Healthier Living | Child Safety | Eco Friendly Tips

Barbara Staib, President of Safe Home Products, is an expert on child safety, emergency preparedness, pet training and even pest control. She has personally helped thousands of customers since SHP started in 1999. Here you can find Q&A with Barbara to foster safer, healthier and simpler living.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Replacing 12V Propane Gas Alarms in an RV or Trailer

Question about replacement 12 volt propane gas alarms for a motorhome.

Q:" How do I choose the correct 12 volt propane alarm for my motor home? The brand that was in my motorhome is no longer available?" Thanks. Joe

Answer: Currently, we are selling Safe-T-Alert propane alarms, USA manufactured, that meet all RV standards. Unfortunately, we are unable to locate a manufacturer that sells a unit with the third wire, that one that closes the propane gas valve if a leak if detected.

Choose a unit by answering these questions:

Is the current propane alarm mounted flush with the wall? If so, measure the opening. The units we sell are:
  • 30-442 (Flush Mount)Case Dimensions:6.375"W x 2.875"H x 1"D
  • 40-442RV Flush Mount Gas Alarm: Case Dimensions Recessed portion = 3"H x 4"W. Depth = 1 1/8". Flush mount portion = 4"H x 4 7/8"W. Screw Holes = centered, 4 1/2" apart.
Is the current propane alarm surfaced mounted, ie. not flush with the wall?
  • 30-441 (Slim Line Surface Mount): Case Dimensions: 6"W x 1.875"H x 1.5"D
  • 40-441RV Case Dimensions: Bottom (where mounted) = 3"H x 5 3/8"W. Top = 3"H x 5"W. Depth = 1 3/8". Screw holes = centered, approx. 5" apart.
Do you want a brown unit?
  • 40-442A-BR is chocolate brown and a flush mount. The 40-441A-BR is the corresponding surface mount unit.
  • The 30-441A=BR is the chocolate brown surface mount propane alarm and the 30-442A-BR is the chocolate brown flush mount model.
What is the maximum amp draw you want?
  • Both the 40-441 and 40-442 draw 46 milliamp (0.046 amp.)
  • The 30-441 and 30-442 draw 76 mA. This 30-442 can replace the CCI-7770 Propane Alarm that is discontinued.
The warranties are longer on the 40 series units. If you are interested in the product manuals, we have them listed below the pictures of each product.

I hope this helps answer your question. We do recommend that you test your propane alarms and your RV carbon monoxide alarms at least once per month.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gas Alarms to Monitor Land Fill Methane Gas

Question about the product Safety Siren Pro Series Combustible Gas Alarm

Q: "I work for a disposal company with a maintenance building located on an old landfill. Recently, an employee complained about a gas odor. We had a professional inspector come in who reported a small amount of methane gas was leaking into that building. We need 6 gas monitors for that building. Is the Family Safety Gas Monitor the best choice? We've check with local authorities and there is no code that specifies we must install commercial monitors. " - Dave

Answer: The Family Safety Products gas monitor meets all the UL1484 standards and would meet your needs if you have an electrician install electrical outlets in each room that are within 6 inches of the ceiling. That is because methane is lighter than air and tends to puddle above a leak. Most standard electrical outlets are about 18 inches from the floor so this unit would not detect gas if installed that low. One advantage of this unit is that it has a tamper proof feature, a hole through which you can put the outlet cover screw and keep the unit installed.

If you do not want to install the electrical outlets, then I recommend that you purchase 6 of the Safe-T-Alert 40-411AC gas alarms and install them. These units feature a 65 inch cord so you can mount them nearer to the ceiling without installing new electrical outlets. Since this is a maintenance building, you may already have outlets higher than 18 inches from the floor. Or you can use an extension cord.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Saturday, August 30, 2008

Natural Gas Leak Detector Coverage Area?

Question about methane gas detectors for homes.

Q: "What is the coverage area for the natural gas leak detectors you recommend?-Judy"

Answer: Giving an exact coverage area is not possible for a variety of reasons. The best we can say is that a natural gas monitor be mounted near every potential gas leak source. Natural gas is lighter than air and rises to the ceiling above and near the gas leaking appliance. Even inside your home there are air currents in a room due to air conditioning or heating ducts, differences in temperature in a room (warmer air collects near the ceiling, cooler air settling to the floor).

