Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

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ram
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Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

My current hard wired smoke alarms are more than 10 years old and I plan to replace them all. I am looking for recommendations for good quality long lasting alarms. I would prefer if they are both smoke and carbon mono oxide alarms.

I am assuming that this would be a easy job consisting of disconnecting and connecting the wires and screwing the base plate into the wall.

I am seeing this on Amazon : First Alert BRK SC9120B Hardwired Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector with Battery Backup

https://www.amazon.com/First-Alert-SC91 ... publish-20
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by jabberwockOG »

For CO detectors, I think you'd be fine with just one or two CO detector per level of your house depending on house size.

There are two types of smoke/fire detectors, 1) ionization and 2) photoelectric. Instead of relying on just one type of detector for smoke/fire, I strongly suggest getting a mix of both types, installed at the usual appropriate locations, for each level of the house. One type is a “fast flame” fire detector, the other type 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. There are also some more expensive smoke/fire detectors that have both detection technologies in each detector.

Just a few seconds reaction time can mean the difference between life and death in a house fire.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by graeme »

Last I looked, CO detectors are best located closer to the floor and there are some long lasting models available that plug into an electrical outlet. We have one in each bedroom.

For smoke detectors, the dual sensor types seem best. Hardwired is nice so one doesn't need to replace many 9V batteries every year.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by Big Dog »

graeme wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:05 pm Last I looked, CO detectors are best located closer to the floor and there are some long lasting models available that plug into an electrical outlet. We have one in each bedroom.

For smoke detectors, the dual sensor types seem best. Hardwired is nice so one doesn't need to replace many 9V batteries every year.
Disagree on both points. Yes, they make plug in CO monitors which can be plugged into a low wall outlet. But a quick google shows that ideally they'll be mounted 5+ feet from the floor and close to any possible CO source.

Also, easier (and recommended?) to change batteries once a year. Can they last longer that one year? Sure, in most cases they will. But it's been my experience, the weak battery chirp always happens at 2 am in the morning.....I'd much rather change the battery as a preventive measure once a year than be awakened from a deep sleep and have to find the step stool to reach the cathedral ceiling to turn off the chirp......chirps........chirp.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by AllMostThere »

I purchased the Kidde product from Amazon. In bedrooms I used "Kidde i4618 Firex Hardwire Ionization Smoke Detector with Battery Backup" and in the main hallway I used "Kidde KN-COSM-IBA Hardwire Combination Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarm with Battery Backup and Voice Warning". These were different brand than those being replaced, so I had to the use the Kidde quick connector to main power. Very easy swap out of the connectors and Smoke/CO units, just couple of wire nuts for the hot, neutral and ground. Just be sure to turn the breaker OFF. :shock: No special tools and maybe 15 minutes each taking my time.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by RickBoglehead »

Get hardwired with battery backup.

Batteries are now ten years on many.

First Alert BRK 3120B is both ionization and photoelectric, hard wired, and has ten year battery backup.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by SpaethCo »

I loaded up on Nest Protect smoke alarms last year as part of a Black Friday $75ea sale. https://store.google.com/us/product/nes ... s?hl=en-US

Combo ionization & photoelectric smoke sensor
Humidity sensor to apply logic to prevent steam from triggering the alarm
CO sensor included

These offer a bunch of nice features, like you can turn them into motion-sensing night lights. The alarm triggers in stages, starting with voice warnings at low levels of CO / smoke, and clearly identifies via voice which detector sourced the alarm. You also get push notifications on your phone when the alarm goes off, and the ability to silence the alert using the app.

Battery health and a bunch of other self checks run constantly, and it does an alarm speaker test once a month. If the battery runs low on one of the units, you’ll know exactly which one it is via the push notification — not just a random chirp at 2am.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by mervinj7 »

SpaethCo wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:48 pm I loaded up on Nest Protect smoke alarms last year as part of a Black Friday $75ea sale. https://store.google.com/us/product/nes ... s?hl=en-US

Combo ionization & photoelectric smoke sensor
Humidity sensor to apply logic to prevent steam from triggering the alarm
CO sensor included

These offer a bunch of nice features, like you can turn them into motion-sensing night lights. The alarm triggers in stages, starting with voice warnings at low levels of CO / smoke, and clearly identifies via voice which detector sourced the alarm. You also get push notifications on your phone when the alarm goes off, and the ability to silence the alert using the app.

