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So far so good! Comparison to Kidde Nighthawk
on May 15, 2012
I purchased this alarm to replace Kidde Nighthawk Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Alarm which died exactly 5 years after the initial purchase. This alarm provides audible and visual signals for carbon monoxide concentrations over 30 ppm. The display shows carbon monoxide concentration in 0/30/70/150 parts per million steps. It does NOT register any level lower than 30 ppm as they are not considered harmful.
In the few months I had this alarm I like it better than Kidde Nightwak. Both alarms are plug-ins with battery backup and digital display. In this review I will compare the key differences between the two alarms in my experience with them. I am attaching a collage of three photos under customer photos that I will be referencing in this review.
1. Both alarms use 9 volt battery as a backup to the plug-in. Replacing the battery in First Alert is much easier than in Kidde Nighthawk. Photo #2 shows battery compartment o First Alert. Inserting the battery was easy. The connections were easy to make and they felt firm. Kidde Nightwak was finicky and the alarm chirped as you tried to make the connections, so I always had to wear ear plugs as it was too unpleasant to have the noise so close.
2. First alert battery compartment door slides in better and stays in place. Nighthawk was always a bit loose.
3. The messages in the display window are abbreviations not numbers like Nighthawk, so it is easier to tell what it tells you without looking up what numbers mean in the manual.
In photo #3 I show the back of the alarm, which contains abbreviation for the messages that the alarm can display.
- ALARM when CO present: four beeps / red led flashes rapidly / display shows CO then PPN value
- Replace battery: one beep per minute / red led flashes once a minute / display shows bat
- Malfunction, replace alarm: three beep per minute / red led flashes three times a minute / display shows Err
- End of life, replace alarm: five beep per minute / red led flashes five times a minute / display shows End
4. The chirping can be silenced either for 8 hours (e.g. when it needs a new battery) or for several minutes (while you are working on it).
5. This unit seems less leaky than Nighthawk. Nighthawk even when it was plugged in seem to drain the battery every few months. So far I am still running with the original battery. I will post an update when it needs to be replaced.
6. This alarm is much lighter than the Nighthawk so it stays where I put it better (it is not mounted on the wall but using an extension cord).
7. ***UNDOCUMENTED FEATURE***: when the alarm runs on a battery without being plugged in it display "bat" in the window (see Photo #1). Since on the back of the alarm it says that "bat" indicates that the unit needs a replacement battery I thought they shipped me an alarm with a dead battery. However, when I plugged the unit into the wall the "bat" message cleared.
8. First Alert display uses black and white LCD display. Kidde Nighthawk display display the information in glowing red. Black and white LCD display is harder to see from a distance, especially because I have the alarm placed in a darkish corner. However, I predict that the battery usage of First Alert will be better because it uses LCD display.
From installation notes: CO alarms (unlike smoke alarms) should be installed low in the room. If the detector is placed in a long hallway (more than 40 feet or 12 meters) each end of the hall way should have a detector. They should not be placed near a fan as blowing air could interfere with detection of CO. Putting the detector in direct sun light will shorten its life. Humidity and dusty area also interferes with detection so the alarm should not placed in the bathroom, garages, unfinished attics.
Maintenance: The instructions recommend vacuuming the unit cover once a month using a soft brush attachment. Do NOT perform wet cleaning. It also recommends frequent tests test/silence button. The test is recommended to be performed once a week.
I could not find any warranty information for CO614B model. It is not mentioned on the packaging or on the First Alert web site. I did find a warranty and info page for CO614, which has a 7-Year Limited Warranty. Sounds like CO614B is a new version of it. The picture of CO614 looks the same as CO614B. If you are looking for the website it is www firstalert com and look for the model number CO614. This will bring up the product page with 2 tabs: Features and Specification.
So far so good! I will update this review when I will need a replacement backup battery.
Ali Julia review