Instruction manuals recommend that a natural gas monitor be mounted near the gas source for the most accurate detection. Mount the detector within 6 inches from the ceiling or on the ceiling at least 6 inches from the wall. Natural gas pools above the source gas, kind of like a stalactite begins from the ceiling of a cave.

We sell two brands of natural gas alarms that are easily installed because of the long cords. Two brands are UL1484 listed for use with natural gas and propane gas and also work with gasoline fumes and butane fumes. These are the Safe-T-Alert 40-411AC and the CCI Natural Gas Alarm with Battery Back-Up. We sell another unit by Safety Siren Combustible Gas Alarm by Family Safety Products that requires that an outlet be installed near to the appliance at the proper height.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Which Gas Detector Do I Need? I Have Anosmia.

Q: "I have anosmia, i.e. I have lost my sense of smell. We have natural gas heat, a natural gas water heater and a natural gas cooking stove. I cannot smell a gas leak. Which gas detector do you recommend?"

Answer: Currently, we sell three brands of combustible gas alarms.

Two brands are UL1484 listed for use with natural gas and propane gas and also work with gasoline fumes and butane fumes. These are the Safe-T-Alert 40-411AC and the Safety Siren Combustible Gas Alarm and the Safety Siren CO and Combustible Gas Alarm.

The advantage of the Safe-T-Alert is the long cord for proper positioning of the detector, i.e. high and near the appliance for natural gas and low and near the appliance for propane. We also sell the Safe-T-Alert in a 230VAC unit for Europe and Asia. The Safety Siren unit is a direct plug in with a safety tab that the outlet plug screw goes through so the unit cannot be easily removed. Most customers who buy the Safety Siren model install an electrical outlet at the proper height for natural gas or propane.

The third brand is fine tuned to be either propane specific or natural gas specific and features a battery back up in case of a power outage. The CCI Propane Gas Alarm and the CCI Natural Gas Alarm and Gas Detector are these two units. Propane has a lower flammable and lower explosive level than natural gas and thus this alarm goes off at a lower concentration level.

All our combustible gas alarms sound at less than 25% of the lower explosive or flammable level of the gas.

Please contact us if you have further questions or are interested in our gas shut off valve system that is activated by a combustible gas alarm.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Will a Radon Detector Detect Outgas from Granite?

Queston about the SM-RAD-PRO3Safety Siren Pro 3 Radon Gas Detector.

Q: " Will this detect radon outgassing from granite countertops? Thanks. Diane.

Answer: First, here is some information found on August 6. 2008 on the Marble Institute of America's website: "Radioactivity in Granite: It’s Natural. All rocks have a small amount of radioactivity in them due to the presence of minerals that contain radioactive elements uranium (U), thorium (Th) and potassium-40 (40K). Because granite typically contains more of these elements than most other rocks, it will be more radioactive than a slate or marble. All of the minerals in granite contain some radioelements; the white or pink feldspars contain 40K, the black biotites and horn-blendes contain 40K, U and Th, and the small inclusions of minerals such as zircon, apatite, sphene, etc. contain the most U and Th."

My response to your question is that the outgassing of radon from granite countertops would have to be significant to put enough gas in your kitchen or bathroom to be a health hazard. Installing the Safety Siren Pro 3 in rooms with granite countertops would detect outgas from granite just as it would radon seeping in from the ground.

The health risks are much higher from radon seeping into your basement or home from the ground. If you live in the Northern half of the USA or in areas designated on the EPA radon map of the USA as high radon areas, your concern should first be to test your basement or first floor if you have a crawl space for radon. The Safety Siren Pro 3 Radon Gas Detector has proven to be quite accurate if positioned at the proper height and in the proper location.

Home radon gas levels are not stable. Over a one-month period, radon gas readings can vary from safe to dangerous. Radon levels change due to humidity, temperature, ventilation and season. EPA currently recommends corrective action if radon levels exceed 4 pCi/L (4 Pico-Curies per liter) on a long-term basis. For these reasons, a continuous monitor is better than periodic canister tests.

Go to our website for more information.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Has the Pro 3 Radon Gas Detector been EPA evaluated?

Question about the product Product Code: Safety Siren Pro 3 Radon Gas Detector, SM-RAD-PRO3

Q: "The EPA states that "persons and companies should not represent themselves, their products or their services as "EPA Listed" or "EPA Approved" or "Meets EPA Requirements" or otherwise imply an EPA sanction." Please provide verification that the radon detector has been "EPA evaluated" as stated in your catalog. "

Answer: Per the actual product manual: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Radiation and Indoor Environments National Laboratory (R&IE) has approved this device for radon measurement."