Battery health and a bunch of other self checks run constantly, and it does an alarm speaker test once a month. If the battery runs low on one of the units, you’ll know exactly which one it is via the push notification — not just a random chirp at 2am.
+1 Since they are quite pricey, it would have been too expensive to replace 7 hardwired units. We compromised by putting a single Nest protect per floor in addition to the hardwired First Alert ones in each bedroom and hallway. That way, we still get alerts on our phone if we are out of the house when the alarm goes off.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

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ram wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:18 pm My current hard wired smoke alarms are more than 10 years old and I plan to replace them all. I am looking for recommendations for good quality long lasting alarms. I would prefer if they are both smoke and carbon mono oxide alarms.
Check with your local fire department first to see what local regulations might apply.

When we sold our home earlier this year, a fire department inspection was required. Based on the age of our home, we needed two alarms that were hardwired, battery backup, interconnected, photoelectric, and talking. We also needed both smoke and CO.

We selected these: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UQW8OS

They were simple to install, replacing the out of date alarms. And they were reasonably priced.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by Swansea »

In Maryland, you are now required to replace smoke detectors with ten year batteries.
At least a couple of counties in Maryland have fire departments who provide free smoke detectors. Mine does for folks over 60 or so.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

SpaethCo wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:48 pm I loaded up on Nest Protect smoke alarms last year as part of a Black Friday $75ea sale. https://store.google.com/us/product/nes ... s?hl=en-US

Combo ionization & photoelectric smoke sensor
Humidity sensor to apply logic to prevent steam from triggering the alarm
CO sensor included

These offer a bunch of nice features, like you can turn them into motion-sensing night lights. The alarm triggers in stages, starting with voice warnings at low levels of CO / smoke, and clearly identifies via voice which detector sourced the alarm. You also get push notifications on your phone when the alarm goes off, and the ability to silence the alert using the app.

Battery health and a bunch of other self checks run constantly, and it does an alarm speaker test once a month. If the battery runs low on one of the units, you’ll know exactly which one it is via the push notification — not just a random chirp at 2am.
I like this option. Will put one/floor.
Will wait for black friday sale.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

RickBoglehead wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:39 pm Get hardwired with battery backup.

Batteries are now ten years on many.

First Alert BRK 3120B is both ionization and photoelectric, hard wired, and has ten year battery backup.
Looks like it is NOT a CO alarm.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

graeme wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:05 pm Last I looked, CO detectors are best located closer to the floor and there are some long lasting models available that plug into an electrical outlet. We have one in each bedroom.

For smoke detectors, the dual sensor types seem best. Hardwired is nice so one doesn't need to replace many 9V batteries every year.
I confirmed that CO is lighter than air.
The lower placement seems a matter of convenience (existing plug outlets) than scientific necessity.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

jabberwockOG wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:42 pm For CO detectors, I think you'd be fine with just one or two CO detector per level of your house depending on house size.

There are two types of smoke/fire detectors, 1) ionization and 2) photoelectric. Instead of relying on just one type of detector for smoke/fire, I strongly suggest getting a mix of both types, installed at the usual appropriate locations, for each level of the house. One type is a “fast flame” fire detector, the other type 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. There are also some more expensive smoke/fire detectors that have both detection technologies in each detector.

Just a few seconds reaction time can mean the difference between life and death in a house fire.
Thanks. Learnt something new today.Will pay heed to your advice.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by mpnret »

SpaethCo wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:48 pm I loaded up on Nest Protect smoke alarms last year as part of a Black Friday $75ea sale. https://store.google.com/us/product/nes ... s?hl=en-US

Combo ionization & photoelectric smoke sensor
Humidity sensor to apply logic to prevent steam from triggering the alarm
CO sensor included

These offer a bunch of nice features, like you can turn them into motion-sensing night lights. The alarm triggers in stages, starting with voice warnings at low levels of CO / smoke, and clearly identifies via voice which detector sourced the alarm. You also get push notifications on your phone when the alarm goes off, and the ability to silence the alert using the app.

Battery health and a bunch of other self checks run constantly, and it does an alarm speaker test once a month. If the battery runs low on one of the units, you’ll know exactly which one it is via the push notification — not just a random chirp at 2am.
+1 on Nest Protect. I have 3, one on each floor, for 4 years now. A great trouble free product. It contains both types of fire/smoke sensors plus a CO sensor. I have wired and the batteries are just for backup. The app manages the battery life and mine are still good.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

JoeRetire wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:30 pm
ram wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:18 pm My current hard wired smoke alarms are more than 10 years old and I plan to replace them all. I am looking for recommendations for good quality long lasting alarms. I would prefer if they are both smoke and carbon mono oxide alarms.
Check with your local fire department first to see what local regulations might apply.

