Getting A Self-Charging Smoke Alarm Is Better Than Dying In A Fire

If you are anything like us, and you may well be, you forget to do things like change the batteries in your smoke alarm. Or, worse yet, you remember to take the batteries out when the thing starts beeping, but you forget to replace them. One potential answer to this problem is the self-charging smoke alarm. Simply screw the detector into a ceiling mounted light socket (providing you have one) and never need to change a battery again. This is an especially good idea for places where fires start, but people do not always go, or would not be annoyed by a beeping reminder. Garages, laundry rooms, etc. They’re a bit more expensive than your typical cheap-ass smoke alarm, but may be worth it for the forgetful among us.—MEGHANN MARCO

Self charging smoke alarm [MAKE]


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  1. alicetheowl says:

    My husband and I live in an apartment with the smoke alarms rigged to the electric wiring. It’s handy not to have to remember to change the batteries, but it’s annoying when we accidentally spill something in the oven and can’t turn the dratted thing off.

  2. JuliusJefferson says:

    Smokey the Bear says:

    Remember children, even smoke alarms connected to your home’s electric wiring still has a backup battery that should be checked and replaced if necessary.

    And scene.

  3. orielbean says:

    Julius is so right – how often are fires caused by electrical wiring issues? Those can easily trip the breaker, and if the issue is severe enough where an arc bypasses the breaker, it can cut the whole house feed as well, negating the wired advantage if your backup batteries are dead.

  4. scoobydoo says:

    Smoke detectors are one of those things worth spending some moola on. We got hardwired (with battery backup) interconnected smoke detectors, so when one goes off, they all do. There is nothing worse than a detector going off in one part of the house and nobody close enough to hear it.

  5. homerjay says:

    We have the ones that came with the house- hardwired with backup. Then we installed an alarm and wanted monitored smoke detectors so they had to install another set. While they were at it we had them install a couple of monitored CO2 detectors.

    The air in our house is monitored for everything except raunchy farts.

    Maybe this ‘royal we’ stuff ain’t so bad. I know OUR wife is starting to enjoy it!

  6. WindowSeat says:

    I had a spill in the oven a while back and ended up “turning off” my hardwired detector with a golf club. Ooops.

  7. brilliantmistake says:

    Homerjay, do you mean a CO (carbon monoxide) detector? My sister had one installed in her apt. Just a few weeks later when the weather got cold, it detected elevated CO levels, to the point where the fire department showed up ordered the landlord to fix the heating system.

  8. TVarmy says:

    Alice: We’ve got a hardwired smoke alarm system, too, but if yours is like ours, you’re in for a nasty shock a few years down the line. Although they can run on the power from the wall indefinitely, they start making annoying, loud chirps as soon as their 9V battery backups fail from age.

    Also, I think I should tell everyone that they should outfit their kitchen/other smoky room with smoke alarms that have a nuisance button. Even if you have an old smoke alarm system, the manufacturer probably sells a newer smoke alarm that’s compatible with your system. In some areas, this type is required by law.

  9. Luckily, my HOA requires they be tested every year. They get the fire department to help inspect each unit in my building.

  10. alicetheowl says:

    We’ll most likely be moved out by then, but it’s good to know that’s what the noise is about if we aren’t.

  11. jmco says:

    Answer to all this: Use a lithium battery. They last 10 years which is the maximum age for a smoke or fire alarm before it should be replaced. No battery to replace (unless you have a fire or trigger it alot) and no hard wiring issues or false alarms for all the alarms.

  12. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    It seems like a good idea, but you’d have to use the light enough to charge the battery. I have to wonder how many minutes per month the socket would be on so the thing would actually charge?

    I have the combination AC/battery detectors that are all chained together (3 smoke only and 2 smoke/CO2 detectors), so when one goes off, they all sound. I can literally hear them go off 150 feet away from the house, so it’s unlikely a fire would go undetected.

    As far as the batteries go, I use one of those label makers and put a label on the detector with the date of the last battery change. Since I change all the batteries at once, all I have to do is look at the label on one detector and I know when my year is up.

    I also have additional CO detectors with digital readouts in each bedroom and in the basement. Yes, it seems excessive, but it’s a small price to pay for not dying.

  13. CaptainRoin says:

    It’s funny you should mention this today.

    Last night I heard a strange POP noise from my kitchen and went to investigate. Turns out teh 9 volt battery in my smoke detector had asploded all over the place. We have those hard wired smoke alarms and it set the one in the bedroom off as well when the battery quit. So, just to let you know, that even though the battery looks fine, it still might not be doing its job and might asplode all over you soon.

  14. medalian1 says:

    Who has an exposed light like that in their house (besides the garage/basement)?