Most helpful critical review
50 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2013
I purchased five of these to replace some of my existing hard-wired BRK ionization detectors (model #9120B). I replaced ALL of my detectors because they contained only ionization sensors, and I learned recently that ionization detectors will not protect my family in the event of a fire. Most people will die in their beds from smoke inhalation before the ionization detectors will go off. There have been news reports about this, but I also delved into the research and came away convinced that I needed detectors that contained photoelectric sensors. To do otherwise would place my family at risk. Why have a whole house wired with alarms, all connected together and in every room, if the system doesn't do what it was designed to do, which is to wake us up before we're dead?
A few observations that might be helpful:
If you are replacing BRK model # 9120B, the existing wiring will plug right into this smoke detector. Just unplug the old, and plug in the new. That said, MAKE SURE TO DISCONNECT THE BREAKER SUPPLYING POWER TO YOUR DETECTORS before unplugging them. And these are a huge pain to unplug. They require that you pry on the tab locking the plug in place with a flat-bladed screwdriver, while at the same time pulling the plug. This is very difficult to do while standing on a ladder. It almost requires three hands... one to hold onto the detector (because it's hanging by the wires so you have no leverage), one to hold onto the screwdriver while prying so the plug can be released from the tab locking it in place, and a third hand to pull the plug. Whoever designed this was clueless. It should be much easier to unplug, such as a tab that can be pushed back with your thumb.
Another HUGE design flaw... The geniuses at BRK decided to change the connecting ring so you will not be able to use the old one. The problem with this is that you will be required to remove the old retaining ring - the plastic ring that is attached to the ceiling and that the alarm twists into - and install the new one. Someone else posted that this was easy. Don't believe it. Why? First, the original retaining ring will almost surely be stuck to the paint. Screw anything plastic tightly against a painted surface for several years and it will stick to the paint - sometimes VERY tightly so that it must be pried off. And when it comes off it will almost surely take some of the paint with it. Second... the geniuses at BRK decided to make the new rings SMALLER in diameter than the old rings! So what you're left with is this: If any paint comes off, it will show. And if the previous owner of the house painted around the alarms (not under them), you'll end up with an unpainted ring about a quarter of an inch wide all the way around the new ring, and that will show - big time. If they were going to replace the ring they should have made it at least equal in diameter to the rings on other models.
To remove the old retaining rings you will need to loosen two screws that are screwed into the electrical box. You don't want to take them all the way out - just back them out a bit, pry off the old ring (because it will probably be stuck to the paint), put on the new ring, and tighten the two screws back up. The new ring WILL fit under the two screws. It's a tight fit, but it does work. Before you start you might want to check and be sure what type of screw is holding the existing ring in place. I got on the ladder expecting a Phillips screw. It was a square.
The alarms seem to work fine. We haven't had any false alarms. If you do have false alarms it's my understanding that power issues can cause that, especially at night. We did have a few false alarms two years ago with our old alarms. We installed a whole house surge suppressor at our electrical panel. I can't be sure this fixed it, but we haven't had any problems since.
These alarms have the manufacture date stamped on the back. I found that the alarms purchased at Amazon were fresher than those purchased at a big-box store. I bought these in early November, and the oldest were manufactured in September, but most were manufactured in October. Locally they were 6-8 months old.