When we sold our home earlier this year, a fire department inspection was required. Based on the age of our home, we needed two alarms that were hardwired, battery backup, interconnected, photoelectric, and talking. We also needed both smoke and CO.

We selected these: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UQW8OS

They were simple to install, replacing the out of date alarms. And they were reasonably priced.
Thanks. These apparantly lack the ionizing method of smoke detection that jabberwok pointed out.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

Executive summary:
If cost is not an issue the Nest product combines all 3 technologies in one product.
- ionizing smoke detection
-photoelectric smoke detection
-CO detection

Boglehead addendum: Consider only one/floor of this costlier product and use other additional cheaper products strategically.

Thanks everybody.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Re CO: our town requires one not inside each bedroom and no more than 10 feet from the bedroom door. Plug in ones are okay, so that’s what we did. Must have a minimum of one per floor. So, all in, that was 4 CO detectors.

There is no exemption for houses without any fossil fuel combustion. We do have a fireplace. Our garage is detached (so no CO from car exhaust).
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by JoeRetire »

ram wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:15 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:30 pm
ram wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:18 pm My current hard wired smoke alarms are more than 10 years old and I plan to replace them all. I am looking for recommendations for good quality long lasting alarms. I would prefer if they are both smoke and carbon mono oxide alarms.
Check with your local fire department first to see what local regulations might apply.

When we sold our home earlier this year, a fire department inspection was required. Based on the age of our home, we needed two alarms that were hardwired, battery backup, interconnected, photoelectric, and talking. We also needed both smoke and CO.

We selected these: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B002UQW8OS

They were simple to install, replacing the out of date alarms. And they were reasonably priced.
Thanks. These apparantly lack the ionizing method of smoke detection that jabberwok pointed out.
My main point was to get a recommendation from your local fire department. They may or may not agree with jabberwok, requirements.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by testing321 »

Our smoke detectors are hard wired. We have one inside and outside each bedroom, 8 in total. One night they all went off at 2 in the morning for about 20 seconds. After checking that there was no smoke or fire we all went back to bed. I wondered which detector set them off. So next day, I read the manual and it said the one setting off the alarm would have a blinking red light and the rest a steady red light. Well, it happened again the next night and I ran around and found the one with the blinking light. Next day, I got a step ladder and detached that detector from its base, and detached the bottom part from the detector. There was a silverfish roaming around the bottom. Problem solved. It happened again a several years later. This is useful information in case it happens to you.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by RickBoglehead »

ram wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:00 pm
RickBoglehead wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:39 pm Get hardwired with battery backup.

Batteries are now ten years on many.

First Alert BRK 3120B is both ionization and photoelectric, hard wired, and has ten year battery backup.
Looks like it is NOT a CO alarm.
Correct. It is a dual smoke sensor, electric, interconnected, and 10 year battery backup. We have one inside each bedroom, one in each hallway, one in the basement. To have that many CO alarms is unnecessary.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by TomatoTomahto »

@testing321, and if you have security monitoring systems, there is a code (in my case *72) to clear the indicators about which detector went off. I learned this during our final fire inspection, where the inspector set off each alarm and wanted me to clear the indicator between tests.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by mortfree »

ram wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:00 pm
Looks like it is NOT a CO alarm.
You can get the combo CO/smoke alarm and place one on each floor.

For instance, we have ours in the basement, first floor and second floor hallways have the combo CO alarm.

The photo/ionization alarms can go in the bedrooms.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

RickBoglehead wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:22 pm
ram wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 2:00 pm
RickBoglehead wrote: Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:39 pm Get hardwired with battery backup.

Batteries are now ten years on many.

