Smoke detectors for the elderly

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went
friend,
I already bought him one of those for his phone, but he mostly doesn't see it. After reading through some of the sites that readers suggested, it seems he's not the only one who doesn't react to flashing lights. Some figures suggest as few as 1/4 of the people using them reliably react to light. Since posting my first question, I found an alarm that will suffice that's got a low-frequency horn that sounds a little like a truck backing up. Very audible.
-- Bobby G.
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...

Great! Congratulations! May your old one live longer than any of the rest of us!
NOW -- how about telling THE REST OF US what BRAND it is, WHERE you GOT it, how much you PAID for it, etc.
If only one of those, how about the BRAND, the NAME of the thing?
Please.
David
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I have the same problem with my amplified phone. It's a trimline, the volume control on the handset. The ringer is some high pitched chirp that I can't hear with my hearing aids out. I put a splitter, and an old mechanical Ma Bell phone, which I can hear sometimes.
I know of no low pitch smoke alarm, though that's much needed.
--
Christopher A. Young
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I gave him a flashing phone last Christmas and it's not very effective. That's why I didn't want to go that route for a smoke detector. He has plenty of hearing left, it's just all low frequency sounds. He's given up on his hearing aid, too, because he can't stand the constant background din. I've learned to make sure he can see my lips when I am talking because I know he's doing a fair amount of lip reading. I do have some old Bell dial phones around that I could give him because I believe he doesn't have a good, solid mechanical phone that works through (frequent) blackouts. That would kill two birds with one stone. Good idea, thanks!
-- Bobby G.
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Our local tv station did a story a few years ago about small children not waking to the loud hi-pitched alarms. They even did a test and showed several small kids sleeping right thru an alarm right in their rooms. They showed one that actually had a recorded voice of the child's mom yelling for them to get up and get out of the house and kids seemed to hear and respond to that. Here's a story on 'talking smoke detectors':
http://www.doityourself.com/stry/ara_talkingsmokealar
You can get more with a Google on 'talking smoke detectors'.
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Mark wrote:

I have slept through smoke alarm when it awoke everyone else in the house. That alarm used to sound the first time or two that the furnace came on in the fall - accumulated dust burning? No smoke detectable to us.
When my kids were young teens, they used to have their radio on very softly at night, tuned to pop music station. There was a very popular song at the time that had a background sound that sounded like "maaaaa"; I normally could barely tell the radio was on in their room, but I would wake at night when that song played. My subconcious thought my children were calling me :o)
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On Sat, 03 Oct 2009 17:41:49 -0400, " snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net"

OT but my mother was a widow and took comfort that her sons lived at home, me in highschool and my brother in medical school. She was more worried about getting sick than about intruders.
It was expected to stay out late, 2 or 3 for the hs graduation dance. I came home about them and found my mother asleep so I went to sleep too. She woke up and called my name, for a while iirc, and neither I nor my brother heard anything. We just kept sleeping. I think the same thing happened another night. So much for the security she had thought we gave her. (Tben I went off to college in another city and my borther went off to an internship.)

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<stuff snipped>

I have too, yet, oddly enough I am the one that always wakes up to the once a minute chirp of a low battery signal. I think a lot depends on what stage sleep you're in when the alarm sounds. I say that because I can remember my dreams actually relating to an alarm sound that woke me up, as if the sub-conscience is hearing the alarm while you're dreaming and then "edits" your dream to include a loud siren.

us.
Yeah, all sorts of crap lands on the A-coil when it's wet and by the time you start running really hot air over it from the furnace on the first cold day it starts a stinkin'. I live across the street from a firehouse and the first really cold night will have maybe 10 alarms running for smoke smell calls.
> When my kids were young teens, they used to have their radio on very

Pretty funny. My mother had a similar, though less positive reaction to a song by the Doors called "The End" where Morrison sings: "Father, I want to kill you, Mother, I want to . . ." which on my recording, at least, was unintelligible, but was really:
http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id#1
she asked me "Bobby, what is he saying?" "I dunno Ma, he's just howling." (-:
-- Bobby G.
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A followup to this thread about low frequency sounders in smoke alarms and this unit:
http://www.firstalert.com/carbon_monoxide_alarms_item.php?pid $
One problem I've noticed with the unit I've put in the basement is that it occasionally interprets the turning on of the fluorescent lights as an IR pulse that you would send to self-test the unit remotely. Not a big problem, and one rectified by placing it so that the worklights don't shine on it directly, but I'd thought I'd mention it. On the plus side, the unit is loud enough that we can hear it at night in the bedroom upstairs from the floor below.
-- Bobby G.
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Robert Green wrote:

