Building Codes Drive Demand for Combo Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A trend across the United States to update building codes to require carbon monoxide (CO) detection for hotels, nursing homes and other commercial sleeping quarters is driving significant growth in sales of Silent Knight by Honeywell’s combination smoke and carbon monoxide detector, SK-FIRE-CO Detector.

Tragedies involving CO poisoning and general public awareness of the potential danger has resulted in nearly 40 states putting into place code requirements for the installation of CO detection in commercial sleep facilities. Silent Knight’s multi-criteria detector comprises four separate sensors that look for smoke, CO, light/flame and heat to quickly identify and verify a true fire event. Combining the two devices along with a common sounder base eliminates the need for building owners to install separate fire and CO detectors and associated equipment.

“Silent Knight’s combination fire/CO detector is a more cost-effective and simpler solution for commercial sleep operations to meet these new safety requirements,” said David Pakech, vice president of sales for Silent Knight’s IntelliKnight line. “The demand for this product has been exceeding our initial expectations.”

According to installers, demand for the combination devices is popular for a broad range of commercial sleep operations.

“Multi-dwelling facilities like apartments and hotels are asking for CO detection. Daycare centers are as well,” said Don Johnson of Camtek, Inc., based in Spokane, Wash. “We’re seeing new and remodels, even small remodel jobs, requesting that CO detectors be put in.”

New building codes related to CO detection went into effect in 2013 in Johnson’s service area, and largely stipulate that the detector must be connected to the facility’s fire alarm system. According to Johnson, “gone are the days of plug-in detectors for these places.”

Johnson also noted new construction projects, including a new hotel he will be fitting with a new fire alarm next month, are prime applications for combination smoke and CO devices, like the SK-FIRE-CO. When compared to a common installation requiring smoke and CO detection, the SK-FIRE-CO Detector and its compatible B200S Sounder Base, replaces multiple devices, including a CO detector, a smoke detector, a mini horn, monitor modules, three junction boxes and all of the wire associated with each. Fewer devices equal lower equipment and labor costs, with the added benefit of a cleaner appearance.

“Anywhere you have a fuel-burning appliance – a water heater, gas furnace, stove, fireplace – you need CO detectors in and around that space,” explained Rob Androbus from Ohio Valley Monitoring, LLC, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

One of Androbus’s most recent CO detection jobs involved a three-story fraternity house where 16 CO detectors were installed just outside each unit’s sleeping rooms. And while that job’s requirements centered on code, Androbus notes that a number of major franchises are putting their own CO detection mandates in-place.

“Many big hotel chains and others are making all of their facilities comply with their own stringent standards when it comes to CO detection. We’re even seeing smaller, older hotels upgrading their detection,” said Androbus.

University housing and hotels are two prime segments where both local and national fire alarm codes generally require two different tones to distinguish between a fire and CO event. The SK-FIRE-CO’s sounder base (B200S) meets this criterion, in addition to its ability to be synchronized to nearby horns.

Working in concert with the entire line of available IntelliKnight fire alarm systems, the B200S Sounder Base can be programmed as a single station alarm, to sound an alarm in just one room of an apartment, for instance. Likewise, if smoke or CO is detected by multiple detectors within the same living quarters, the sounder bases can be programmed for a multi-station alarm, which will activate all sounders within an area for a general evacuation of a specific zone or an entire building – an ideal solution for healthcare facilities.

“Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are leading the pack down here when it comes to needing carbon monoxide detectors,” said Monte Guerrette from Mid-State Fire & Systems, regarding the central Florida region. “And it’s mostly code pushing demand here.”

Multi-criteria detectors are a necessity for healthcare facilities, to avoid nuisance alarms from disturbing staff and patients. To verify a true fire emergency, the SK-FIRE-CO Detector analyzes four criteria: smoke, CO, light/flame and heat. Due to its high rejection rate of nuisance alarms, the SK-FIRE-CO is also ideal for challenging smoke detection environments, such as night clubs with theatrical smoke, and construction areas containing large amounts of dust.

All Silent Knight equipment is built on a non-proprietary platform and sold through security wholesalers nationwide, ensuring competitive pricing and readily available parts. The SK-FIRE-CO is the ONLY combined fire and smoke detection device available through the security wholesale market.

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