Smoke/fire alarm for workshop/garage?

yadax3June 5, 2009

This is a x-post from the workshop-garage forum.

After the old models had exceeded their recommended time frames, we recently replaced all of the smoke alarms in our house with a variety of Kidde interconnecting alarms.

Then it occurred to us it would be nice to place another alarm in the detached workshop/garage behind our house that would work with the other alarms in our house. After checking with Kidde, however, we discovered the 200 ft. distance from our house to the workshop is at the far end of their 100-200 ft. range. In addition, Kidde doesn't recommend placing their alarms in locations that are dusty or where temperatures can reach below 40 or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Since our workshop is used for woodworking and we only turn on the HVAC when the building is in use, these restrictions could be prohibitive.

Does anyone here have knowledge of any smoke alarm system that will alert us in our house if there were a problem in our workshop/garage under these circumstances?

Thanks for any expertise and guidance you can offer,


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Is there any conduit/wiring running from house to shop?

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 10:56AM
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There's an electrical conduit with 100 amp service but (we believe) we can't pull any other wires through it by code.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 11:32AM
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There are systems you can install for locations you describe and, you can tie them into your existing system if you like. Perhaps a temperature alarm would give you the added security you are looking for. You can set it for a high threshold to monitor for excessive heat. You could also set the lower threshold for low temperatures to warn you if liquids you keep in the shop may freeze....just another option

    Bookmark   June 5, 2009 at 11:36AM
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Thanks maryland. Do you have a name of a company I can check out?

    Bookmark   June 6, 2009 at 9:07PM
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Temperature Guard is a good mid range product. If you do a Google for "Temperature Alarm" you'll see a whole truckload of systems to choose from. They are easy to install and set up.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 9:35PM
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You need what's called a "rate of rise" detector which does more than just detect a high temperature which can sometimes be falsely triggered, but one that detects a sudden increase.

It's also true you need one that's suitable for the temperatures (cold and heat) likely to be encountered in an outbuilding.

They may make such a detector that's sort of standalone, or you may need to tie it into a cheap security system. If you already have an alarm (unless it's a basic big chain one that's not upgradable) you can tie it into that.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 12:54AM
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After checking around, it looks like all of these alarms require a land-line for a phone. Is that correct?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 1:20PM
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It is if you want them to call a monitoring service - if you're referring to an alarm system like an Ademco or DSC, that can integrate fire/water/low temp/security, the NORM is to have a phone line so it can contact a monitoring service (or you can set them up in 'pager mode' so they contact your cell, you respond with a tone, then it tells you in beeps what zone it is (typically, zone 1 would be fire)

You can also get a cellular product such as Digicell which connects to the panel and uses a cellular network to contact you but there are of course monthly fees.

Unless I'm misreading what you're saying. You'd need a run from the outbuilding back to the alarm panel or whatever, if you chose to have phone monitoring, then it'd connect to a phone line, if not, then it would be set up as a stand-alone system. If there was no phone monitoring service then I'd recommend (I would anyway) an external siren and strobe so passers-by could see what's going on.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 3:54PM
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