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Just tried to find the models in these tests. There are a lot of new ones on the market and several don't exist any more. Several of the recommended ones have bad reviews for battery life and the only NZ made one Cavius isn't in your test.
Time to refresh these pages
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I would like to know what alarms are good at detecting cigarette smoke from people smoking inside?
I have a first alert alarm with 2009 on it and have just put in a new battery and it chirps as low battery. This does not make sense.
I have had endless problems with First Alert smoke alarms. they seem to work ok, but then start becoming battery eaters. I had someone with a battery tester staying with me at one stage, and he established that the problem was that it had chewed through the new battery in a few days. The noise they make when they think they are low on fuel is unbearable, so I've thrown a lot away and have fewer in the house than I intended. It's a particular problem for me because I have concrete ceilings so installing a new type is hard to do. Have you tested for that sort of problem?
In looking for more current advice than the Consumer 2010 report, I found that the fire service website has a good summary of aspects which appears to have been updated in Aug2011.
It recommends photoelectric, 10 year battery-life models. Install one per bedroom, one for the lounge, and one for the hall. I found some flamefighters for $30 each (google "10 year smoke alarm battery" to find similar) and they have proved to be great little units so far. No more battery changes for 10 years - ka rawe!
Has this photoelectric model been tested? The electrician lost my request for the First Alert SA710CN I had chosen based on your report and put this in without consulting me.
We bought two of the recommended models but have had to change the batteries every couple of months or so. They have all been so-called long life batteries so should this be happening?
You explain that:
"The distributors have now released the OM588H model. This new model uses the same sensor as the OM PE210LL but comes with a cheaper one-year battery (the OM PE210LL comes with a 10-year long-life battery). Retail price is around $13. We have not tested this new model, but have inspected the unit and can see no reason why it shouldn't perform as well as the long-life version."
Your original "Test Results" and "We Recommend" pages reference "PE10LL" not "PE210LL" (the latter is the reference in your notes above) - maybe typos?
Bunnings (Wellington) have available the OM588HC-LL @ $29.45 which includes a "10 year lithium battery". Are you able to make any comment as to whether the OM588HC-LL is likely to be as effective as the PE10LL/PE210LL (ie along the lines of your sensor comments on the OM588H)?