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    Thread: Silent smoke detector?

    1. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      03-25-2012 05:36 PM #1
      There are 11 smoke detectors in my house. I just replaced them all with ac units with lithium battery back-up.

      Unfortunately, when one goes off they all sound off at the same time, sending our critters for their favorite hiding place and driving my wife out of the house. The sound is deafening as there's no car pen in the house to absorb sound. It really is painful.

      I did a web search for "smoke detectors without alarms" and Google responded, "Did you want smoke detectors with alarms?"

      I know there are people here that have one in every room, required by many localities. WTF do you do when they all go off?

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    2. Geriatric Member ATL_Av8r's Avatar
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      03-25-2012 06:46 PM #2
      Gentex makes a few models with strobe lights for the hearing impaired. Not sure if they have a hardwired version with the "networking" feature, but you may want to drop by a website dedicated to products for the hearing impaired.

      My smoke detectors are due for replacement and I can't decide if I should go battery or hardwired. We don't have a requirement for every room here, but I would like to get combo smoke/CO detectors if possible to get rid of the ugly plug-in CO detectors we have.
      MemeGate 2012 - First Responder, post #2

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      03-25-2012 08:43 PM #3
      Both me and my parents have gone to a central smoke alarm system. Although more time consuming to install than simply screwing a detector to the drywall (you have to pull alarm wire through your walls, which is annoying), it means that we can have many types of detectors (for example, the kitchen detectors are heat sensing only, meaning no more false alarms from the toaster) and we can have customization on the actual alarm sound.

      There are two klaxons on my system. I've customized the alarm so instead of a siren, I simply get a voice which says "Fire in zone [insert zone here]".

      Zone 1 is the kitchen, zone 2 is the living room, 3 is the TV room, etc etc etc you get the idea.

      Mine is an older Honeywell system which I pieced together for about $500 from components I purchased 2nd hand. I pulled the wires and did the installation myself.

    4. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      03-25-2012 09:12 PM #4
      I'm afraid that that's not a possibility in my house without doing severe plaster damage.

      I wish I had had that forethought 20 years ago when I built it.
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

      I am confident you are wrong, but instead of illustrating why, I will just make disparaging remarks about your reading comprehension.
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    5. Member Tornado2dr's Avatar
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      03-26-2012 12:08 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      I know there are people here that have one in every room, required by many localities. WTF do you do when they all go off?

      Me? I run around the house at 2:30AM like a madman in my shorts swinging wildly at the ceiling with whatever is available until I have 3 of 7 detectors broken, 2 dangling from wires on the cieling, and the rest chirping on the floor until I can rip the blasted batteries out.

      I have a love-hate relationship with them...in that I hate them and would love to disconnect them---but they work...so I just replace batteries every 4 months so I don't have to listen to the chirping. (at two in the morning...because there is no way a battery can go dead at 4pm on a saturday, it has to happen on a tuesday in the middle of the night)

    6. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      03-26-2012 12:24 PM #6
      Because, smoke detector.

      I called BRK. They made two suggestions.

      1. With the level of protection we have, and the fact that we own cats (which means you can never close a door), they suggested that I disconnect the interconnect wire and leave them as stand-alone units.

      2. Purchase two photoelectric units for the kitchen and garage and wire them as stand-alone units, too. The ionization detectors I bought are much more sensitive to cooking smoke and lawnmower exhaust while the recommended photo-electric units require a density of smoke to be set off.
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

      I am confident you are wrong, but instead of illustrating why, I will just make disparaging remarks about your reading comprehension.
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    7. Member Tornado2dr's Avatar
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      03-26-2012 01:07 PM #7
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      Because, smoke detector.

      I called BRK. They made two suggestions.

      1. With the level of protection we have, and the fact that we own cats (which means you can never close a door), they suggested that I disconnect the interconnect wire and leave them as stand-alone units.

      2. Purchase two photoelectric units for the kitchen and garage and wire them as stand-alone units, too. The ionization detectors I bought are much more sensitive to cooking smoke and lawnmower exhaust while the recommended photo-electric units require a density of smoke to be set off.
      You have a SD in the kitchen? Ugh - that wouldn't be much fun(especially as often as my wife accidentally blackens toast)

    8. Member robr2's Avatar
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      03-26-2012 10:10 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      There are 11 smoke detectors in my house. I just replaced them all with ac units with lithium battery back-up...WTF do you do when they all go off?
      11? Pfft - amatuer hour.

      I have 16 and I just deal with them when they go off. Basically I run around trying to find the one with the red light flashing.

      4 heat
      4 CO
      8 smoke
      all wired with about 200' of 14/3.

