hardwired smoke detectors - disabling

ranchrenoMay 15, 2006

How do you disable a hardwired smoke detector when, for example, you get a little excess smoke from a cooking experiment gone awry? Today, we just pull the battery while we get rid of the smoke. Is there an "off" switch on a hard-wired device?

Thanks!

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christophersprks

The best way is just endure the screech until you clear out the smoke. That way you don't forget to undo whatever you did to silence the alarm ;)

Otherwise just shut off the circuit breaker. But please remember to turn it back on.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 12:24PM
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echandler

Turning off the breaker will only work if the backup battery in the detector(s) is/are also dead. The average builder-grade SD is good for about 8 years +- 2 years before the radioactive element loses its "edge." If you suspect that yours are older than that, maybe you should replace all of them. When doing so, you can take advantage of the newer ones out there that have a 5-minute "hush" button on them. Note that I said to replace ALL of them, since there isn't a true standard for multi-vendor compatability for hard-wired chained SDs. That doesn't say that you couldn't give it a try to save a few bucks.

I did just that for all 12 of the ones in my house. The other good thing is that they have an IR detector that allows you to use any TV remote control to point and test the SDs without touching them. I keep a stick behind my fridge in the kitchen with a rubber tip to easily push the "hush" button on the kitchen SD when my wife lets me cook :->.

The important thing is to view SDs as your friend - not a regulatory annoyance. If you disable them as annoyance, they aren't there to help you when you DO need them. Think of the percentage of fires that start in the kitchen to begin with?

Eric
NJ

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 12:36PM
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Ron Natalie

Can you get hardwired smoke detectors with a snooze alarm? I have a battery one like that in the hall outside my kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 10:48AM
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njtea

I hate my hardwired SD's - I can't throw the circuit breakers to disable them because they are wired into lighting to prevent that action.

Can I remove them, put wire nuts on the wires and a plate over the holes until it's time to sell the house at which time I will replace the hard-wired detectors.

I don't view them as "my friend" but rather as just a plain annoyance that scares the c*** out of me as well as the animals when they go off.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 6:21PM
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petey_racer

njtea, don't get bent out of shape, but that attitude is intolerable! How can you think this way.
Unless you live alone, in a house in a secluded area, with no woods around you, that is an unbelievably selfish way to think.
You may not care if you die, but what about your family and neighbors and/or the forest.

Think about it. Why are they going off?
If it is for no reason then replace them, they are old and worn out.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 9:10PM
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DavidR

You CAN remove them, cap the wires, and put covers on the j-boxes. You CAN, meaning nobody is physically restraining you. There are no "smoke detector police" out there, at least not yet. :-\

Your homeowner's insurance agent may get a little upset with you if he or she finds out, though. At the very least you'll pay higher rates. I suppose some of them might do funny things like threatening to cancel you - I would, but then that's probably one reason I'm not an insurance agent. ;-)

Not to scare you, but I'm not sure what would happen with your insurance coverage if you should have a fire and an investigation revealed that you'd removed the smokes.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 12:02AM
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bus_driver

In NC, it is required that EVERY landlord, equip EVERY rental unit with a smoke detector. This in addition to the required smoke detectors in new construction. In case of fire in a rental unit, one of the first things checked by officials is for the presence of a smoke detector. Tenants sometimes remove or disable the detectors. It would be wise for every landlord to have on file a signed statement from the tenant acknowledging the presence of working detector at the time the tenant took possession of the property.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 8:09AM
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jtwtech

If you want to disable a smoke detector, just put a plastic grocery sack over it and secure it with a rubber band.

If you shut off a circuit breaker, you might forget to turn it back on, but if you have a plastic wal-mart sack hanging from your ceiling, you will notice that.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 1:04PM
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njtea

Petey racer, believe it or not, I do live alone in a house in the woods which aren't going to burn down if my house burns. And I'm tired of the d****d thing going off whenever my wood stove fire gets a bit smoky or when I'm cooking pancakes or bacon.

I thought after I wrote my post that I'll disable just the one in the kitchen/living area and leave the other two alone.

Insurance only asks if I have smoke detectors - they don't ask if they are working. :)

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 4:27PM
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rtscoach

But if you did have a fire and investigators found your smoke detectors had been removed or somehow disabled, I bet your insurance company wouldnÂt be too keen on paying up. That said, its your house do as you please.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 8:52PM
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joefixit2

The smokes are only required in the bedrooms and "outside each sleeping area". Unless the one in the "kitchen and living area" qualifies as the required sleeping area alarm, I would remove it. The purpose of a smoke alarm is to WAKE you if a fire starts, not to tell you you just burned dinner. That is why they are placed in sleeping areas. Kitchen fires are usually attended, and if not, the bedroom smoke will still wake you.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 9:41PM
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