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Old 11-06-2010, 12:39 PM   #1
mhs
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Smoke Detector without Battery, Vaulted Ceilings


Can someone help us with this?

We live in this wonderful, converted church--Church. New England, old, beautiful...you know where we are going, right? Yes, the beautiful, peaked, vaulted ceilings, 20+ feet high, loved it, and still do.

But, three years later, those interconnected smoke detectors (Kidde/FireX 12000 series) are starting to chirp, just like the birds did back in 1880....

Okay, so the design is stupid, putting a battery backup, 20' up on the ceiling at the top of the staircase. And, the online help is completely inane...Place tall ladder under detector for easy replacement of battery, conveniently located and easily visible on front of detector...with binoculars...

So, here is what I want to do. I want to cause the batteries to wear out and convert the system to a functioning system, without battery backup. Then, purchase battery-only detectors, placing them as high on the wall as reasonably possible, following of course those ever so logical requirements of "within 12' of the ceiling'.

Can this be done? So, without paying $200 for a kind, young, aerialist, with multiple gorilla ladders to replace $5 batteries, can I from the ground disable the batteries, eliminate the chirping, and still have the hard-wired functionality?

Alternatively, can I "one time only" remove the battery-backup units, replace them with a system without battery backup? (If we are going up, we are getting rid of the stupid batteries...)

In each case, I would supplement with reachable battery-only detectors.

The fall back, I suppose, would be to buy a shotgun, blast the little critters to oblivion and simply live with the resulting holes in the ceilings.

Alternative, one would seem to be preferable....


Last edited by mhs; 11-06-2010 at 12:40 PM. Reason: Misspelling in Title
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Old 11-06-2010, 02:13 PM   #2
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Smoke Detector without Battery, Vaulted Ceilings


you should speak with your local inspectors. I know your solution would not be acceptable in my area. The detectors must be interconnected and you cannot just take out the battery because they will not work properly, some of them chirp because there is no battery, and most likely, they must have battery backup to be legal.

you might also want check with the inspector about the placement. Not sure exactly what you have in mind but is isn't sounding proper.

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Old 11-06-2010, 05:34 PM   #3
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Smoke Detector without Battery, Vaulted Ceilings


Get a lithium 9v battery, it will last 10 years+.

A lot of the newer dual-power detectors come with either changeable or not changeable 9v lithium batteries. The idea behind the non-changeable ones is that you are supposed to replace the detectors every 10 years anyway.

That's lithium, not lithium-ion. They are usually silver and weigh less than any other kind of battery.
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:19 PM   #4
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Smoke Detector without Battery, Vaulted Ceilings


Will this work? Hire a young acrobat aerialist once to remove the existing smoke detectors completely. Then install a complete new interconnected system on the wall within easy reach with just one gorilla ladder?
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Old 11-07-2010, 11:09 PM   #5
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Smoke Detector without Battery, Vaulted Ceilings


Oh boy. Several ideas come to mind... In order of least- to most- frankensteined:

1, replace existing self-contained units with a monitored "system". Battery backup is then centralized. One battery to maintain, and it's usually rechargeable...

2, install batteries remotely. 9VDC fits into 'class 2' wiring. Attach 9V snap connectors to the ends of some thermostat cable, fish it through to a convenient not-20-feet-in-the-air location, and install all the batteries in a wall box at that location. Probably not optimal legally, but functional, and the detectors will retain their "beep if there's a problem" behavior anyway.

3, this one's really insane and I shouldn't even be typing it, replace with 9V rechargeable batteries and install ISOLATED trickle charger at each location.

Yes, for the record, FireX/Kidde detectors DO chirp when there is no battery at all.



You could rent a lift... Or install winches in the ceiling next to each detector, and buy a climbing harness...
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Old 11-08-2010, 04:40 AM   #6
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Smoke Detector without Battery, Vaulted Ceilings


Have no idea about code, but I've been installing an interconnected system in my house and I have one unit, which does not have a battery backup and it works fine with the rest of them that are.

My last house had 14' vaulted ceilings and I could just barely, probably not very safe, reach way up there with a tall step ladder. I think it was an 8 footer, but I believe they make bigger ones. I just wouldn't want to be that high up on a step ladder. What about renting, or borrowing, some scaffolding. Might be cheaper and easier than a lift and definately safer than a step ladder. Probably take 2-3 sections.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:51 AM   #7
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Smoke Detector without Battery, Vaulted Ceilings


There is the Little Giant option.

We use the Skyscraper model that has a height of 21 as an A frame ladder with some versatility in its configuration that allows work close to walls or in the middle of the ceiling.

These are pretty wide at the base and pretty heavy. Use pretty much requires a two man team and the ladders cost around 900.00 but when you need it there is really nothing else quite like it.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:52 AM   #8
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Smoke Detector without Battery, Vaulted Ceilings


There is the Little Giant option.

We use the Skyscraper model that has a height of 21 as an A frame ladder with some versatility in its configuration that allows work close to walls or in the middle of the ceiling.

These are pretty wide at the base and pretty heavy. Use pretty much requires a two man team and the ladders cost around 900.00 but when you need it there is really nothing else quite like it.

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