    9. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      03-26-2012 10:16 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by Tornado2dr View Post
      You have a SD in the kitchen? Ugh - that wouldn't be much fun(especially as often as my wife accidentally blackens toast)
      I do all the cooking, so I would be the one setting it off. My wife is not allowed to be around anything sharp, nor hot. She's allowed to use the microwave and assemble sandwiches.

      Actually, I wanted it gone, but the lady insists. Changing it and making it a stand-alone should solve the problem, or not.
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

      I am confident you are wrong, but instead of illustrating why, I will just make disparaging remarks about your reading comprehension.
      -Zukjimpiphile

    10. 03-27-2012 11:47 AM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      I do all the cooking, so I would be the one setting it off. My wife is not allowed to be around anything sharp, nor hot. She's allowed to use the microwave and assemble sandwiches.
      So no sammiches with nice sharp old cheddar? Bummer!

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    11. Member 92jetta9a's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 02:35 PM #11
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      Because, smoke detector.

      I called BRK. They made two suggestions.

      1. With the level of protection we have, and the fact that we own cats (which means you can never close a door), they suggested that I disconnect the interconnect wire and leave them as stand-alone units.

      2. Purchase two photoelectric units for the kitchen and garage and wire them as stand-alone units, too. The ionization detectors I bought are much more sensitive to cooking smoke and lawnmower exhaust while the recommended photo-electric units require a density of smoke to be set off.
      They didn't want to tell you that you have a bad smoke detector! I deal with these all the time and it is a painstaking process with that many to find the bad detector. You have to disconnect them from the connector and remove the battery one by one.......sucks.

      I would not disconnect the interconnect because that is what is going to help save lives.

      The photoelectric suggestion is a good one if the kitchen goes off frequently. I personally only put heat detectors in garages and make sure it is tied to the interconnect with the rest of the house.

      FYI, if you have CO/smoke detectors they fail prematurely more often than the other detectors with the BRK's. Good place to start maybe.

      I've put BRK's in hundreds of houses around here and maybe 1 out of 10 houses has 1 or 2 bad detectors.

      Good luck.
      Last edited by 92jetta9a; 04-04-2012 at 02:38 PM.

    12. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 03:18 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by 92jetta9a View Post
      They didn't want to tell you that you have a bad smoke detector! I deal with these all the time and it is a painstaking process with that many to find the bad detector. You have to disconnect them from the connector and remove the battery one by one.......sucks.

      I would not disconnect the interconnect because that is what is going to help save lives.

      The photoelectric suggestion is a good one if the kitchen goes off frequently. I personally only put heat detectors in garages and make sure it is tied to the interconnect with the rest of the house.

      FYI, if you have CO/smoke detectors they fail prematurely more often than the other detectors with the BRK's. Good place to start maybe.

      I've put BRK's in hundreds of houses around here and maybe 1 out of 10 houses has 1 or 2 bad detectors.

      Good luck.
      I understand what you're saying, but our home has an open floor plan with no carpet so sound travels more than we want it to.

      We disconnected the interconnect on everything but one detector, in the highest point in the lower level and one in the highest point in the upper level. Since the garage door is always closed I am going to take your advice and install a heat-only in the garage, but leave it interconnected.

      We did test and the alarm in the living room is more than loud enough to wake us. The balance of the alarms would still be standalone.
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

      I am confident you are wrong, but instead of illustrating why, I will just make disparaging remarks about your reading comprehension.
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    13. Geriatric Member ATL_Av8r's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 05:25 PM #13
      I'll fully admit my Googling capabilities weren't fully utilized, but do interconnected units have to be the same brand? My house is 3 story with gas heat. Is this a good plan:

      1. Bedrooms on the top floor (furnace above in attic) I figure I want a smoke/CO in the central hallway. We sleep with our door open because of the cat so we'd hear it.

      2. Main floor there is one located in a hallway that connects guest bedroom, kitchen, foyer, and the staircase down to garage/basement. For lack of better explanation it is on the back side of the wall to the kitchen separated by a threshold but no door. Not sure if this affects what type, but would like smoke/CO combo because the kid is crawling now and pulling the plug-in CO units out of the wall.

      3. Living room addition is off the eat-in dining area of the kitchen and has it's own cathedral ceiling. Thinking a combo ionization/photo in there due to concentration of electronics?

      4. Sunroom addition. Kind of it's own zone. Has a PTAC HVAC unit and separated from house by insulated door/windows. Thinking photo over ion.

      5. Basement. Semi-finished....but has the closet that the water heater and furnace are in. Definitely smoke/CO combo here.

      6. Garage. Same "floor" as the basement, but separated by doors. Probably just a heat sensor.

      Georgia code looks to be pretty lax on detectors. 1 per floor as far as I can tell.

