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There's no fire without smoke!
Smoke detectors are one of the most essential accessories your home will need, but are often the last thing you think about! You would normally spend hundreds of thousands of dollars either buying, or designing and building your dream home and then, reluctantly, install large unsightly smoke detectors throughout - well not any more!
The Danish designed CAVIUS miniature smoke detector is a welcome change to the traditionally large and unsightly smoke detectors we have had for years. It is easily and securely fixed to the ceiling, offering early detection of a home fire with a loud piercing audio alert when smoke is detected and... they just look good! Being so small and aesthetically pleasing you don't mind placing it where it will work best - right in the centre of the room.
CAVIUS is the world's smallest photoelectric smoke detector but contains some big features.
• Aesthetically designed
• A penetrating sound at 85 dB(A) at 3 metres
• 5 year long life battery
• 10 minute pause option
• 30 day low battery alert
• Easy installation
• Environmentally friendly
• New Zealand Building Code Compliant
I have always been a proponent of smoke alarms, and also a vocal hater of the useless ones you get at most stores. With today's advances in sensing tech, surely SOMEONE had to have come up with a better unit? Sure enough, here it is finally available to Joe Q Public. But don't let the price put you off - it's a smart investment, and the tech means batteries last a heck of a lot longer!
Naturally, I wanted to see if this was going to pass the "poached eggs test", where poaching eggs near the sensor causes it to fire off and scream it's little speaker off. This is caused by one of two things:
- One type of cheap sensor simply measures the air density by firing an infrared beam at a sensor across a small gap - steam is water vapour which is more dense than air and it scatters the beam in a manner similar to smoke, so off it screams...
- Another type of common sensor just detects heat - steam is hotter than the ambient air, so off it screams too...
This sensor is different. It detects ionisation in a little chamber located behind the silver grill. I can't speak to the technicalities of this process - clearly it is of some worth and thus intellectual property worth protecting - but I can say... it works! Mild steam did nothing, even taking it into the shower room with scalding water streaming down in a freezing cold room - thus generating maximum steam - did nothing... but as soon as I waved a burning piece of paper near it and the smoke wafted in it's general direction, my ears nearly burst with the noise this stylish little beauty set forth.
Good placement is the key to all detectors' effectiveness - yes, even more so with the cheapies. Regulations require an alarm to be no more than 3m away from any bedroom door, and with a sufficient noise level to wake a sleeper even with the door shut. 99% of alarms on the market wouldn't come close! Which is why good practice is to have an alarm in every room, a couple in hallways and most certainly running along the main escape routes. However, one of these little beasties outside a bedroom door is going to wake you, even with the door shut unless you happen to live is a stone mausoleum or something.
Battery life is also a key factor... there's nothing more annoying than trying to sleep while a mournful bleep-bleep-bleep goes on and on at Ungodly O'Clock in the morning. This unit takes a slightly more expensive battery - about $12-$15 from your nearest electronics store - but it averages out to a 5-year lifespan, making it far cheaper than 2 years of 9v batteries replaced every 6 months. On top of that, you get a whopping 30 day low-battery warning period. Add to that the ability to shut it up for 10 minutes in 'pause' mode if you really need to have open flames nearby and aren't too keen on bleeding eardrums, and you have a very user-friendly and cost effective device that manages to do a stunning job yet be elegant, stylish and very discrete.
I have had my test unit installed in the hallway now for quite a while, and we have had guests come and go frequently. Not one has noticed it, despite the fact that it is far whiter than the cream ceiling paint. Placing it near the central light fitting not only makes it vanish from casual sight, but also allows me the peace of mind of knowing that it will alert me in case of an electrical fire at the socket... which frankly has been of concern since I moved into this place but I can't seem to convince the landlord of the importance of it.
Overall, the price IS a bit of a put-off, let's face it. We've become so concerned with the cost of having such devices and forgotten the cost of NOT having them. What price can one put on the life of your child(ren), guests, and yourselves too? If I had the money, I would buy 10 of these and have them spaced 2m apart along every walkway and 1 in every room, toilets included. A $600 investment now may save the cost of replacing everything I own, and even save me the loss of 1 or more loved ones. It's a no-brainer really.
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