First Alert BRK 3120B is both ionization and photoelectric, hard wired, and has ten year battery backup.
Looks like it is NOT a CO alarm.
Correct. It is a dual smoke sensor, electric, interconnected, and 10 year battery backup. We have one inside each bedroom, one in each hallway, one in the basement. To have that many CO alarms is unnecessary.
Agree.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by GrowthSeeker »

When replacing a 10 year old hard wired alarm, it's a good idea to get one which plugs into the same plug, and mounts on the same mounting bracket. Otherwise you might have to remove the mounting bracket and install another one; probably needing different holes in the ceiling. If the plugs are different then you need to install a new plug. If you don't mind doing that, fine; but when I did it, I just called the company to find out which of their options would match both the plugs and the mounting brackets; then chose my desired features from that narrowed list.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by lazydavid »

GrowthSeeker wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:06 pm When replacing a 10 year old hard wired alarm, it's a good idea to get one which plugs into the same plug, and mounts on the same mounting bracket. Otherwise you might have to remove the mounting bracket and install another one; probably needing different holes in the ceiling. If the plugs are different then you need to install a new plug. If you don't mind doing that, fine; but when I did it, I just called the company to find out which of their options would match both the plugs and the mounting brackets; then chose my desired features from that narrowed list.
It's actually very easy, and I would not use this as criteria for selecting a replacement detector. You would not need different holes. All of the mounting brackets are designed to attach easily to a standard 1- or 2-gang electrical box, which is what is in your ceiling already. The wiring is connected by wire nuts--just unscrew, replace old wire with new, screw back in. The second time you do this it will take less than 2 minutes.

I will also add my voice to the chorus on the Nest Protects. I have 7, one in each occupied bedroom, one in the hallway outside the bedrooms, one each in the kitchen, living/dining room, and in the finished basement. 3 are wired and 4 are battery. I just had to replace the batteries in the Master Bedroom one (it takes six lithium AAs) after 5 years because we use the pathlight feature so much. Will be replacing them with the then-current equivalent when they reach the end of their lifespan in a few years.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by jeffyscott »

GrowthSeeker wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:06 pm When replacing a 10 year old hard wired alarm, it's a good idea to get one which plugs into the same plug, and mounts on the same mounting bracket. Otherwise you might have to remove the mounting bracket and install another one; probably needing different holes in the ceiling. If the plugs are different then you need to install a new plug. If you don't mind doing that, fine; but when I did it, I just called the company to find out which of their options would match both the plugs and the mounting brackets; then chose my desired features from that narrowed list.
I was able to do that once, no need to change mounting bracket or plug. But recently replaced all of ours, which were 10-20 years old (Firex brand) and it was not possible as the designs had changed. One of ours was supposed to have an adapter to fit Firex but couldn't get that to plug in right, so had to change the plug anyway.

We put a photoelectric one by the kitchen as that should be less susceptible to false alarms, based on what I have read. In hall by bedrooms, there are two, so I put one of each type. Basement has one, so we put a dual one there. All were Kidde/Firex bought at Menards and were easy to install, even though I had to change the mounting brackets and plugs. Had a little extra work with the basement one, just due to the way the builder had mounted the power converter on the electrical box 20+ years ago. I had to relocate the converter, due to the somewhat larger diameter of the new detectors.

We have a separate CO detector and did not consider CO/smoke combo units as CR says: Consumer Reports has yet to test a combination detector with both ionization and photoelectric sensors that can capably detect CO, flaming fires, and smoldering fires. Plus I prefer our stand alone CO detector as you can press a button and see the peak reading, even when it is as low as 10 ppm. I like having that, rather than just an alarm that goes off at 50 ppm or whatever.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by KT785 »

Question for those with the hardwired Nest Protect systems—how (if at all) will it interact with the non-smart smokes also hardwired into the house? Thinking about replacing two of ours with the Nest (one on each floor) but if that negates the ability to trigger all smokes together, I’ll have to revisit the plan.

KT785
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by mervinj7 »

KT785 wrote: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:19 pm Question for those with the hardwired Nest Protect systems—how (if at all) will it interact with the non-smart smokes also hardwired into the house? Thinking about replacing two of ours with the Nest (one on each floor) but if that negates the ability to trigger all smokes together, I’ll have to revisit the plan.

KT785
Not recommended. See: https://support.google.com/googlenest/a ... 1654?hl=en
Can I buy a Nest Protect and connect it to my existing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms?