      With all that said, is there a company that makes those versions and is interconnectable? Consumer Reports was no help at all.
      MemeGate 2012 - First Responder, post #2

      Quote Originally Posted by .skully.
      Mike, quote me in your signature

    14. Member barry2952's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 05:30 PM #14
      Quote Originally Posted by ATL_Av8r View Post
      I'll fully admit my Googling capabilities weren't fully utilized, but do interconnected units have to be the same brand? My house is 3 story with gas heat. Is this a good plan:

      1. Bedrooms on the top floor (furnace above in attic) I figure I want a smoke/CO in the central hallway. We sleep with our door open because of the cat so we'd hear it.

      2. Main floor there is one located in a hallway that connects guest bedroom, kitchen, foyer, and the staircase down to garage/basement. For lack of better explanation it is on the back side of the wall to the kitchen separated by a threshold but no door. Not sure if this affects what type, but would like smoke/CO combo because the kid is crawling now and pulling the plug-in CO units out of the wall.

      3. Living room addition is off the eat-in dining area of the kitchen and has it's own cathedral ceiling. Thinking a combo ionization/photo in there due to concentration of electronics?

      4. Sunroom addition. Kind of it's own zone. Has a PTAC HVAC unit and separated from house by insulated door/windows. Thinking photo over ion.

      5. Basement. Semi-finished....but has the closet that the water heater and furnace are in. Definitely smoke/CO combo here.

      6. Garage. Same "floor" as the basement, but separated by doors. Probably just a heat sensor.

      Georgia code looks to be pretty lax on detectors. 1 per floor as far as I can tell.

      With all that said, is there a company that makes those versions and is interconnectable? Consumer Reports was no help at all.
      I believe the First Alert and BRK (same manufacturer) have everything you need.

      Does anybody know whether the interconnect wire gets voltage or an electronic signal?
      Garmin Is My Pilot.

      I am confident you are wrong, but instead of illustrating why, I will just make disparaging remarks about your reading comprehension.
      -Zukjimpiphile

    15. Member robr2's Avatar
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      04-04-2012 08:00 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      I believe the First Alert and BRK (same manufacturer) have everything you need.

      Does anybody know whether the interconnect wire gets voltage or an electronic signal?
      I have FireX by Kiddie offers everything as well.

      What I understand is the interconnected wire carries a 9V signal.

    16. Member 92jetta9a's Avatar
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      04-05-2012 04:05 PM #16
      BRK and First Alert are compatible with each other. Kiddie and Firex are compatible with each other. Just don't mix the two pairs because they are not and will cause nuscience alarms and drive you mad.

      In Illinois, smokes are required in every bedroom; a CO/smoke within 15ft. of every bedroom, no matter what floor; and one smoke on every floor (including basement) within 20ft. of the stairs. Some municipalities take it a step further and require a heat detector in the garage which of course is all interconnected together so if any of the devices go off, they all do. This includes the heat detector too.

      Interconnect is a signal (3rd wire) between devices that enables all the devices when one of them goes off. If your house is not already wired for this than you can use the new wireless stuff which all of the devices would have to be. (copied from BRK's website):

      RF Interconnect: reliable and secure radio frequency communication between alarms. 915 MHz frequency with 65,000 security codes and 3 channel frequency hopping.

      Just make sure your not rocking one of cool old school cordless phones in that frequency range. :D

      The ionization smokes are generally used where there is a chance of smoke and steam because the photovoltaic smokes create nuscience alarms. Use a photovoltaic in the sun room.

      Hope that answers your questions. If not, ask away. :beer:

      And yes, the interconnect on most hardwired systems is supposed to be a 9v signal to trigger the devices.

      One last note, the distance from the wall if mounted on the ceiling is 4" minimum and if mounted vertically no lower than 12" from the ceiling; within 3' of the peak of a vaulted ceiling vertically and greater than 3' from the bathroom door and cold air returns as per national fire protection agency. If you read the instructions you should be fine but most manufacturers require 10ft. distance from the bathroom door which is usually not possible.
      Last edited by 92jetta9a; 04-05-2012 at 04:18 PM. Reason: Location of installation

    17. Member robr2's Avatar
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      04-05-2012 10:40 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by 92jetta9a View Post
      In Illinois, smokes are required in every bedroom; a CO/smoke within 15ft. of every bedroom, no matter what floor; and one smoke on every floor (including basement) within 20ft. of the stairs. Some municipalities take it a step further and require a heat detector in the garage which of course is all interconnected together so if any of the devices go off, they all do. This includes the heat detector too.
      Here in MA, smokes are required in each bedroom, one at the foot of every staircase and one in each hallway within 10' of each bedroom. A CO is required on each floor. Heat is required above each bay in a garage. Lastly, heat and CO is required by each furnace.

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