Too many smoke dectectors - can some be disabled?

rgrsAugust 26, 2014

We have builder installed smoke detectors and security system installed smoke detectors. In the master bedroom there are two in the ceiling - both of them have lights that bother us at night. The builder installed detector is a constant light and the security system detector blinks and isn't as bothersome.

Is it possible to disconnect the builder installed alarms? I think they are tandem alarms.

Thanks to anyone for info on this.

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If they are both there there is a good chance they both need to be there.
For instance, we did a house with a full alarm system, but the building dept said the code states even in cases like that regular 120V battery backup smoke and CO detectors must be installed.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 7:05AM
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Ron Natalie

The problem is the security system ones are probably battery only and hence don't meet the code. I have the same situation here. It's up to you at this point, but I wouldn't. A piece of tape would solve the light issue.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 7:28AM
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Black electrical tape offers an quick and easy solution to bothersome pilot lights on all kinds of electronic equipment. Cut it small and it's pretty unobtrusive.

Like ronnatalie, when we looked at adding a security system we found that their detectors wouldn't meet code, requiring double detectors. We chose not to install the security system.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 10:41AM
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What annoys me is a sequence of smoke alarms that decide at different intervals to get a weak battery and start chirping.

Then you have to go find the ladder, bring it in, get up there, etc. I hate smoke detectors (but I've never had a fire to make me appreciate them)...they only go off when I burn something in the kitchen (lol) something boiled over in oven.

I feel guilty if I don't replace battery, but sometimes it's nice to just leave them w/o one.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 10:47AM
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Ron Natalie

Once the battery starts chirping in any of my detectors I just change them all. It's just a matter of time before the others need replacing too and it isn't worth wandering around the house for 15 minutes trying to isolate the one that's making the noise.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 11:29AM
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The security system smoke detectors are hard wired and also have the backup of the system battery.

The builder installed detectors are also hard wired in tandem with each other and each one has batteries that screech when the batteries are running out. It usually happens during the night when we are sound asleep.

I think it is crazy that we have so many detectors blinking away using electricity.

I will cover the lights with tape or something but the security system detector is so sensitive I cannot even touch it without it going off.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 6:16PM
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I think it is crazy that we have so many detectors blinking away using electricity.
Pennies a year. Don't worry about the electricity use.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 8:32AM
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Does no one else routinely replace batteries in smoke and CO detectors when shifting to and from Daylight Savings Time?

This post was edited by saltidawg on Fri, Aug 29, 14 at 15:05

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:04PM
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To AND from? Twice a year? Not me. I used to try to do it once a year. But I'd frequently forget.
With how good battery technology has gotten, I now feel that replacing them every year is a little wasteful.
In fact, I saw detectors in the store the other day that had built-in batteries that lasted 10 years (ie. the life of the detector).

So now I just kind of do it randomly. Sometimes it isn't until it starts beeping at me.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 3:17PM
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The detectors with ten-year batteries are new technology and are either federally mandated or state mandated here in Maryland - not sure which. All must be in use by 2018, IIRC.

As a retired Navy Submariner I have lived all over the USA - for likely a decade or more every locale I have lived in has run PSA's or at least the local TV News has advocated replacing batteries at those two easy to remember dates/events.

Don't confuse the new batteries - the lithium batteries are warranted for 10 years.

I get it that you don't want to change your alarm batteries as frequently as many suggest, but at least some of us feel comfortable doing so.

I should add, my batteries are not "backups" - they are the sole source of power. BTW, I take the "old" batteries and replace the batteries in my water leak detectors with them. The leak detectors draw ZERO current until moisture completes the battery's circuit.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kidde Summary of MD State Law

This post was edited by saltidawg on Sat, Aug 30, 14 at 12:21

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 4:12PM
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In my own residence, the 7 original hard-wired detectors were new in 2002. The original back-up carbon-zinc batteries failed within a year. The replacement alkalines were date-marked when installed. Regular testing of the battery I(with a battery tester) in just one of the detectors showed that the battery was still usable after 6 years. All the batteries were replaced at the 6 year interval.
That about matches the shelf life of unused alkaline batteries.

My conviction now is that routine replacement of back-up batteries every year may be quite unnecessary.
Detectors that are powered solely by battery are a dfferent matter.
Expensive lithium batteries purchased for a camera had a failure of one of the four within a month. So I have not bought any more of those.

This post was edited by bus_driver on Sat, Aug 30, 14 at 10:05

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 10:00AM
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Our 1600 sq ft condo build in 2007 has 5 smoke detectors. That is way overkill. The open den off of the kitchen HAD a smoke detector. The detector was a few feet from the oven. Of course it went off every time you used the broiler or something boiled over. When using the gas grill on the balcony, the door was close enough to the den to set of the detector. They were all wired together so if one went off they all did. Well, now the one in the den is disconnected and no battery. The others are no longer wired together. The one in the master bedroom was already going bad, and they would all go off for no reason. The bad one was replaced and actually has a CO monitor also. DaleP

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 4:15PM
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I think the code demand that you must have regular smoke detectors even if you have a security system is ridiculous. What's the point? The security system ones are powered from the system, which has a central backup battery that never (well, rarely) needs changing. They're zone-able; the sounders can be used to indicate other conditions (e.g., heat or gas detectors), and when one goes off you can look at the system screen to see which one, instead of running around all over the house trying to figure it out.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 9:01PM
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Fa F3

YES! Exactly!!!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 8:11AM
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