Smoke Detector hard wired, no battery!

agrandmaNovember 6, 2010

I have an old smoke detector (brk brand) that is hard-wired. There is no battery in it at all, no battery back-up (It never had one, it's a sealed unit). It started sounding very loudly and my son's friend just pulled the white wire out of it so it would stop sounding. We tried to clean the smoke detector using compressed air, and it still won't stop the sound when I reconnect the white wire to the unit. As of now it's hanging from the ceiling with a black wire connected to the unit and the white wire is hanging loose.

I'm not sure what to do now. We could just go buy a battery smoke detector, but what do we do with the wires hanging from the ceiling for the old unit? Or - we could get a hard-wire replacement. Are those easy to install?

Help please if you can, I realize this is hazardous!

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Interestingly enough if he were going to remove just one wire, I would have removed the black one... Either way, it's not a bomb. It is, however, a hazard to have ANY live wires "sticking out" or otherwise not properly "ended".

If you choose to get rid of the hardwired smoke detector altogether, "cap" the wires with "wire nuts" and put a blank round plate over the hole (you can buy the plate at almost any hardware store. Don't try to make one yourself. Same with wirenuts.)

Installing a new hardwired one is similarly simple. Match black to black, white to white, attach with wires, and secure it to the wall/ceiling per the instructions (usually two screws).

I haven't seen a smoke detector with a ground wire since the early 80s, but if you somehow manage to find one, it'll have a green wire that needs to be connected to the bare copper wire in the wall/ceiling, also with a wirenut.

No matter which option you choose, you'll want to turn off the power before mucking around with them wires. Since you probably have no reliable way to TEST them, I'd recommend turning off the power to the entire house.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2010 at 11:07PM
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We appreciate your reply. We honestly didn't know what to do, and couldn't find directions on the Internet or even an old manual for that unit.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2010 at 6:15PM
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