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Old 11-21-2007, 10:23 AM   #31
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Smoke detector - Living room with FP and fan


I subscribe to the following theories:
Life is short:
always use the good china, and eat dessert first.

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Old 11-22-2007, 01:07 AM   #32
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kidde does sell an adaptor to connect some competitive brands to the kidde wiring harness. I have not tried them, so cannot tell you if they do or do not work.

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Old 11-22-2007, 11:12 AM   #33
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I've purchased those before and the adapters work very well but it still comes down to where all of the detectors must be one brand AND within a compatible model series. I've spoken with Firex and also Kidde Tech Service folks about this shortcoming on several occasions.

Apparently, there is no universal language among communicating smoke detectors and you wind up with either no communication or continuous false alarms that cannot be silenced.

A strange but true story here:

In one instance, I was summoned by a homeowner who had installed several new AC/battery detectors with these plug adapters in his home in with several of the old ones a day earlier. He called from a friend's home to say that the detectors would not stop squealing throughout his house. As I drove up through the development's gates to meet him, I could hear them squealing from a few blocks away. I had to put in foam ear plugs, put on ear muff protectors and move my faux Little Giant ladder around the home to remove each detector, disconnect the AC plug AND remove the battery to silence the smoke alarms. He stayed outside. 11 detectors going off at once is more than just VERY LOUD. *LOL After a minute, it actually becomes unnerving.

It ended up where the homeowner had to buy ALL brand new ones of the same type. Cost him $150 at HD for two 6-packs of Firex. Apparently once that miscommunication happens with another brand, the detectors are considered by the manufacturers to no longer be completely reliable. Maybe something gets shorted out or fried. Not being a smoke detector whiz or electronics guru, I couldn't tell you if it does or why it would but I believed that it was well worth the extra money to buy all new and start over fresh. So did the customer.

Since replacing all of them, no false alarms and if one does start because he burned his toast, they all ring and then after the smoke clears, they all stop which is pretty much what they're supposed to do.
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Old 11-22-2007, 01:29 PM   #34
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One detector is unnerving enough. I can't imagine the din that would take place were that many to go off in a private home.
Has your client considered a monitored service such as Secutek or ADT, Brinks or that type thing.. It sounds like they could easily afford it, and in fact most people can given the pricing has gone down so dramatically.
Brinks I know does monitored home security systems, including burglar alarms and smoke detectors , their prices are great and the install is now something like 100 dollars..
If you are serious about staying safe from fire and intrusion, thats a route I would recommend. In point of fact, if you think about it, given all the bars, and the smoke detectors and the extra bother, it's probably cheaper in the long run . LOL..
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Old 11-22-2007, 02:02 PM   #35
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ALWAYS zone those puppies out so only two or three go off at one time...
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Old 11-22-2007, 03:08 PM   #36
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For as much money as there is out here in the greater Scottsdale area and for as many luxury homes as there already are, the smoke detector circuits are simply daisychained throughout the home and end up on one breaker in the panel. It's just a cookie-cutter process with no thought in advance for the layout of the home once it's inhabited. To properly zone them as a retrofit would require considerable work and to most would just be an unnecessary expenditure. If they all go off, despite the horrific din, then they did their job as far as most homeowners are concerned.

The problem with monitoring services and alarm companies out here is that they will generally only link to their proprietary installed detectors, not the home's built-in detector circuit. That's primarily because of the units' age, power outages, battery failures, false alarms, unnecessary police and fire rollups, resulting fines and noise citations, etc. And, beyond the initial installation cost of their detectors, they often charge the homeowner a monthly vigorish on any additional sensing units as part of the contract.

Frankly, I think 11 smoke detectors in a one story home, albeit a large one, are overkill. Some are located in corners on walls and in ther areas that are contrary to Lady MacB's posted link to the widely-layout recommendation and therefore questionable as far as their actual usefulness goes.

Sometimes, less can be more. But, I'm not an architect or a builder or an expert and so I can only deal with them on the back end afterwards.
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Old 11-22-2007, 05:50 PM   #37
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It certainly sounds like overkill. Eleven, unless its in a place the size of Sandringham Palace isn't a necessity its just being silly.
If only we could take the overkill houses and smush them together with the people who think its okay to have just one, and then leave it dangling open with the batteries removed... LOL..
Sounds like you have some interesting clients.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving dinner, speaking of overkill.. ~L~
Robbi.
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Old 11-22-2007, 06:06 PM   #38
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End Grain, thank you for posting your experiences with the smoke alarm adaptors. Now I know not to waste my time and money on those things. I have had similar experiences with different brands of smoke alarms. I have hired electricians to fix smoke alarm problems and they actually unwired the alarms. I knew there was a reason I just carry smoke alarms from the 3 major brands and plug in a new alarm.
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Old 11-23-2007, 12:12 AM   #39
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What part of the world are you from fireguy? Nebraska is seriously cold tonight.

Last edited by ladymacbeth; 11-23-2007 at 01:02 AM.
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Old 11-26-2007, 10:46 AM   #40
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Hey there Lady MacB, what made you choose Maleficent as your avatar? I remember her from when I was a kid - a very long time ago, *LOL
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Old 11-26-2007, 03:00 PM   #41
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LOL End grain.. I remembered her too.. shes a mean little thing and I tend toward that outlook too..
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Old 11-29-2007, 11:20 PM   #42
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33 F and snowing, with snow until at least next week. I left town to work on Monday and have not got my snow tires on the van yet. The tire shop tells me they can get me in Saturday at 4;00 PM. I am home now, but am working 90 miles E tommorrow, 50 miles north tommorrow night, and 150 miles West on Saturday. Sunday is 135 Miles E to fly to Birmingham for classes all of next week.
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Old 12-28-2007, 09:59 AM   #43
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There are many places where all detectors in the house are required to sound when any one goes off, zoning is not allowed in those places. How about recommending that people check thier local code.

When a home renovation in my part of NJ, improves the value of the house by 25%, the whole house must be brought up to code....which includes interconnected detectors in all bedrooms, plus one in a common area on each floor and at least one on each floor must be a co2 as well.

Overkill? is that possible? Have you heard of alarms ignored? people waiting till morning to act on them? basement fire in a baloon frame structure with seperate alarms...the one in the sleeping area not going off till too late?

I wish that town officials would recheck all houses that have not been renovated recently, they are most in need.

As a firefighter for 16 years, I have seen these things happen, and I have also responded to probably 5,000 false alarms personaly......the only regret being the tradgedy which could have been avoided.

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