hardwired smoke detectors


Old 12-05-05, 11:01 AM
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hardwired smoke detectors

I have to add a few smoke detectors in my house, in the basement I am finishing. Apparently, all the smoke detectors in my house are connected so that if one goes off, they all go off.

I purchased a couple new smoke detectors that said they had this feature. However, I don't know the brand or model of the existing smoke detectors. Therefore, I am worried that my new smoke detectors cannot be hooked up to the others. The town inspector wants them all connected though.

Do I need to match up brands for the whole house, or is there some standard that different companies use when making smoke detectors? Like I said, I am supposed to hook them up so that when one goes off, they all go off.

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Old 12-05-05, 11:05 AM
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For best results, it is suggested to use all the same make and model detectors. If you try to add they may or may not all work properly.

If your detectors are more than few years old it's time to replace them anyway, so you may want to consider it even if you find the same or a compatible model.
Old 12-05-05, 11:08 AM
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if they are the same model do they all have to be on the same line?....
Old 12-05-05, 11:21 AM
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Wow, thanks for the quick reply!

My house is only about 6 months old, so the existing ones are pretty new. There is already 1 smoke detector in the basement, just not where I need it. However, at least the wiring from the upstairs smoke detectors is there, and I can use that to hook up to the new ones.

I guess I'll try to figure out what model they used, or pester the builders if I can't find a model number anywhere on the outside or inside of the smoke detectors.
Old 12-05-05, 12:24 PM
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Even within one brand, such as First Alert, different models do not interconnect with each other. There's usually a table of compatibility that comes with each detector that says what models it's compatible with.

And yes, all the interconnected detectors need to be on the same circuit. It'll be easy for smmetz to interconnect his new detectors with his existing ones because this line already runs to the basement. But in most areas, the inspector will not require new ones to be interconnected with old ones if the line doesn't already go to the new area.
Old 12-05-05, 06:29 PM
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If the house was built to code, I don't know why you can't add some non-interconnected smoke detectors just for added protection. Even some battery only units. However, it usually doesn't pay to argue with the inspector.

It has been pointed out that units several years old used line voltage on the interconnect, and most new ones use low voltage. Best plan is to use the same brand, and use their compatibilty charts.

Remember, the maximum # of smoke alarms which may be interconnected is 12.
Old 12-06-05, 03:48 PM
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Check with your local fire-rescue department regarding any other requirements. For example, here in NH the detectors cannot be on their own dedicated circuit...that is, there must be something else on the circuit with them. Preferably a hall light or something like that. The intent is that if the light didn't work, the occupant would investigate why.

Makes it a bit harder to shut off the smokes.


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