New home smoke detector issue

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  #1  
Old 12-29-11, 08:58 PM
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New home smoke detector issue

I just recently purchased a new home this past September. About 2 weeks after we moved in two of our smoke detectors started chirping. No issue i just figured they used cheap batteries and replaced them. Well fast forward to today. The same two started chirping. I purchased new batteries on my way home from work and was replacing them when i decided that maybe something was wrong here.

So here is my list of trouble shooting so far.

1. Replaced all batteries with brand new Duracell batteries in all smoke, heat, and co2 detectors.

2. test all connections with a DMM. All read 0.00.

3. reconnected all detectors. and verified that the "green light" that signifies a 120v connection was not lit, on any of the units.

So, by my DIY knowledge I have determined that my interconnected detectors are not connected to any power source other than the 9v batteries, and each other.

My concern is how this could have been over looked by an inspector during the home's construction earlier this year. Is this not the exact kind of thing the electrical inspector looks for before he signs off on the electrical work?

The home is still under warranty, so I know the issue will be fixed. I am also wondering who should be held liable this oversight? The builder? The electrician? The inspector? I am mildly aggravated by the small issues with the new home, but to me this is something major.

Sorry if this post is kinda long winded, some of it was me venting.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-29-11, 10:38 PM
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I'd start looking for a tripped breaker first.
 
  #3  
Old 12-30-11, 06:11 AM
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When you changed the units was any wiring connected to the wiring harness?
 
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Old 12-30-11, 04:34 PM
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The home is still under warranty, so I know the issue will be fixed. I am also wondering who should be held liable this oversight? The builder? The electrician? The inspector? I am mildly aggravated by the small issues with the new home, but to me this is something major.
Typically, you will get a 1 year warranty from your builder on the new home, that is who carries the liability to you. The builder will go to his electrical contractor who is responsible for fixing this issue. The electrical contractor may go to the electrician who did the work or he could send any of his electricians to troubleshoot and repair the problem. That is the chain that most likely will be followed, but you only have one course to follow and that is to the builder with whom you bought the house from.
 
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Old 12-30-11, 05:49 PM
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My concern is how this could have been over looked by an inspector during the home's construction earlier this year. Is this not the exact kind of thing the electrical inspector looks for before he signs off on the electrical work?
Yes and no. There is nothing in the Electrical code (NEC) that smoke detectors are required to be installed. It is a Building/fire code. The only thing that would be required is that they are properly wired. (IE: Grounds connected, cable properly connected) which would be looked at during the rough in. As an electrician in the trade, our inspections last between 5-10 min. Most of that time on the rough-in it is just going over the plan and showing him/her what is happening. On final it is checking devices for proper wiring with the plug in tester, testing GFCI's and making sure all the plates are on and the panel in indexed.

Since this is a new home, you likely have AFCI's. Check all your breakers as Justin mentioned.
If all are good follow Joe's info and call your builder. He should take it from there.
 
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Old 12-30-11, 05:54 PM
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Actually electrical inspectors don't check every single thing. They generally give things a looking over to see that things were done correctly. And one can usually assume that if most things were done correctly and safely, then other hidden things were done correctly as well.

If it looks like the following, the inspector gets the impression things are done correctly...



But if it looks like the following, then they will see EVERYTHING needs close examination...




Anyway it is the job of the electricians to test each and every outlet, switch, etc. to be sure everything is wired and working correctly. And that job they usually give to an apprentice electrician for new construction.
 
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Old 12-31-11, 06:05 AM
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Yes and no. There is nothing in the Electrical code (NEC) that smoke detectors are required to be installed. It is a Building/fire code. The only thing that would be required is that they are properly wired. (IE: Grounds connected, cable properly connected) which would be looked at during the rough in. As an electrician in the trade, our inspections last between 5-10 min. Most of that time on the rough-in it is just going over the plan and showing him/her what is happening. On final it is checking devices for proper wiring with the plug in tester, testing GFCI's and making sure all the plates are on and the panel in indexed.

Since this is a new home, you likely have AFCI's. Check all your breakers as Justin mentioned.
Very well said. Assuming your local AHJ has adopted 2002 or later NEC, your smoke detectors would probably be on an AFCI breaker. This would be a good place to start looking, but you shouldn't have to worry about it, the general contractor's electrical sub will handle it.
 
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Old 12-31-11, 02:25 PM
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I'd assume it's a tripped breaker. It would be really shoddy construction if they have wires connected to the detectors with the other ends disconnected.

If you can't find a tripped breaker, I would contact the builder. Since you've already proven that they don't have power going to them, I'm sure any half-reputable builder would be happy to investigate and fix it for you.
 
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Old 12-31-11, 07:09 PM
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It would be really shoddy construction if they have wires connected to the detectors with the other ends disconnected.
It could happen very easily. The difference between reputable and not-so-reputable contractors is the reputable contractor will fix it, no questions asked. The not-so-reputable contractor will tell you it's yours, you bought it.
 
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Old 12-31-11, 09:19 PM
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Thanks for all of the replies. Sorry it took so long to respond, I did check all breakers. When I finally spoke to the builder I was informed the electrician's contract was terminated due to the number of warranty claims in the homes that they had wired.

So, the electrician will be coming Tuesday. I will report back with what he finds.
 
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Old 12-31-11, 09:33 PM
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Once had to go in after an electrician had installed phone jacks during a remodel and the phone cables only extended a foot or two in to the attic and ended.
 
  #12  
Old 01-01-12, 11:44 AM
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OK, this is a case where there are problems, so closer inspection is a good idea. You may want to get one of those electrical outlet testers which shows the outlet was wired properly. Then test every single outlet (outside too). These look like the following...



Also bribe the electrician with cookies and soda pop, then maybe you can get him to double check your 240 volt outlets like range, dryer, etc.
 
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