1. #1
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    Question Ionization style smoke detectors and the cold...

    We have a "camp" style accommodation structure here (essentially a 3 story hotel built out of portables and housing up to 2000 people) in the area that has been unoccupied for the better part of the summer and has much of its furnaces shut down to cut down on costs.

    This wasn't a huge deal during the summer, but as the temperature starts to drop (below 0C) we're finding we're going over there to disconnect a number of ionization style detectors. Though I would likely suspect dirty elements or dust to be a problem in isolated instances, in the last two nights we've been over to disconnect half a dozen in different wings. Not coincidentally, the temperature only JUST RECENTLY started to drop below 0 at night.

    My suspicion is that as it gets colder these detectors start losing their sensitivity to their own radiation. Maybe the detector thinks ions are binding to smoke particles, causing them to go off? It wouldn't know the difference.

    Anyways- I haven't come across this before... then again, I don't often come upon unoccupied structures with little if any furnace heating operating in sub-0 climates. Anyone have any information about this type of anomaly?


    Thanks
    Ian "Eno" McLeod

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    Ian,

    Check with mfg of the detector web site you will find that most if not all smoke detectors can not be used in temperatures below freezing.
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    Temperatures in the camp aren't quite that low, though outside they definitely are. I'm going to take a look and see if there's an operating range on standard issue ionization style detectors... We've disabled over 2 dozen at this point and there's no end in sight.

    Not sure it'll help anything, mind you... apparently we've got nothing better to do.
    Ian "Eno" McLeod

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    Could there be any steam being created? Showers in the colder weather or cooking, or water heating? Ionization detectors are notable for their response to steam. Is this an occupied camp structure?

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    sorry for the late reply

    you do not state if these are stand alone, or tied into a fire alarm system


    If tied into a fire alarm system they are required to be tested for sensitivity on an ongoig basis.


    If stand alone also you do not stae how old they are, if over ten years than the need to be replaced,

    also there are bad batches of detectors out there

    require a fire alarm company to check them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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