Unfortunately no, but this isn’t unusual. Each company’s smoke and CO alarms use proprietary detection algorithms and interfaces. And therefore there’s no industry standard. If alarms from different companies are connected together, they may not warn you properly in an emergency. The NFPA actually prohibits the connection of alarms from different manufacturers without special testing. To the best of our knowledge, no company sells a combination smoke and CO alarm that is meant to be connected with a different company’s smoke and CO alarm. Some companies even state in their documentation not to connect to a different company’s smoke and CO alarm.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by lazydavid »

KT785 wrote: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:19 pm Question for those with the hardwired Nest Protect systems—how (if at all) will it interact with the non-smart smokes also hardwired into the house? Thinking about replacing two of ours with the Nest (one on each floor) but if that negates the ability to trigger all smokes together, I’ll have to revisit the plan.
If memory serves, they use the wiring for power only. They do not communicate with other Nest Protects over the power wiring, nor with other brands of detectors. The Nest Protects form their own wireless mesh network, I believe using the Zigbee protocol, and they can use Wifi as a fallback.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by GrowthSeeker »

The hard wired ones I had, I think it was Lidde, we’re: if one alarms, they all alarm.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ElJefeDelQueso »

lazydavid wrote: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:26 pm
KT785 wrote: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:19 pm Question for those with the hardwired Nest Protect systems—how (if at all) will it interact with the non-smart smokes also hardwired into the house? Thinking about replacing two of ours with the Nest (one on each floor) but if that negates the ability to trigger all smokes together, I’ll have to revisit the plan.
If memory serves, they use the wiring for power only. They do not communicate with other Nest Protects over the power wiring, nor with other brands of detectors. The Nest Protects form their own wireless mesh network, I believe using the Zigbee protocol, and they can use Wifi as a fallback.
That's correct re: wiring. Best to replace all at once.
I have several Nests, purchased because I travel fairly frequently. They link to my home security system (Abode) which is also a home automation controller. Over the past year I've had them, no problems. I have in the past come home to ongoing alarm from failed detector.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by 6Pack »

Swansea wrote: Sun Nov 10, 2019 6:26 am In Maryland, you are now required to replace smoke detectors with ten year batteries.
At least a couple of counties in Maryland have fire departments who provide free smoke detectors. Mine does for folks over 60 or so.
This is true, UNLESS they are hardwired, then you can have a hardwired detector with 9V battery backup. In other words, if you replace a battery-powered smoke detector, you have to replace it with a new, sealed battery unit. If you have hardwired detectors, you can replace them with hardwired detectors.

With that said, my house had FireX installed previously, but I replaced everything with Kidde equipment. One combination CO/smoke detector on each floor and smoke detectors in each bedroom. Installation isn’t too difficult - if you can change an electrical outlet, you can change a smoke detector power adapter.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by augryphon »

I used these because they are bulk priced and one-for-one replacements for my old ones.

I have separate CO2 detectors.

Last Christmas Eve, a family in my town lost 3 of 5 members because their smoke detectors didn’t work. The father, who should have maintained the detectors, survived and has to live with the reality that his inaction cost his wife and 2 children their lives. Having up-to-date detectors and new batteries is extremely important. Don’t let it slide! Code here requires 1 in each bedroom and 1 in the hall outside each bedroom.

https://www.costco.com/first-alert-hard ... 13054.html
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by TrustButVerifying »

Ram, I wish I had posted your question here a few months ago when I had to replace my 8 Smoke and 2 CO alarms. There is a lot of good information posted here. I replaced my FireX alarms with First Alert alarms. The things I learned were:

1) I found that Amazon had the best pricing.
2) The old FireX plugs were not compatible with the First Alert ones but changing the plug just involved unscrewing & screwing wire nuts
3) I replaced the Ionization Smoke Alarm in the Kitchen with a Combo Photoelectric Smoke Alarm & CO Monitor. That cut down false alarms and gave me CO Monitoring on the first floor.
4) Originally I only had Ionization Smoke Alarms, so this time, I put one Dual Sensor Smoke Alarm on each floor of my house.
5) Smoke Alarms are only suppose to be reliable for 10 years so the replacements all have batteries that last 10 years.
6) Ionization Smoke Alarms have a tiny amount of radioactive material
7) Kidde bought FireX and are suppose to accept FireX Ionization alarms for recycling. I haven't had much luck with that.
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ram
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

I got 3 Nest combo alarms (both methods of fire detection and CO detection). Very happy with them. Fitting was easy.
They are hardwired and have a 10 yr backup battery.
Target had a sale at $60 each. Costco was 170 for a pack of 2 and Amazon was 100 each.
Thanks everybody.
Ram
michaelingp
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by michaelingp »

ram wrote: Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:06 pm I got 3 Nest combo alarms (both methods of fire detection and CO detection). Very happy with them. Fitting was easy.
They are hardwired and have a 10 yr backup battery.
Are you sure about the battery? I put a hardwired Nest in a couple of months ago, and it had 3 AA Lithium batteries that they said would last three years.
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southerndoc
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by southerndoc »

Some states (California one of them) require a 10-year battery.
lazydavid
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by lazydavid »

michaelingp wrote: Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:02 pm Are you sure about the battery? I put a hardwired Nest in a couple of months ago, and it had 3 AA Lithium batteries that they said would last three years.
I don't recall reading anything about a 10-year battery, which would be odd given that the detector itself--at least for the first-gen units--has only a 7-year life.

