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First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Review

smoke and co detector

First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm | This is magic in an octagon. The ability to wirelessly set off all the other alarms in the house is an amazing feature. Copyright 2019 Tim Carter CLICK or TAP HERE to get all the specs for this wireless alarm.

First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Review

Smoke detectors have been around for decades now. Carbon monoxide detectors were not too far behind.

First Alert combined the two into one detector and went one step further.

The detector featured in this review, model SC0500, can communicate with other compatible First Alert detectors in your home so if there's a problem in one room ALL of the detectors sound throughout the house.

CLICK or TAP HERE to have this detector delivered to your home in days.

smoke and co detector

This alarm detects both smoke and carbon monoxide. It's battery operated and communicates with OTHER compatible alarms in your home. This is IMPORTANT! Copyright 2019 Tim Carter

smoke and co detector

Here's the detector in its package. There's lots of protection in this for you and your family. Copyright 2019 Tim Carter

When Should Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms be Replaced?

You should replace carbon monoxide alarms every seven years. Smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years. The sensors within the alarms can lose sensitivity over time.

Is it Hard to Install the Alarm?

It's easy to install the First Alert smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. Two screws and plastic anchors are included

Once you liberate the alarm from the packaging, you hold the mounting base with your left hand and rotate the body of the alarm counterclockwise to uncouple the mounting base from the alarm.

Does the Alarm Come with Batteries?

Yes, First Alert includes two high-quality Duracell AA batteries with each alarm. This allows you to have instant protection the moment you install the alarm.

Are the Instructions Easy to Understand?

No. My biggest complaint with this alarm is centered on the overwhelming and hard-to-read instructions.

You'll need a magnifying glass and the patience of Job to make it through them.

In my opinion, this problem lies at the feet of the First Alert corporate attorneys and our wretched litigious society. Far too many people don't want to take responsibility for their negligence or mistakes and are quick to blame others that have deep pockets. The plethora of TV commercials of personal-injury attorneys doesn't help matters at all. But I digress.

I've worked as an expert witness in construction defect lawsuits for nearly twenty years and have had to sit in meetings with attorneys who rattle on and on and on about protecting their clients. Writing out every possibility of what might go wrong, they often feel, will mitigate large damage awards in a lawsuit.

The four pages of instructions in 8-point type size or less were mind-numbing and nearly impossible to read. I'm willing to bet the average consumer REFUSES to even try to read them giving up. This accomplishes nothing and sets the stage for disaster in case the alarms are installed incorrectly.

I had the good fortune not too long ago to review and install a Ring Floodlight Camera. The installation instructions for the Ring Floodlight Camera were the best I've ever seen in my life. It's also a personal security item and the attorneys for Ring might want to reach out to those at First Alert to show them there might be a better way. Or vice versa, but the egos of many attorneys are quite big and the First Alert legal team might feel they have a better mousetrap.

Before you look at the First Alert instructions, take a look at just one page from the Ring Floodlight Camera instructions. Then you be the judge:

ring floodlight installation

Note the large easy-to-read type and the helpful graphics. Copyright 2019 Ring, Inc.

Look at the following four photos of the instructions and pay attention to my business card in two of the photos illustrating how tiny the type is in the instructions. You're looking at 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper here!

smoke and co alarm instructions

My business card has pretty much normal type-size printing. You better have great eyesight, good lighting and the patience of Job if you want to read these instructions from start to finish. Copyright 2019 Tim Carter

Finally, page four of the instructions. Do you really think you could make it through reading all of this? I gave up after ten seconds on page one. Copyright 2019 Tim Carter


First Alert hit it out of the ballpark with this combination wireless smoke and carbon monoxide detector. In my opnion, it's a product I'd install in my own home to protect my family.

However, that said, they need tremendous help with their instructions if they want homeowners to have a positive installation experience.

CLICK or TAP HERE to have this wonderful wireless smoke and carbon monoxide detector in your hands in days.




6 Responses to First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Review

  1. still waiting for a "three in one" alarm, photo-electric, Ionization, and CO2.
    One is a “fast flame” fire, the other is for smoldering fires. ... In tests, ionization alarms will typically respond about 30 to 90 seconds faster to “fast-flame” fires than photoelectric smoke alarms. However, in smoldering fires ionization alarms respond an average of 15 to 50 minutes slower than photoelectric alarms.

  2. Thanks for a first alert (sorry, couldn't resist) on another great product. This will be part of my soon to be replaced units.

    I couldn't agree more with your commentary on what commonly passes for user instructions (including the lawyer-speak). However, this issue has two sides, the second being the general helplessness of many product purchasers who need detailed, step-by-step, recipes. The "apprenticeship" dads used to provide to their kids is limited today. But hey, I'm just one of the "get off my lawn" generation.

    To add to your peeve about instructions, try finding an electronic copy of said instructions. Most manufacturers would be well-served to add a conspicuous url pointing to an electronic document in their instructions.

  3. On spot review. I have four of these installed in my home. They can be programmed to announce which room of ones house is sounding the alarm and the other three detectors announce the room that has the problem. I have never had a false alarm. My prior set of four stopped working. This was announced to me that one of the units didn't work. I replaced all four since they were all over 7 years old. First alert said I should vacuum out each unit a couple of times a year I had never done this so that could be why I received a warning. I of course test them every once in a while and it is reassuring to have each unit announce the location of either the fire or carbon monoxide warning. They are difficult to program. I think I got tips online that helped me achieve this. My house required 4 units to be fully covered, though I think you can have even more of these working in unison if your house is bigger. Will give false alarms if in a garage, so mine is just inside the house by the door to the garage. Also don't put near a gas furnace or water heater, mine is in the room next to these and I don't get any false alarms.

  4. No info on how these communicate with each other. It would be nice to have bluetooth or wifi connectivity so that they could send alerts to your phone, or to the outside world somewhere. Maybe next models.

    • They communicate via invisible UHF radio waves. Each alarm has it's own micro radio transciever. Check with the FCC, or the label on the alarm, with respect to what frequencies they're allowed to operate on.

  5. I recently did a standalone plug in with battery backup co2 detector (backup to my alarm system based units) to replace expired ones. The directions were horrible, yet once you understood how to set it up the effort took about 2 minutes.

    Now I'm a fan of Simplisafe. But I have 2 issues with their latest gear. Mounting holes that are too small and shallow that you can't use decent screws - plus you've got to take the tape off if you use screws. Second, the CO detectors - batteries go dead every few months. You replace them, and a few days later the co detector goes off line. You remove it from the system, put it back in. Maybe you're lucky, maybe in a few more days they go offline again. Problem seems to be at least a year old and they can't deliver replacements. Have you heard anything about the cause or a viable fix?

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