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Old 02-16-2009, 07:59 PM   #1
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Smoke Detectors / CO Detector


Hello,
What are the requirements when installing Smoke detectors or Carbon Monoxide detectors in a room that has a ceiling fan? Also, I know smoke detectors must now be interconnected. Do carbon monoxide detectors have to be interconnected also? Is this for 1 apartment, or is the interconnection on all apartments and basement? I have a three family home. Three apartments and an unfinished basement. What are your thoughts on the wireless systems everyone seems to be advertising? Any recommendations? As always, thanks for your time and input.

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Old 02-16-2009, 09:07 PM   #2
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Smoke Detectors / CO Detector


The international fire code requires 3' from sources of air movement to smoke detectors. That includes heat/AC vents, air returns, attic fans, and ceiling fans. The residential code doesn't give any requirements regarding the specifics of positioning of smokes. I'd consider 3' an absolute minimum clearance, but would defer to the manufacturer's installation instructions to ensure they're not more strict than the code.

Smokes must be interconnected within each dwelling unit. The only way around that in a remodel situation is if destructive measures would be needed to get a wire through. In a top floor with an attic above, new smokes are a no-brainer because the attic gives access. When dealing with finished space above and below, getting a wire through can sometimes present big challenges (not always), so the code gives the option of a battery powered smoke. Definately discuss with your inspector ahead of time to make sure everyone agrees.

Whether or not the smokes must be interconnected in all three dwelling units of your building really depends on a lot of factors. It depends on what code your building was built under (UBC, IBC, IRC, CABO, etc), and will definately vary based on local requirements. Can't answer that for you definitively.

Is your home a converted single family residence with rental space for three tenants, or three separate units like a townhome?

The code I'm familiar with doesn't have CO detector requirements. Hopefully someone can help with that.

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Old 02-16-2009, 09:24 PM   #3
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Smoke Detectors / CO Detector


I bought the CO/Smoke detector combined unit - 1 for each floor
Then smokes for the bedrooms, all of mine are interconnected
I was under the impression they had to be....but not 100% sure

3' from a fan, that means in two of my bedrooms I can't install a smoke
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Old 02-16-2009, 09:29 PM   #4
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Smoke Detectors / CO Detector


When I had our addition done a few years ago they made us put interconnecting throughout the house. They wanted a smoke in each bedroom and a combo smoke/co in the hallway outside the bedrooms upstairs and a combo downstairs in the "common" area of the house and one in the basement .
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:12 PM   #5
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Smoke Detectors / CO Detector


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
3' from a fan, that means in two of my bedrooms I can't install a smoke
Actually, it means you can't install a fan.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:14 PM   #6
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Smoke Detectors / CO Detector


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Originally Posted by Plumbvoltage View Post
When I had our addition done a few years ago they made us put interconnecting throughout the house. They wanted a smoke in each bedroom and a combo smoke/co in the hallway outside the bedrooms upstairs and a combo downstairs in the "common" area of the house and one in the basement .
They took it a little too far in my opinion...Albeit with good intentions. The addition should be code-compliant, but if the remainder of the house is not part of the scope of work it is excessive to require work in unaffected areas. The code makes that pretty clear in the administrative chapter.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:41 PM   #7
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Smoke Detectors / CO Detector


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
They took it a little too far in my opinion...Albeit with good intentions. The addition should be code-compliant, but if the remainder of the house is not part of the scope of work it is excessive to require work in unaffected areas. The code makes that pretty clear in the administrative chapter.
I actually would rather it be like we have it. It wasn't that bad for them to wire in at all (attic access and crawl space and basement access).
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:55 PM   #8
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Smoke Detectors / CO Detector


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Originally Posted by thekctermite View Post
Actually, it means you can't install a fan.
Fan was already there

Fire Inspector (Lt) at my last house insisted on hard wired
Despite the fact I had not changed the house
I put a new roof on with a larger attic
The 2 guys who came out for the final inspection - fire cert for smokes - just rolled their eyes when I told them who made me install the hard wired

Here a 25% change in the house triggers retrofitting of the hard wired smokes. I haven't heard of any exceptions - not that I looked into it that much. I installed hardwired here due to the fact I am doubling the size of the house
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Old 02-17-2009, 01:45 AM   #9
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Smoke Detectors / CO Detector


Battery operated wireless smokes get around the pesky wiring problems. Not cheap, but we are doing more wireless on small commercial. you also have the option of wireless intrusion for doors and windows.
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Old 02-17-2009, 05:12 AM   #10
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Thanks for your time and input, very informative. My house is a three family home with three separate apartments. Not sure when it was built or under what code. It is my understanding that if you rewire a house you MUST hard wire smoke detectors, is this correct? Also, I read somewhere in the NEC code that fire alarms can not be wired to an AFCI breaker. Are fire alarms and smoke detectors considered different systems? I also read that smoke alarms should be fed from a light source so that it would be apparent when the circuit was out. I am planning on taking power from a bedroom light. That is the reason of my question. Bedrooms are on AFCI. Thanks again for your time and input.

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