Advice on Smoke Detectors

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oneleaf
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Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by oneleaf » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:54 pm

I have some Firex smoke detectors that are hardwired with battery backup, but I just realized that the green LED has never been on, which indicates no AC power. The connectors, wire nuts, and breaker are all in good shape, so I do not know what is wrong. It looks like I might have to get an electrician to come take a look at it, which could cost quite a bit. I could also just leave these in place, and remove the batteries, and simply buy some battery-only fire alarms and stick them next to it. I could also simply keep using these fire alarms and diligently replace the batteries, if it would be no different than using a battery-only fire alarm.

I was wondering what people here would recommend for taking care of this issue? Is it worth hiring an electrician to get this hard wired?

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sdsailing
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by sdsailing » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:58 pm

I'd get the electrician. The advantage of the wired units is that they communicate with each other so that you are more likely to hear the alarm in a large house. Also, presumably they communicate with the fire dept?

The extra protection is probably worth the cost, at least of the initial visit.

soboggled
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by soboggled » Wed Sep 21, 2016 3:59 pm

I wouldn't.
Also: "The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) – the largest firefighters union in the U.S. and Canada – recommends photoelectric smoke detectors. During their 2008 conference, the IAFF adopted an official position recommending only photoelectric smoke alarms and stated that dual sensor alarms are no longer acceptable. The technology used in ionization smoke detectors leads to a delayed warning in smoldering fires, which can lead to greater loss of life. Ionization detectors are also weaker in high airflow environments, so the delay may be even longer. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at warning of smoke from smoldering fires and are less susceptible to nuisance alarms. To be safe, the IAFF and other safety organizations recommend homeowners replace all ionization, dual sensor, and unknown alarms with photoelectric smoke alarms."

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oneleaf
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by oneleaf » Wed Sep 21, 2016 4:17 pm

Thanks for the responses. I should mention this is a small condo and we can hear any and all fire alarms from any room.

Soboggled, would you recommend a battery-only photoelectric one to replace and just leave the existing alarms alone and unarmed?

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Salty1
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by Salty1 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:16 pm

Why not replace it with 10-Year Lithium Ion Battery Operated Ionization Smoke Alarm ? $19.95 at Home Depot
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Code-One-10- ... /203728679

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by jabberwockOG » Wed Sep 21, 2016 5:50 pm

Check fuse box first for the existing detectors. Might be just a fuse.

I'd recommend replacing with a mix of photoelectric and ionization style detectors, either wired or battery only. Homedepot sells replacement photoelectric detectors at reasonable prices in either wired or battery only style. I just installed two of these and they went in pretty easy.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Hardwi ... /207019142

sixty40
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by sixty40 » Wed Sep 21, 2016 11:55 pm

My home is older and only had one hardwired smoke detector. Instead of wiring the other rooms I bought battery only (wireless) ones for each room and they are sychronized so when one goes into alarm they all do. They are by Kidde but others make them as well. So if you decide not to rewire, you can get sync wireless ones. Also some come with a 10yr non replacable battery if you so desire, but I have not seen these sync'd.

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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by bnes » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:03 am

If it's a small condo, does the HOA take care of life safety?

You really want to get this fixed. A simple voltmeter can tell you if the wires up there are hot. You want to test the detectors: press one, see if the others beep. Swap several units and see if the problem is the detector or the ceiling wiring. Upgrade to photoelectric if you can. Stick with one brand for assured compatibility.

There are wireless to hardwired gateway alarms, but in your case that sounds like overkilling the wrong problem.

mmmodem
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by mmmodem » Thu Sep 22, 2016 9:33 am

I bought a new home in last year with hard wired smoke detectors. You still have to replace the batteries even if they are hard wired as batteries expire on their own. I've replaced the batteries on 1 smoke detector this far. In my previous home that isn't hard wired, I remember having replaced the battery twice between 2008 and 2015. That's roughly 2.3 years between changes.

