the 'Fireangel SO-610 Toast proof optical smoke alarm' which it seemed would fit the bill quite well so I purchased it.
Out of the box
This little alarm looks much the same as many others on the market but it doesn't have batteries to replace every year. This '10 year life smoke alarm' is powered by an internal lithium-ion power pack. In order to avoid unnecessary use of the power pack prior to installation the alarm is supplied with the power pack in a deactivated state. This struck me as a good idea because you don't want the 10 years to start running as soon as it is manufactured and sitting on a shelf somewhere. The power pack is automatically enabled when the alarm is correctly attached to the mounting plate.
The mounting plate has a small magnet on it and you must ensure the magnet is in position prior to attaching the alarm. That wasn't a problem as I could see it was firmly in place. The 10 year alarm has been designed to prevent installation on the mounting plate if the magnet has been removed.
The smoke alarm comes with a very comprehensive instruction leaflet which shows exactly how to install it but in truth it isn't difficult. It fixes with two screws to either the ceiling or the wall. If you are fixing to the wall you need to make sure the arrow is pointing upwards so that the vents can pick up any combustion products in the air. In order to make sure you activate the alarm properly you just align the centre vent with a cross on the base plate and turn the alarm through 90 degrees to lock it into position. Once you have a done that a little red LED flashes once every 40 seconds to show that it is working correctly. There is a test button on the alarm to check it on a weekly basis.
My alarm cost just £11.98 from B&Q which is dearer that the battery operated ones however when you consider the cost of replacing batteries every year this one works out far cheaper. The downside is that once the lithium-ion pack fails you need to replace the alarm but if it lasts 10 years that shouldn't be too much of a hardship.
Would I recommend it?
Yes I would, it was simple and straightforward to fit and needs minimal maintenance in use. I don't have to worry about replacing the batteries each year and the little red LED gives me a visual indication that all is well with the alarm. The test button is easy to operate and the whole unit looks very neat.
The initial outlay may be more expensive but there is no need to keep buying expensive replacement batteries.
This review has also been published on Ciao by laramax