From a real-world perspective, my first Nest Protect is a wired unit a little over 6 years old, and its backup batteries are still going strong. But I've recently replaced the batteries in two of my non-hardwired ones (which use 6 lithium AAs rather than 3) at about the 5-year mark because the app let me know that they only had a few months of life left.

I guess that's a long-winded way of saying there's no way the batteries in your wired detector will only last 3 years.
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Gort
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by Gort »

southerndoc wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:21 am Some states (California one of them) require a 10-year battery.
It is not a ten-year life when the batteries are in use. It is a 10 year shelf life. Battery manufacturers cannot certify how much draw your smoke alarm is putting on the battery and I doubt they will last 10 years.
hicabob
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by hicabob »

Gort wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:36 am
southerndoc wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:21 am Some states (California one of them) require a 10-year battery.
It is not a ten-year life when the batteries are in use. It is a 10 year shelf life. Battery manufacturers cannot certify how much draw your smoke alarm is putting on the battery and I doubt they will last 10 years.
Newer units often have non-replaceable 10 year batterires ... good for 10 years and no wiring needed.
https://www.amazon.com/Combination-Mono ... s9dHJ1ZQ==
mervinj7
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by mervinj7 »

Gort wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:36 am
southerndoc wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:21 am Some states (California one of them) require a 10-year battery.
It is not a ten-year life when the batteries are in use. It is a 10 year shelf life. Battery manufacturers cannot certify how much draw your smoke alarm is putting on the battery and I doubt they will last 10 years.
The newer sealed battery smoke alarms are intended to last ten years even when in operation (i.e. powered). At least, that's how the law is intended to operate.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-release ... 05751.html
California Senate Bill 745 requires that all solely battery-operated smoke alarms and combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms sold and installed in California must contain a non-replaceable, non-removable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for a minimum of 10 years.
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Gort
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by Gort »

mervinj7 wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:22 pm
Gort wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:36 am
southerndoc wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 12:21 am Some states (California one of them) require a 10-year battery.
It is not a ten-year life when the batteries are in use. It is a 10 year shelf life. Battery manufacturers cannot certify how much draw your smoke alarm is putting on the battery and I doubt they will last 10 years.
The newer sealed battery smoke alarms are intended to last ten years even when in operation (i.e. powered). At least, that's how the law is intended to operate.

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-release ... 05751.html
California Senate Bill 745 requires that all solely battery-operated smoke alarms and combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms sold and installed in California must contain a non-replaceable, non-removable battery that is capable of powering the smoke alarm for a minimum of 10 years.
Thanks for the info. Good to know.
rebellovw
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by rebellovw »

I wanted to get NEST alarms - however since I have 8 alarms that I had to replace - I couldn't stomach buying 8 NEST. You cannot mix and match NEST w/o other non NEST alarms - at least if you want to stay compliant.

I went with all First Alert - couple combo fire/mono - kitchen area and main hallway.
rj342
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by rj342 »

Couple other important points I don't see mentioned:

1) You typically get small discount on homeowners insurance for having an alarm with central monitoring for fire as well as burglary. 'Self monitoring' generally is not enough.

2) Most DIY wireless alarm systems like Ring or Abode, probably SimpliSafe too, DON'T have their own smoke/fire detectors. All the regulatory approvals, UL, EPA (ionizing types have a miniscule bit of a radioactive isotope, Americium IIRC) are prohibitive. INSTEAD, Ring and Abode (again unsure of SimpliSafe) have a wireless listener module you mount next to your conventional detectors. They are tripped by the audio, similar to a glass break sensor, but listen for s very specific tone pattern put out by smoke detectors to limit false alarms.

