657 of 665 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I bought two of these after another cheaper carbon monoxide detector had alarmed in the middle of the night. I had read some reviews of the other carbon monoxide detector having false alarms and convinced myself it was probably a false alarm but I opened windows to air out the house.
I got these two days ago and they alarmed the first night. I opened the windows and deduced that it was probably my tankless water heater which was recently installed and failed inspection. It is scheduled to be brought up to code this week.
To prove my theory I made sure the central heat was off for a day and we hadn't used the clothes dryer for a few days and I put one of these detectors in the laundry room where the tankless water heater is installed. We have one of those large jacuzzi style baths in the master bathroom (hence the need to have the tankless) and we took a bath last night. When we were done the alarm was going off. I had done some minimal research before doing this test and knew that too high of a level (12,800 ppm) can kill you instantly after just 2 or 3 breaths. I had read that 400+ can be lethal. Wikipedia states 800 ppm will cause dizziness, nausea, and convulsions within 45 min and you will be insensible within 2 hours and 1600 ppm can kill you in 2 hours. So I went downstairs to see what the reading was.
I held my breath and went in. 875ppm is what it read. I called 911 and the firemen came.
My wife, 2 year old, and 2 month old were upstairs and in a room with the windows wide open. They came in and took their readings. They said they are not allowed to work in an environment where the levels are above 30 ppm without respirators. The windows had been open for 15 minutes and they were still getting readings over 70.
Later, we compared what their professional monitor said to what the my 2nd First Alert Carbon monoxide detector was reading (remember I bought two of these). Their reading matched exactly what this unit displayed. So you can trust these devices.
Please trust your device. Thats what you bought it for. Call 911. Open windows or get out of there. The long term affects of Carbon Monoxide exposure can cause heart problems, learning disabilities, and many other terrible things. I am now worried about what this has been doing to my family over the last 4 months since the water heater was installed. Like I said I have a 2 month old....
I have posted a picture of the unit reading the max value from last night.
460 of 495 people found the following review helpful
Pierre François André Méchain
- Published on Amazon.com
See recent reviews by others (especially Robert Oppenheim) as well... We just got two of the redesigned ones and indeed they have dropped the remote control feature (good thing) and that would make them deserving of 4 stars, however, they also changed the Peak Level recording, automatically deleting it every 24 hours--that's a bad thing for several reasons and leaves my rating at 3 stars:
1) The peak level resetting should be under user control.
2) One wants to know if, say, during the past week, there was an excessively high reading. Given how it now works, you cannot find that out!
A 24-hour automatic clearing of a bad reading hides potentially dangerous, even lethal situations. (Unless one becomes obsessive about checking this every day!) In this day and age, they really should have a small memory and track days and peak levels!
Here are some other updates--and First Alert deserves credit for listening to some of the critiques.
1) The manual, well it is really a pamphlet, is more readable now.
2) The warranty has been upped to 7 years.
3) They greatly improved the packaging.
Alas, the way the unit is designed means it still wobbles on a nightstand or bureau; the battery cover still doesn't work very well; the CO level still shows up only if one presses the button (and that's a tricky press); the battery symbol still suggests that one is on battery power--they really need a dual indicator for that. In fact, it would be better if you had to press to get the battery level, but that the current CO level would always be displayed. (It's now the reverse.)
Unfortunately, there's another problem. The darn thing glows in the dark and lights up an entire room. It makes it nearly impossible to keep it in a bedroom. We miss the comfortable soft red light 0 of our old Kidde model immensely (but their newer ones seem to have BRIGHT RED lights now).
I would have been happy to give this 4 stars, especially given the various improvements, had they not adopted the 24-hour peak level reset. Oh, well.
I have updated my rating and review to include CONSUMER REPORTS' FINDINGS. It was top rated by them. That initially improved my rating, upping it to four stars. Well, we're now DROPPING it back down one. We discovered that the remote control "feature" (which we had viewed as a gimmick in any case) is not one! Turns out, that if we press the Mute button on our remotes (just press, not even holding them down), the darn CO alarm goes off! The remote test operation is only supposed to happen if you hold down the volume or channel button for FIVE seconds.