Just wanted to say I appreciate the follow-ups (so many times I follow an interesting thread that just dies off and I wonder what happened). My parents are gone, but I've told several people about this concern and potential solutions. Strange, but I know that as people age they don't hear higher frequencies as well, and I knew (when I thought about it) that the smoke alarms are pretty high pitched, but I never put together that older people might not hear the smoke alarm.
(Me, I think I have all modes covered - I have two herding type dogs that bark at whatever they think is important which includes things like telephones and doorbells, and of course falling leaves. And when they bark they woof and they jump on and off the bed. So I figure I have high pitched, low pitched and excessive vibrations... not to mention a cold nose in my face if something goes off when I'm sleeping! Of course, I do get false alarms during thunder storms).
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<stuff snipped>

I have a squealing, high-pitched alarm (still working!) made in 1980 so the problem has taken 30 years to solve. I suspect changing anything involving detailed standards like smoke detectors is a slow process. The insides of new alarms look like they were designed 20 years ago with very few IC's and lots of discrete components. I suspect once a design gets "blessed" by all the various regulatory agencies there's very little motivation to change it and restart the approval process. Just a guess, though.
My dog can always be found cowering the bathtub during a thunderstorm. I don't know why she does it: you would think that the sound would reverberate in the tub, but for whatever reason, at the first clap of thunder, she's in the tub. On the positive side, she's beep attuned. We have a sensor on the screen door that sounds a chime whenever anyone opens it. She knows beeps = company = new smells = maybe even some food! If we didn't hear an alarm, I suspect she'd "help" us hear it.
-- Bobby G.
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...
What's an "A-coil"?
Thanks,
David
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David Combs wrote:

This discussion is about a combined forced air heating and cooling system. In a typical installation the air first passes through a squirrel cage fan, then the heat exchanger, then the cooling coil which is often A-shaped. At the beginning of the heating season there is frequently a burning smell from dust, etc. that have accumulated on the heat exchanger or coil during the off-season.
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When did this thread get re-ignited, and why is it about furnaces now? (-: Anyway, Dave, Bob has given you the answer. I'll try to explain further, and no doubt get something wrong, but hey, that's how we learn.
The "A coil" is a very much like the fin & tube constructions you see on the back of refrigerators or inside freezers. Because space in furnaces is tight, instead of a large rectangular grid, they fold it over to increase the surface area. Warm air from the house is passed over these finned tubes filled with cold refrigerant, warming the refrigerant and cooling the air. In the process of cooling, the air gives up its moisture, which *should* flow into a drain but in sick refrigerators and air conditioners, it often shows up on the floor and sometimes gets blamed on the dog. (-:
This process causes a number of side effects. Moisture often forms on the heat exchanger helping it corrode. The "A coil" also tends to trap, all the dust, dirt and hair that make it through the filter and clot on the fine fin work. The exchanger forms a skin of dust because it's usually moist from condensation.
The first time the furnace runs in the winter that dust, hair, dirt and mite laden "shell" on the exchanger "burns" off - not actually, but it's heated to the "stinkpoint" pretty nicely though. If you've got a couple of dogs and bad furnace filtration, as in no electronic air filter, the smell can get pretty hideous. That's when people call the FD. We've already had one round of such fire calls here in MD, but the calls will start when the daytime temps fall and the houses don't retain enough warmth to pass the night comfortably as they do now.
The warmed up refrigerant goes outside where it's compressed again and the cycle begins again. My A/C was installed pre-internet days and I never would have done it (retrofitted an old furnace) had I known then what I know now (ducts were too small and in all the wrong places to support efficient air-conditioning. It was a really expensive lesson, not only for the cost of the unit, but for the increase in assessment and the cost of window air conditioners, which turned out to be a much better idea in many dimensions, at least for our teeny house.
Note: I'm just a Joe Homeowner, so don't believe anything I say unless you also hear it from one of the many experts here.
-- Bobby G.
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When a house has central AC, there is typically an evaporator installed over the furnace. Since the tubes and fins are shaped some what like a capital A, they are fondly called A-coils. The term "coil" is because the early evaporators and condensors were coils of copper tubing.
There are also W-coils, though they look more like M-coils.
--
Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

You forgot the slash coils "/". *snicker*
TDD
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Didn't forget them. I also didn't forget the | coils, or the - coils. Just figured they weren't relevant at the moment. I also didn't forget the 0 coils.
--
Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

Ever work on any of those old condensers that looked like tombstones? One motor and a blade on either end which pulled air in from either side and blew it out through the coil which was like an inverted "U". I think they were made by York but I'm not sure.
TDD
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Two fans, both pushing in? I got to put my hands on one, once. The guy wanted to know how to clean the air filters. And asked about put in central AC. I noticed the evaporator, went out and looked. Sure enough, there's the inverted U unit outdoors. I pushed the slider on the stat, and the AC came on. All the money I saved him!
Can't remember the brand. I've heard those are hell to trouble shoot if one of the motors is blowing the wrong direction.
--
Christopher A. Young
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Stormin Mormon wrote:

It's just one motor, like in a window AC. The shaft sticks out both ends of the motor. I think I know where one is and I may drop by to see what brand it is.
TDD
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