Smoke detectors question

vala55September 18, 2011

The builder installed my smoke detector, it has a battery back up. I was wondering if the battery was only a back up or is it something the detector needs to work properly. I am asking because I have 9 ft ceilings and I do not need to be climbing that high at 74 to replace batteries. I does not beep if the batteries run down.

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Ron Natalie

It's a backup, but mine do indeed beep when they're low even if the power is on.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 12:32AM
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Thank you, someone told me it wouldn't work if I didn't replace the battery. I didn't believe that, but wanted a confirmation that I was right. The only time mine beeps is when I have a power outage.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 9:34AM
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"I does not beep if the batteries run down."


It should beep if the battery is low.
Usually it is a brief (but annoying) chirp.

If you remove the battery it should chirp all the time.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 11:22AM
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Maybe the battery is still good, it's been over a year since it was replaced. When the power was off it did chirp for a few minutes but soon quit.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 8:32PM
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The batteries will usually last well over one year. The recommendation is to change all the batteries on a certain day that is easy to remember like April 1 (April Fool's Day).

If you go this route then have a person come in and change all of them for you. Could be a neighbor, relative, fellow member of any organization you belong to.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 11:13PM
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Ron Natalie

Yeah, and if one starts chirping , you might as well change them all. My problem is between the smokes and some of the other ancillary alarms (CO etc) it's real hard to localize which one chirped, I hear it, go stand in the general vicinity and wait a few minutes until it happens again, etc... Mine will go a couple of years, but once one starts, I hit them all.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 7:58AM
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If the smoke alarms were properly installed, they should be hard wired so all the alarms in the house go off at the same time if only one alarm senses smoke. These alarms have a battery back up if the power should go off.

If they are not hard wired, it sounds like you may have a problem.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 1:08PM
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I have smoke detectors which are hard wired with a battery backup. My experience is that the batteries last for about 3 years.

When the battery (9-volt) does run down the smoke detector will Beep. This beep is only once every minute or so. This means it is (a) annoying enough that you have to fix it and (b) it is not often enough so that if you have 10 or more detectors in your house it takes forever to try and track down which one it is.

The really bad news is that in a power outage, often in the winter, a number go off. This is because you have no power, so they are on batteries alone, and it is cold, so the batteries' chemical process does not run as fast. So maybe a few go into beep mode.

So there I am freezing in a cold house, it is dark. I need a flashlight and a ladder to replace the battery. The Boss (my wife) is not happy. So after lugging the ladder upstairs, and placing it. You discover that the detector your thought it was is not the right one. Listen some more, maybe the other bed room. Oohh the floor is cold.

Eventually after getting to the detector you replace the battery. Put the ladder away and get back to bed. 30 mins later. Beep. Yup another one goes off ....

Oh well I guess it is better safe than sorry. My recomendation is then when you have a helpful son, cousin, daughter -- "conscript" :) handy. Ask then to replace all the batteries once every two years or so. This method will keep your toes warm.....

All the best, Mike.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 1:46PM
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"The Boss (my wife) is not happy"

Beeping, what beeping? I don't hear any beeping. If you can find the source of the beeping (to the Boss), I will fix it.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2011 at 2:24PM
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I don't think I have a problem, I tested it and it beeps when pushed. I guess the battery was just not strong enough to carry it when the power was off. I can change them, I just don't think it's wise. LOL

thanks for the replies.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2011 at 9:33AM
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Maybe this is a good product idea for all you sparkies? How about a hard-wired battery backup for hard-wired smokes? Maybe a lithium battery that gets a trickle charge when the power is on and then powers all the smokes when the power goes off. No more 9V batteries, and no more 2:00 AM wake-ups because the battery is low. (I guess you would need a way to monitor the efficacy of the lithium battery)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 5:08PM
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First, the NEC does not require smoke detectors. Various building and housing codes do require them. The code with which I am familiar requires smoke detectors to be on lighting circuits. One assumes this is so the circuit will not be turned off and left that way. And a general failure of that circuit would be quickly noticed. The idea proposed is technically possible but would not necessarily meet the existing codes. And I doubt that the market place would buy many of them.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 5:23PM
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I agree with bus driver. In Dallas, the hard wiring of smoke alarms is required by the fire marshall. They must be on a dedicated circuit and there are rules where they should placed.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 9:58AM
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I have a similar question....... One of our detectors in our new house (been here exactly 1 yr) is 20 ft up in our 2-story foyer! How in the world will I ever get that battery changed??? I complained to the builder who said that it couldn't be right outside the master bedroom's door--where it should be--because of the air exchange being in that location (small foyer-like area to the bedroom door) but that it still had to be close by (so it's 20' up?).

Anyway, anyone know if there's a hard-wired smoke detector available that doesn't require batteries?


    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 12:51PM
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Assuming that the available floor space under the detector is adequate, a trestle ladder will reach. I have a good one and can reach about 22 1/2 feet when I straddle the top rung of the vertical extension. It is best to have two people to move it in and out of the house.
The listed height is the height of the base section. The vertical extension is added to that.

Here is a link that might be useful: ladder

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 1:18PM
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I am replacing my 27 year old smoke detectors which are all hardwired Blk/wht/red wires. I have attempted to replace one so far and the alarm will not shut down it continues to beep. I wired the black to the black, the white to the white, and the red to the red wires. then I snap in the three prong AC connector into unit. Beep, beep, beep .................... I was going to replace 5 smoke detectors. What am I doing wrong. (PS tried installing another new smoke detector and the same results.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 3:48PM
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Ron Natalie

Well you either failed to connect them properly (though your description sounds correct) or the old smokes are incompatible with the new ones (quite possible). Replace the rest of them with the other new ones you bought and see if it works better.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2014 at 5:26PM
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Thanks for your help. Wired in all five smoke detectors and they all work now. No beeping sounds for now. Once agin thanks.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2014 at 8:54PM
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