Is there a smoke/carbon monoxide alarm that is dark?
July 16, 2013 1:14 PM   Subscribe

I need to add some hardwired combined smoke/carbon monoxide detectors to my house. I like it to be very dark when I sleep and so I would like to install alarms that do not emit light (either steady or blinking) during normal use. Does such a thing exist?

I'm ok with glowing lights, sirens, strong wind, or whatever else when the alarm actually goes off. I would like it to be dark the rest of the time.

First request: if you're thinking you should give me a lecture about how the alarms simply MUST have a glowing LED so that you know that they're working and it's OMG UNSAFE to have a an alarm without a light, rest assured that I have already received this lecture multiple times. Perhaps you could consider that when I remove the alarm from the wall because the light is driving me crazy and I can't sleep, that is less safe then having an alarm without a light.

Second request: please don't suggest putting tape or paint over the light on the detector to block it, I've tried that and you can still see the light.
posted by medusa to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Have you tried black friction tape? Put it all over the display extending past it. That way it will block the light completely. (can also be used with your hockey stick.)

The other option is to put the detector in the hall.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:30 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

Electrical tape. I have electrical tape on every single blinking light in my house.
posted by sanka at 1:33 PM on July 16, 2013 [6 favorites]

Blu-tack a coin over the light.
posted by pont at 1:45 PM on July 16, 2013

If tape won't work well enough, remove the cover and put the tape directly over the LED. Get all around it as well.

If that still doesn't work bend the LED to one side, take a pair of small cutters, and snip one leg of the LED. Except for the most rare design, the detector will still work even if the LED is broken.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:46 PM on July 16, 2013

Yeah, sorry, I also came here to suggest electrical tape on the blinking light. It's the only thing that worked on the OMG-SO-BRIGHT lights on the baby monitor that I have next to me when I sleep.
posted by CrazyLemonade at 1:49 PM on July 16, 2013

I use electrical tape on electronics, too, including my CO detector and smoke alarm.
posted by zeek321 at 1:54 PM on July 16, 2013

I smashed the led light on mine. Friggning light was hard to get at and took a while for me to get it to the point where it would not light up, but worth it.

It still works fine as I set it off the other day burning dinner.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 2:01 PM on July 16, 2013

Well why do you need one in your bedroom? Put one just outside the door, and in all the other appropriate spots depending on the size of your place.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:01 PM on July 16, 2013 [2 favorites]

For what it's worth, a First Alert model C400 battery-operated CO detector is what I rely on, installed adjacent to my propane stove and the inboard engine. I just replace the batteries when it starts beeping.

And I know it works; it's gone off when I had insufficient cross-ventilation below while I was underway under engine power.

Unfortunately I have no positive advice to give you: every hardwired unit I have seen has a display and likes to glow. I realize your insurance probably requires hardwired units that have not been modified or tampered with.
posted by Kakkerlak at 2:11 PM on July 16, 2013

Well why do you need one in your bedroom? Put one just outside the door, and in all the other appropriate spots depending on the size of your place.

This. My landlord is a firefighter (and was a responder at the WTC on 9/11 if that lends any extra credence) and while there are CO/smoke detectors and fire extinguishers all over the goddamned place, there aren't any in the bedrooms.
posted by phunniemee at 2:22 PM on July 16, 2013

The other option is to put the detector in the hall.

In many states, code requires a smoke detector in every sleeping room, as well as in the hall. It's only generally enforced during inspection for a building permit though.
posted by LionIndex at 2:24 PM on July 16, 2013

I respectfully disagree with everyone in the thread who has suggested putting the detector in the hall--and as a fellow firefighter, shame on phunniemee's landlord. The building code LionIndex mentions is that way for a reason--cf the NIST smoke alarm analysis (pdf).

That said, as someone who also cannot sleep with light in the room, I put duct seal around the LED on the detector in my room, similar to pont's suggestion with blu-tack.

I will check with my electrician and fire marshal buddies to see if there are hardwired smoke/CO detectors currently made without LEDs, but I doubt there are.

Whatever method you choose, please ensure that you test your smoke alarms regularly.
posted by skyl1n3 at 3:29 PM on July 16, 2013

I have this smoke detector and it does not have any kind of light on it. It is battery powered, though, not mains, and just does smoke, not carbon monoxide. It lets you know when the battery is low by beeping every so often - perhaps you could look for one that has a sounding alert rather than a visual one.
posted by Jabberwocky at 3:39 PM on July 16, 2013

There's tape and then there's tape. You, my friend, need the latter. Don't give up so easily.
posted by wutangclan at 11:39 PM on July 16, 2013

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