We bought this to supplement our Kidde Nighthawk CO detectors, the 900-0234 curved model with a 7-year warranty (we didn't want to put all our eggs in one basket!). The First Alert looks to be a fine CO detector.
Here are some positives:
1) It has the plug on a wire, so that you can put the detector somewhere other than right in the outlet. That's helpful as outlets can have other adapters in them making it hard to plug it in or be behind something rendering the CO detection harder.
2) It can be tested or silenced with a remote (hold down the volume or channel button for 5 seconds) (our Tivo remote worked!). (Some of their other products with the remote features have received critical reviews as regular remote operation has set them off!)
3) Operates on AC with a battery backup (2 AAs)
4) Batteries ARE included!!
5) A biggie! Consumer Reports rated this much higher than the Kidde brands. It's better at detecting low levels of CO.
Here are several negatives:
1) 5-year warranty unlike the Kidde's 7-year. [This has apparently been upped to 7 now, but check with the company.)
2) A "manual" that's a huge, cumbersome, folded sheet, with small print that's blurry and hard to read. They should supply a magnifying glass with it! This is a major concern as one needs to refer to the text for installation, for operation, to determine what to do under certain conditions, etc. [This also supposedly has been improved.]
3) Yes, one can park the detector on a bookshelf (with the cord going to the outlet), but the detector itself wobbles! The previous Kidde CO detector Nighthawk model--the COPP-3 -- has the plug on a cord feature, along with a nifty slide out stand that makes it stable. (We had good luck with that model, but many did not. Plus, it's an older model, with only a 5-year warranty which is why we went for the 900-0234).
4) The CO level only shows up if one presses a button. It's a cool blue light, but unlike the Nighthawk's red LED that shows you the current CO level at all times (a reassuring 0), this displays a blank screen with a recessed green light. For some, it could be a plus as it would be less intrusive especially as the Kidde's red LED seems to be much brighter on their latest model.
5) The detector displays a battery icon when it's plugged into AC and the battery is installed! That's unnerving as it makes it look as if it's running on the battery! Very odd design choice, as in most of the electronic world, that's an indication that you are running on battery power and no longer on AC (take any laptop, e.g.).
6) The test alarm didn't seem as loud as the Kidde's.
7) Battery cover is the front of the device, which the manual didn't explain or illustrate, and it doesn't shut well--or rather, it's awkward and you feel as if you're about to break the lightweight plastic parts.
8) One other issue, which plagues all the CO detectors and many other products on the market, is the infuriating, hard plastic packaging. It's hard to open and I even cut myself on it. There are alternatives that are just as secure but much friendlier to the environment and the customer!
In comparing the two (Kidde Nighthawk 900-0234 and the First Alert CO615), the advantage on first glance clearly goes to the Kidde. It just seems a more professional, better designed, and better thought out product. Part of that is because we're used to the Kidde design and like the red LED, but it also seems more solid (the First Alert has the seemingly fragile/flimsy cover), and has a higher quality, usable manual--it's a real booklet that's more readable and better organized (it also has a bigger font than FA's, but still could be larger).
UPDATE--OTOH, I'm a believer in most of what CR does--and the testing on these--and the user reports here and on the web--suggest that it is the better detector. And, after all, that's what one buys these things for! However, we're not going to be able to use this in our bedroom as the Mute button sets off the alarm!
92 of 100 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
I ordered and received this item timely from Amazon. The product was well packaged and the directions for use were easy to follow. The product is nicely constructed, easy to use, and seems to work well. I like the fact I can push one of the buttons located on the front of the unit to see if the unit has picked up any CO levels from the area it is located. It is designed to plug into a wall electrical outlet and also has a battery backup. The unit is small and appears out of the way when it is plugged in and being used. So far, the two units I bought are working well so I give this product a rating of 5 stars.
Update: Jan. 14, 2011 - I have now owned two of these devices for over two years and each one is still working just fine. I have had to replace the back up battery on each just once a year, which is fairly standard, so the devices seem to be well built and last.