Friday, June 12, 2009

The saga of the fire alarms.

Well, I figured I'd explain the slight comment rant I had in James' blog. See, when I first moved in, the original fire alarms were a bit gummed up and useless since everyone who's lived in this place for the past 10 years or more before me were smokers (it really is amazing how much mess that leaves behind... many thanks to my family who spent like a week cleaning the place before I even got here - before you say the landlord should have done it, the landlord is my uncle). So, first thing when I moved in, we had to get new alarms. And, since there were no CO alarms and I have gas appliances, this would have been important even if not for the existing fire alarms being worn out and whatnot.

The ones we got, I thought were great being a combination unit of CO and fire alarms. Two types of beeps rather than the annoying talking ones, which I preferred - I can still tell the difference in the middle of the night, on NyQuil and groggy. I'll get to that later.

Anyway, first month or so goes by fine. Then I start getting false alarms like mad. For one unit it was always the fire beep. For the other, the CO beep. The fire one was easy enough to figure out - sniff around, if nothing smells like it's burning, we're good, shut it up, go back to bed. For the other one, it was a bit more of a pain. Open the windows, make sure the furnace isn't on (thankfully on an ignitor, not a pilot light, so when it's off, it's off), open the oven to look down and check the pilot flame (since unfortunately it IS on a pilot light), check the burners to make sure everything's as it should be, shut the alarm up, shut the windows, go back to bed. Or, once when the alarm wouldn't shut off, pack up the cat, head down to parents' house, come back in the morning tired as hell.

After a few times of the CO alarm giving me false shrieks (because at that decibel level you can't really call it a beep), my dad came by, taught me how to check a 9volt battery on my tongue, and voila, I was now armed with the ability to shorten my checking time.

By now the alarm that always screamed fire when the battery died had gone kaput and given me the alert it was time to replace the entire unit (only maybe a year to a year and 1/2 after I bought the thing, and the first time I had EVER heard it actually chirp). So whenever the CO alarm went off, the first thing I checked was the battery. This cut down on my manic running around time, which is a plus since no matter when you change the battery, apparently there is some unspoken rule that says it must go off at 2am.

But about 2 months ago, it decided the battery was going to start draining every 2 weeks. I don't know if this was an issue with the alarm, the batteries, or both, but... I've lost a lot of sleep over the past several weeks, between alarms and allergies and whatnot.

Two nights ago, after I was already dead tired from allergy-related things waking me up, the alarm goes off again. Get up, check the oven, check the battery. Battery is dead. Go to put in another. Battery is dead right out of the box. Put in another. Go back to bed.

Alarm starts chirping.

And won't shut up.

Mind you this is now the only alarm in the house.

I decide it's not working right anyway, rip out the battery, and decide I'd rather sleep and risk dying of CO poisoning than get suck awake the rest of the night.

Of course, since I'm typing this, I obviously did not die. I now have new alarms (not the combination units anymore since apparently they only make the talking varieties now), of a DIFFERENT brand, with a 10-year guarantee.

And I will probably wake up tomorrow (assuming I ever fall asleep tonight) wondering why I wrote such a boring post.

Please keep in mind it's nearly 2am, I can't sleep, I'm very tired.... and forgive me. lol

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