Sunday, February 13, 2011

About that spider...

So, I led off the last post with a suggestive title about a spider, but didn't explain. I was pretty bushed when I wrote it and decided I get back to it later.

Here we go:

In the wee hours of Saturday morning, sometime around 3:00am, Nancy and I were fast asleep when we were jolted awake by the piercing wail of the fire alarm. In a flash we'd opened windows in case there was an accumulation of CO (which our units detect, along with smoke). We didn't smell any smoke and couldn't sense anything suspect in a quick survey. The alarm stopped in a few seconds.

We then spent a short time locating the written directions that we'd stored away. Nancy rooted around out in the yurt and found it. Upon examination we discovered it was the Spanish edition. Caramba! No sign of the English version.

Next up we found our model on the Internet and we're able to understand the blinking red light next to the "smoke" label. A push of the button cleared the unit back to green. While up on the ladder examining the detector I noticed a small brown spider perched in one of the small openings to the interior. Nancy had read through the various possibilities for a false alarm and among them was the presence of insects. It seems this little critter was the source of our troubles.

The electrical code requires hard wired alarms on each floor of the house and there is a battery in each unit in the event of power outage. Because we have a boiler and propane gas cook top in a very tightly built house we had Felton install CO/smoke alarms on each floor although the requirement was something less, perhaps only a CO detector in the vicinity of the boiler and smoke alarms in other areas.

I tried to get the spider but had no luck. As far as we can tell, he or she is still there and I'm not sure what we're going to do about it. This event got me wondering if there might be a fine-mesh screen around the alarm that wouldn't interfere with it's function. I'm going to write the manufacturer and ask about that.

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