What makes Airis a ‘next generation’ stove guard?
Stove guard technology has existed for many years, although it has only recently become widely used in the UK since we introduced it here in 2014.
We are sometimes asked why Airis can be considered a ‘next generation’ stove guard, which is an important question. Before we answer this, let’s examine what exactly a stove guard is.
What is a stove guard?
Stove guards were invented to keep elderly and vulnerable people safe when cooking on the stove. In the most basic sense, they cut the power to the cooker if there is a chance that a fire may develop. Stove guards conform to an EU standard called BS EN 50615: Particular requirements for devices for fire prevention and suppression for electric hobs (cooktops) – you can find out more about the BS EN 50615 standard here.
In essence, all stove guards are comprised of two components: a sensor, which monitors the stove, and a controller, which controls the power supply. The sensor will send messages to the controller if it detects signs of risk, and the controller will act accordingly. Stove guards prevent fires, reduce smoke, and are partially or fully compliant with BS EN 50615 depending on the use case (see below). However, not all stove guards are created equal.
Differences in stove guard devices
Airis is a stove guard which goes beyond fulfilling this minimum criteria in a number of ways…
Compliant with 900mm-width hobs – Airis is the only stove guard which complies to the BS EN 50615 standard when used on a larger, 900mm-width hob. Others do not.
Greater sensing capability – a stove guard must monitor the temperature of the hob in order to be compliant. Airis does so and goes several steps further by also monitoring human presence, fumes and other parameters. It intelligently combines all these measurements together to simultaneously maximise safety and minimise interference for the person cooking. Additionally, Airis is able to detect if a pan has boiled dry and it will cut the power to stop the contents burning.
Replaceable battery – surprising as it may sound, most stove guard sensors do not allow for the batteries to be replaced. This means that after a few years, when the batteries have worn down, it is necessary to buy an entirely new sensor, which is costly and wasteful. Airis uses two AA batteries which are easily replaced by removing the cover, allowing for another 3-4 years of use.
No learning period – many stove guards feature a ‘learning period’ which is intended to allow the sensor to learn how the user behaves when cooking. However, this presents two problems; firstly, this initial time-frame can be very frustrating for the user because the device may beep often or cut the power unnecessarily; second, it does not take into account the fact that there may be more than one resident who uses the cooker (in student accommodation, for example). This learning period is not necessary with Airis.
Locking feature – Airis provides the capability of ‘locking itself’ when required, for example to prevent a particular user from using the stove, or to stop a child or pet from turning it on.
Self-diagnosis – At the time of installation, if the sensor has not been mounted correctly or any other fault is detected, Airis will automatically pick it up and let the installer know. This is unique to Airis and with all other stove guards any verification or problem-solving is left up to the user, usually involving browsing through a manual and a series of button presses and sounds. This self-diagnosis is not limited to the time of installation, however, and any problems will be made clear at any time during its lifetime. With other stove guard devices these faults can only be picked up by manually checking every device and interpreting sounds and beeps.
Two-way communication – a stove guard sensor, as mentioned above, sends messages to its controller. Usually, though, this is not the case for the opposite direction – the controller cannot communicate with the sensor; the communication is ‘one-way’. With Airis, the controller and sensor are able to communicate in both directions, which means that any faults with the controller are automatically picked up. In addition, all cooking information is recorded, allowing for the retrieval of invaluable data showing the user’s cooking habits, power consumption, and how often Airis has acted, if at all.
Advanced telecare/building management system messages – although some stove guards feature a telecare connection, the functionality this allows is usually limited to sending an alert when the stove guard acts to cut the power. This is important, but Airis has the ability to send other alerts to telecare or building management systems too; for example, if there is a fault or the battery is running low, this will automatically be reported. Furthermore, at any time Airis can be set up to raise the alarm if someone hasn’t cooked for a given time period (for example, three days), or if it has intervened more than a specified number of times, allowing for additional reassurance of the resident’s wellbeing.
Multiple colour options included – when buying an Airis there is no need for guesswork when it comes to choosing a colour to match the kitchen – instead, the cover of the sensor is transparent, and multiple colour inserts are included.
Leak sensor connections – up to four leak sensors can be connected to the Airis controller, allowing Airis to collect data and send any alerts to telecare or a building management system.
Optional auto-reset after activation – once a stove guard has cut the power, it is normally up to the user to press a button on the sensor to reconnect it. If this is not desirable, Airis can do this by itself once the situation is safe.
As it is clear to see, Airis does not take the same ‘bare minimum’ approach of other devices, and goes far and beyond that which is required by the BS EN 50615 standard. Airis is the ultimate stovetop safety device.