I don't consider hard wired any safer as any room in the home will hear the alarm. When the battery is low a loud audible and extremely annoying chirp is heard every few seconds. It is so annoying that at 2 AM in the morning, I got up and contemplated disconnecting the smoke detector. But since I was already up I thought the better of it and rummaged through drawers for batteries.

neilpilot
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by neilpilot » Thu Sep 22, 2016 10:37 am

sdsailing wrote:The advantage of the wired units is that they communicate with each other so that you are more likely to hear the alarm in a large house.
Not true. I have a 4800 sq ft 2 story home, with 5 smoke battery-operated alarms that communicate among themselves wirelessly. They seem to work as advertised.

No, they do NOT communicate with FD.


https://www.amazon.com/First-Alert-SA51 ... +Detectors

whomever
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by whomever » Thu Sep 22, 2016 12:38 pm

Either wired or battery detectors are OK, but I'd want to know why the detectors aren't working; I don't like wiring anomalies.

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by jabberwockOG » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:38 pm

whomever wrote:Either wired or battery detectors are OK, but I'd want to know why the detectors aren't working; I don't like wiring anomalies.
Good advice - possible problems with AC house wiring should be checked.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 1:51 pm

Check code.

In my town, detectors have had to be hardwired (bbu is now also required) since I bought the house in 1992. Not sure how far back the requirement went.
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Kenkat
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by Kenkat » Thu Sep 22, 2016 2:11 pm

soboggled wrote:I wouldn't.
Also: "The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) – the largest firefighters union in the U.S. and Canada – recommends photoelectric smoke detectors. During their 2008 conference, the IAFF adopted an official position recommending only photoelectric smoke alarms and stated that dual sensor alarms are no longer acceptable. The technology used in ionization smoke detectors leads to a delayed warning in smoldering fires, which can lead to greater loss of life. Ionization detectors are also weaker in high airflow environments, so the delay may be even longer. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at warning of smoke from smoldering fires and are less susceptible to nuisance alarms. To be safe, the IAFF and other safety organizations recommend homeowners replace all ionization, dual sensor, and unknown alarms with photoelectric smoke alarms."
Why would you want to replace dual sensor alarms (which as I understand it include both photoelectric and ionization sensors) with single photoelectric sensors? Even if the ionization sensor portion was completely unnecessary, it seems like it would still be equal to a photoelectric only detector. Are they worried about people unplugging them because of false alarms?

TN_Boy
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Re: Advice on Smoke Detectors

Post by TN_Boy » Fri Sep 23, 2016 11:38 am

kenschmidt wrote:
soboggled wrote:I wouldn't.
Also: "The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) – the largest firefighters union in the U.S. and Canada – recommends photoelectric smoke detectors. During their 2008 conference, the IAFF adopted an official position recommending only photoelectric smoke alarms and stated that dual sensor alarms are no longer acceptable. The technology used in ionization smoke detectors leads to a delayed warning in smoldering fires, which can lead to greater loss of life. Ionization detectors are also weaker in high airflow environments, so the delay may be even longer. Photoelectric smoke alarms are more effective at warning of smoke from smoldering fires and are less susceptible to nuisance alarms. To be safe, the IAFF and other safety organizations recommend homeowners replace all ionization, dual sensor, and unknown alarms with photoelectric smoke alarms."
Why would you want to replace dual sensor alarms (which as I understand it include both photoelectric and ionization sensors) with single photoelectric sensors? Even if the ionization sensor portion was completely unnecessary, it seems like it would still be equal to a photoelectric only detector. Are they worried about people unplugging them because of false alarms?
The IAFF liked the photoelectric because they were *much* faster detecting the smoldering fires (it was 15 minutes or more, I think). Okay, so why not both types? I *believe* that testers were finding that the dual sensor devices didn't trigger as quickly as photoelectric only for smoldering fires though I don't recall why. That's my recollection from when I was researching this issue a while back.

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