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Old 12-31-2011, 02:24 AM   #1
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Attic heat sensors


So, I wanted to put two or three smoke detectors in the attic. Reading up on it, found out that unfinished attic dust causes false alarms.

So, I'm going to put two or three 200 degree (F) heat detectors in the attic. I'm going with versions that are AC hardwired, and don't have a 9V backup (so no one has to crawl up there to replace the battery.)

I know this isn't needed, but we'd love the piece of mind.

I had the thought today that I could put a single switch in the master bedroom closet, all the way up the back or side wall near the ceiling where the attic hatch is. I could put a clear plastic plate over it, marking to leave on unless the alarms are malfunctioning.

It's probably overkill, but that way if the alarms wouldn't shut up, and it was determined they were malfunctioning rather than there was a fire, there would be an easier way to kill them temporarily rather than running through the insulation we're going to blow in. I don't see a malfunction happening, attic should never come close to 200F... but I keep remembering a hotel I was at when I was young that the smoke alarm went off every 15 minutes all night long...


Anyone see a problem with this? Are you allowed to do this?

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Old 12-31-2011, 08:12 AM   #2
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Anyone see a problem with this?
Is there really nothing in or around your home that actually needs doing?

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Old 12-31-2011, 01:35 PM   #3
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Attic heat sensors


i dont know mutch about heat detector codes. but chances are your breaking atlease one.(probally the switch) Smokes usually get wired into a branch circuit like the lights so you can see relatively quickly if the breakers tripped. I have young childeren so i would be more worried that they turned the dam swith off to the detecors rather then them malfunctioning. Sounds like theirs gotta be a better option out there somewhere.
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Old 12-31-2011, 03:03 PM   #4
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Attic heat sensors


Given there's no code saying you have to do it, if you do go ahead and do it, the way you do it probably does not matter too much as long as electrical codes are followed. I'm sure the switch is fine. This is actually a good idea. I was thinking of this the other day, I have a smoke detector that will alert a monitoring station if it goes off, but what if I get a fire in the attic? Nothing is going to detect that before the whole room collapsed into the house, at which point the worse damage will be done and it will be too late. If you notice, lot of house fires do start in the attic. Or they may start in an inside wall or room that's far from the smoke detector, but move up into the attic.

One thing I've been wanting to find is some kind of USB circuit board with like 20 on/off inputs that can be programmed to do something if they are tripped. You could modify various detection devices such as CO and heat so that when they are triggered, they close the circuit to these inputs,which would then send an email or SMS message.

It's very nice to have detection devices in a house, but when you're at work 90% of the day, the odds are you wont be home to act on it.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:18 PM   #5
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Attic heat sensors


TarheelTerp - Hehehe, well I'm already rewiring all of my main floor lights in the attic, so I've been up there a bunch lately. Putting in a few heat alarms won't take long, and if I put in a switch, it wouldn't take long to put in at all, especially since one of the alarms would be going right by the attic hatch anyway.

AlKapone - I don't believe heat detectors are required by my city's building code. I don't think many people at all use them in attics. Also, the house was built in 1958, so there's going to be some type of grandfathering, although I might trip that up by installing the detectors. If I do this and put in a switch, it's going to be all the way up near the ceiling attic hatch in the master bedroom closet. Not impossible for a kid to get, but they'd need a ladder unless they were tall enough for a chair, and then they should know better. Nevertheless, if I'm going to do this, I can always give my fire department and building department a call and see their opinion.

Red Squirrel - Yeah, those extra few minutes could be very important. Unless smoke started falling down into the rest of the house (less likely since I'm air sealing + insulating, but still possible), my neighbors might know my attic was on fire before I did. My stepfather had a horrible attic fire like 30 years ago. (Knob & tube plus very leaky roof equals a problem.) My grandparent in-laws house burned down from an attic fire about a month after they sold it to someone else.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:26 PM   #6
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Attic heat sensors


Why use a separate disconnect switch when it will be on a circuit with a breaker anyway? Just turn off the breaker if it malfunctions. Put them on a lighting circuit so it will be obvious if the power is off.
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Old 12-31-2011, 09:34 PM   #7
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Why use a separate disconnect switch when it will be on a circuit with a breaker anyway? Just turn off the breaker if it malfunctions. Put them on a lighting circuit so it will be obvious if the power is off.
Ohhh, I get it. I didn't catch the relevance of AlKapone was saying about smoke detectors being wired into a branch circuit. I like this idea much better than a disconnect switch. Not that it matters much to this question, but the smoke detectors are all 9V only. They aren't AC powered, and aren't linked. We're debating whether to upgrade all these right now.

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