See
https://goabode.com/security-devices/ac ... rm-monitor
and
https://shop.ring.com/products/alarm-smoke-co-listener

3) On some of the hardwired smoke alarms they also still have a backup battery you can install. Highly recommended. Hate to have a fire but no alarm because power went out after a bad surge.
supalong52
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by supalong52 »

The UL standard for smoke alarms is getting updated in May 2020. I would consider holding off until you get one that meets the new standard and has received some reviews. A few compliant detectors have been released, but not a lot of reviews on them. I don't think the Nest meets the new standard either so maybe wait until they push out a gen 3 model.

Edit to add link: https://www.ul.com/news/new-smoke-alarm ... oming-soon
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by GAAP »

Find out what local fire code requires first, then find appropriate alarms. The physical work to change them is minimal, assuming you have basic skills and don't have vertigo.

Many jurisdictions have specific requirements for CO detection. It is a heavy gas, and you are much better off with lower detectors -- especially if you have bedrooms on the first floor.
“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” ― Bruce Lee
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ram
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by ram »

michaelingp wrote: Sun Dec 15, 2019 10:02 pm
ram wrote: Sun Dec 15, 2019 2:06 pm I got 3 Nest combo alarms (both methods of fire detection and CO detection). Very happy with them. Fitting was easy.
They are hardwired and have a 10 yr backup battery.
Are you sure about the battery? I put a hardwired Nest in a couple of months ago, and it had 3 AA Lithium batteries that they said would last three years.
No. You may be correct.

The official version is :
BACKUP BATTERY
3 AA Energizer® Ultimate Lithium batteries (L91).
Nest Protect will let you know its backup
batteries are getting low before they need to
be replaced. Instead of lighting up green during
Nightly Promise, it’ll glow yellow. Once you
press the Nest button, Nest Protect will say,
“The battery is low. Replace it soon.”
In case of power outage, Nest Protect uses
long-life backup lithium batteries designed to
last multiple years of operation. Battery life
depends on usage.
Ram
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by lazydavid »

GAAP wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 6:36 pm Many jurisdictions have specific requirements for CO detection. It is a heavy gas, and you are much better off with lower detectors -- especially if you have bedrooms on the first floor.
This is incorrect. CO is slightly lighter than air. Air has a molecular weight of 28.966, while CO is 28.011. CO mixes very easily with air.
National Fire Protection Association Standard NFPA 720-2009 wrote:The location for effective performance is not generally dependent on mounting height. The density of carbon monoxide is similar to that of air at room temperature, and carbon monoxide generally mixes readily with air.
(emphasis mine)

The UL standard 2034 for Single and Multiple Station Carbon Monoxide Alarms does not include any requirements or tests for mounting at specific heights. The NFPA says CO alarms "shall be located on the wall, ceiling or other location as specify in the installation instructions that come with the unit."

The reason CO detectors were traditionally mounted low is because the early dedicated ones had to be plugged into a wall outlet. Guess where those are in most people's homes?

Bottom line: all other factors being equal, mounting height makes no difference whatsoever with regard to CO detection.
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Re: Hard Wired smoke alarms. Recommendations.

Post by RickBoglehead »

rj342 wrote: Mon Dec 16, 2019 1:09 pm Couple other important points I don't see mentioned:

1) You typically get small discount on homeowners insurance for having an alarm with central monitoring for fire as well as burglary. 'Self monitoring' generally is not enough.

2) Most DIY wireless alarm systems like Ring or Abode, probably SimpliSafe too, DON'T have their own smoke/fire detectors. All the regulatory approvals, UL, EPA (ionizing types have a miniscule bit of a radioactive isotope, Americium IIRC) are prohibitive. INSTEAD, Ring and Abode (again unsure of SimpliSafe) have a wireless listener module you mount next to your conventional detectors. They are tripped by the audio, similar to a glass break sensor, but listen for s very specific tone pattern put out by smoke detectors to limit false alarms.

See
https://goabode.com/security-devices/ac ... rm-monitor
and
https://shop.ring.com/products/alarm-smoke-co-listener

3) On some of the hardwired smoke alarms they also still have a backup battery you can install. Highly recommended. Hate to have a fire but no alarm because power went out after a bad surge.
SimpliSafe has its own battery powered wireless detectors. These do not meet the requirements for having wired smoke detectors. I updated my wired smoke detectors (with battery backup) as they were over 10 years old, AND I had wireless, battery powered, smoke detectors with my older alarm system, and now with my new SimpliSafe system.
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