Need Guidance: confused on codes for smoke alarms/CO detectors

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Old 07-23-13, 09:29 PM
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Need Guidance: confused on codes for smoke alarms/CO detectors

I own a two story home built in 1984. Originally, the home had a single smoke detector in the downstairs hallway and a single smoke detector in the upstairs hallway. Both are wired into a single 15A circuit.

Now I am remodeling, adding to the second floor. As part of the remodel, the county is telling me I need to have a smoke alarm in each room and a CO detector on each floor. Do I have to rewire the 15A circuit to include a wired smoke detector in each bedroom? That's a lot of work (and drywall) I hadn't planned on.

And what about the CO detectors? Do those need to be wired in as well? I haven't even begun to shop around and I know nothing about the detectors. This is my first stop. I figured I would ask first.

If I can drop the circuit and just slap a smoke detector with a 9 volt on the ceiling of each bedroom, that would be nice and easy.
 
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Old 07-23-13, 09:55 PM
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I went to the U.S. Fire Administration website and found this:

What powers a smoke alarm?

Smoke alarms are powered by battery or they are hardwired into the home’s electrical system. If the smoke alarm is powered by battery, it runs on either a disposable 9-volt battery or a non-replaceable 10-year lithium (“long-life”) battery. A backup battery is usually present on hardwired alarms and may need to be replaced.

These batteries must be tested on a regular basis and, in most cases, should be replaced at least once each year (except for lithium batteries). See the Smoke Alarm Maintenance section for more information.


This is very helpful, but I think I need to find out what my county expects me to do.
 
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Old 07-23-13, 10:05 PM
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I keep searching for solid information from the county regarding smoke alarms/detectors and CO detectors, but the information just isn't there. I find lots of PSA stuff about "smoke detectors save lives" and how homes need to have either battery powered or hard wired detectors, but there's nothing specific (that I can find) to placement.
 
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Old 07-24-13, 12:38 AM
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You may simply be looking in the wrong places. Smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarms are covered in the building codes and not electrical or other codes. Very generally speaking, smoke detectors are required in all sleeping rooms, the hallway outside of sleeping rooms and on all levels of a residence. In new construction (or major remodels) the smoke alarms must be AC powered with a battery backup. All smoke alarms must be interconnected so that if one triggers then all the alarms will sound.

Local codes are the only ones that matter. Some local codes will allow battery only detectors IF running AC power is deemed a severe hardship. This would depend entirely on the decision by your local code enforcement officer. Even with battery only detectors the requirement that all units sound on alarm is enforced, this requires that all the detectors/alarms are from the same manufacturer and have a wireless alarm capability.
 
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Old 07-24-13, 06:24 AM
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I went to the county site and found a flier. I can't find any place that specifies wiring the smoke alarms into the house. I know I'll have inspectors out for various things, like framing, mechanical, etc., so I can ask. I could also call when their offices are open. I just wish the information were more accessible.

 
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Old 07-24-13, 11:04 AM
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Your profile does not indicate what county you live in, please change this.

Here is the LAW in Washington state.

Chapter 212-10 WAC: SMOKE DETECTION DEVICES IN DWELLING UNITS

You also have to have a carbon monoxide detector. Here is the law on that subject.

RCW 19.27.530: Carbon monoxide alarms
 

Last edited by Furd; 07-24-13 at 11:06 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 07-24-13, 12:21 PM
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This looks like exactly what I need! Thanks.

And thank you for pointing out the profile error. Looks like I was going too fast and just put USA for county. I have since corrected the error to the grand county of Snohomish.
 
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