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Old 01-28-2013, 07:23 AM   #1
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Hard wired smoke alarms


A friend has the hard-wired smoke alarms throughout her home. Every time she cooks this thing is going off and will go off for an hour at a time. Could this be a wiring malfunction? anybody work with these before? Any troubleshooting you could share on this?
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:35 AM   #2
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Hard wired smoke alarms


Sounds like it's an installation error. The smoke alarm should not be in the cooking area. Unless of course she is burning the food all the time.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:59 AM   #3
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Hard wired smoke alarms


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Sounds like it's an installation error. The smoke alarm should not be in the cooking area. Unless of course she is burning the food all the time.
It is in the hallway outside of her kitchen and she says she isn't burning the food and it will continue to go off for an hour after she makes dinner.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:30 AM   #4
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Hard wired smoke alarms


Does she use the fan in her range hood? If not, she should.

We have a similar situation in our home. The offending detector isn't actually in the kitchen, but nearby. The only other possible location was around the corner on a living room wall, but the wife nixed that idea.

Besides location, there may be something else wrong if the detectors continue to alarm for an hour. Ours usually stop as soon as the Hush button is pushed. They also have a feature that when they aren't alarming, pushing the Hush button reduces the sensitivity of that one detector for a short period (30 minutes, I think) to prevent nuisance alarms while cooking.

Another thought: smoke detectors sometimes actually require cleaning to remove accumulations of dust, cobwebs, etc. Might pick up a can of compressed air like what's used for cleaning computers and give it a try.

Last edited by md2lgyk; 01-28-2013 at 08:32 AM.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:40 AM   #5
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Hard wired smoke alarms


Swap it out for a CO2 detector.
I was watching a PBS program on smoke detectors and saw a few things I'd never though about, but made since.
Over time the photo eye loads up with dust and become more more likly to go off.
They also show just how long it took differant detectors to go off.
By far the "smoke" detectors took the longest and often times the house was fully burning before it went off.
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:41 AM   #6
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Hard wired smoke alarms


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Another thought: smoke detectors sometimes actually require cleaning to remove accumulations of dust, cobwebs, etc. Might pick up a can of compressed air like what's used for cleaning computers and give it a try.
To that point, how old are the detectors in question? They're only supposed to have a life span of 7 years IIRC.
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Old 01-28-2013, 09:41 AM   #7
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Hard wired smoke alarms


It is likely that the detector is too close to the kitchen or it is the wrong type. Sometimes you can't see the smoke but a very light haze is present and causes the detector to trip. If this only happens while cooking then that is most likely the cause. I would start by replacing the detector with a new one and see if it still happens.

I was watching a PBS program on smoke detectors and saw a few things I'd never though about, but made since.
Over time the photo eye loads up with dust and become more more likly to go off.
They also show just how long it took differant detectors to go off.
By far the "smoke" detectors took the longest and often times the house was fully burning before it went off.


I think I remember that show. Most people have the wrong types of detectors installed in the wrong areas of the home. The photoelectric type respond better to smoldering fires (which most fires start out as) while the ionization type respond better to flaming type fires. There are also combination Photoelectric/Ionization that sense both but code up here in MA is that the ionization type shall not be used if within 20ft. of an entryway into a kitchen or bathroom with a shower or tub.
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Old 01-28-2013, 12:25 PM   #8
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Hard wired smoke alarms


Yup: the ionization type (which is the most common just because it is slightly cheaper) falses all the time from cooking or showering. Requiring a photoelectric near these places not only avoids annoyances, but makes it less likely someone will disable them to stop the noise and render them useless in a real emergency.
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