This is a very popular product especially as more becomes known about the cancer dangers from radon, a colorless odorless gas released from soil, water and now reportedly from some granite countertops.

Thank you for your question. Please read the manual on our website for more information.

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Minimum Battery Voltage for a Gas Alarm?

Q:"What is the minimum battery voltage, below the nominal 12 Volts, that the Safe-T-Alert SM-STA-30-441RV requires for operation?" Thanks. Craig.

Answer: This propane gas alarm for recreational vehicles requires at least 7 volts to operate. This is the slim line surface mount unit with a case that measures 6"W x 1.875"H x 1.5"D. If you have the room, you might want to consider the Safe-T-Alert 40-441RV as this propane alarm operates on 6 volts to 16 volts with a very low current draw of 46 milliamp (0.046 amp.).

Hope this helps with your decision.

Sincerely, Barbara

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Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Learning Propane and Carbon Monoxide Levels in a Home

Q: Hello Barbara,

I am interested in knowing the level of propane, methane, and CO in my
home. We burn propane and wood as fuel for heat, and are having some
health problems that may be related. Do you have or know of such
products?

Please advise.
Regards,
Al

Answer: Dear Al,

Safe Home Products does not sell home monitors with digital readouts to tell you the exact levels. Most communities have home testing companies with sophisticated equipment to test your home over a period of days.

We do sell 120VAC carbon monoxide alarms by Safe-T-Alert and 9V battery operated carbon monoxide alarms and 12V hard wired security system carbon monoxide alarms by Costar that will alert you to carbon monoxide levels that are dangerous. Carbon monoxide can cause health problems as well as asphyxiation by suffocation. We also sell propane and natural gas alarms by three manufacturers, Safe-T-Alert, Safety Siren and GasAware that will alert you to raw gas leaks before levels reach those where explosions or fire will occur. If you are worried about gas leaks from your furnace or other appliance, we also sell gas leak detectors with automatic shut off valves by CCI Controls.

We do recommend that you have your propane using appliances checked at least once a year by a professional and contact your propane supplier if you suspect a raw gas leak inside or outside your home. Remember our mission statement is "A Safer Life Starts Here."

Sincerely,
Barbara

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Monday, November 5, 2001

Using the Safe-T-Alert Gas Alarm in France

Q: "Regarding the SM-STA-40-411-230. I would like to know if this product is suitable for France. I don't see France on your web page. Can we plug it in in France? Thanks."

Answer: Yes, this is the version for countries that use 220VAC to 240VAC power. As you see, it has the two round pronged plug that directly plugs into outlets except in Great Britain.

Thank you for your question. Please contact us if you need additional information about any products.

Sincerely, Barbara

Comment: The STA-40-411 (40-401) uses the latest microprocessor technology available in a propane and natural gas (methane alarm). The Underwriters Laboratories approved residential/RV usage only for propane gas and methane gas. This unit also detects acetone, alcohol, butane and gasoline fumes, all of which be present in your home.

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Friday, October 13, 2000

Coverage area and locations for gas alarms

Q: "I just purchased & received two testers from Safe Home Products and I have a question. I have one of them in my basement which is approximately 1700 sq.feet. Will the tester detect any gas in that area or just a small area around the tester? Also, I only have outlets near the ground, will gas by the ceiling be detected? Thank you.Deb "

Answer: Deb, I looked up your order. I see that you purchased a Safe-T-Alert 40-411 gas alarm and a Safety Siren Combination CO and Combustible gas alarm.

  1. Both monitors have combustible gas sensors.
  2. Your basement is too large for either one or both units to detect gas laks in the entire area of 1700 square feet.
  3. The placement of the gas alarms depends upon whether your gas supply is from natural gas or propane gas.
  4. For detecting a propane leak, the unit must be mounted both near the floor and near the propane using appliance.
  5. For detecting a natural gas leak, the unit must be mounted near the ceiling and near the natural gas using appliance.
  6. Proper installation of the direct plug in unit may require using an extension cord or installing an electrical outlet in the proper place.

I hope this answers your questions. Feel free to contact us for more information.

Sincerely, Barbara

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