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Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2

Smoke detectors - hardwired

Our house was built in '03 and has "built-in" smoke detectors (BRK 4120) that are AC-powered and wired together. A couple seem to be dying as they will beep for no obvious reason. Putting in a brand new battery makes no difference.

I found a model from KIDDE that includes different wiring adapters for this brand (multiple models, including ours) as well as First Alert models. My question is in regards to the mounting plate. A person at the big-box store (please, comments about the reliability of store staff aren't needed nor desired) said that for a number of years, these plates are supposed to be "universal" for exactly the situation I'm running into. Is that the case ? I have the KIDDE website open in another tap as I type this and will be reading up next...


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
No.

TheMG
Premium
join:2007-09-04
Canada
kudos:3
Reviews:
·NorthWest Tel
reply to Hall
said by Hall:

A couple seem to be dying as they will beep for no obvious reason. Putting in a brand new battery makes no difference.

Many newer smoke detectors have this feature where they will start beeping when they are due for replacement (10 years).

Your smoke detectors are doing exactly as the manufacturer intended.


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL

2 edits
reply to Hall
said by Hall:

A person at the big-box store (please, comments about the reliability of store staff aren't needed nor desired) said that for a number of years, these plates are supposed to be "universal" for exactly the situation I'm running into.

The mounting plate for the BRK 4120 is standard, that is to say it will match almost any box it is to be mounted to and all powered smoke detectors nowadays have bases included that will match the pattern of the box the BRK 4120 was mounted to as such they are "universal"


mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to Hall
I'm dealing with that exact same issue at my (aged) fathers house now.

Lots of complaints on BRK equipment: »www.amazon.com/BRK-Brands-9120B-···points=1

His is dated 2007.


Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to 54067323
I know that the "back" side, the side that mounts to the outlet box, would be standard. I'm referring to the visible side. It sounds like what you're saying is that the new detector will (may) in fact twist-and-mount into the BRK's mounting plate though.

Replacing the plate is certainly an option - my concern was it may be bigger (not as much of a problem) or smaller (more of a problem as worst case, drywall patching may be involved).


Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to mityfowl
Yeap, I read those already -- if my issue is truly an end-of-life warning, I shouldn't complain. Maybe some of the people complaining at Amazon shouldn't either.

I saw one person who "fixed" this by removing AC power and battery, holding a button in for "x" seconds, then re-connecting. I wonder if what they in fact did was reset the 10-year warning signal ???


John97
Over The Hills And Far Away
Premium
join:2000-11-14
Spring Hill, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Bright House
·ooma
I've been looking at this unit from Lowes:

»www.lowes.com/pd_429793-347-3120···=4113870

I bought my house in November 2012. It's 1985 construction and I bought it from a woman who was in her 90's. So, I have no idea how old the smoke detectors are, as everything else I asked her about ended up being wrong (because I think she just couldn't remember).

So, I am going to replace the three units in my house because I have no clue as to their age. I pulled one down and couldn't see anything that would give me an indication.
--
So put me on a highway, and show me a sign.
And take it to the limit one more time...


mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to Hall
said by Hall:

I saw one person who "fixed" this by removing AC power and battery, holding a button in for "x" seconds, then re-connecting. I wonder if what they in fact did was reset the 10-year warning signal ???

I tried that.

It didn't work here.


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to Hall
NFPA code says that interconnected detectors must be certified to be interoperate... And no manufacturer tests or approves their residential detectors with another companies products...

10 years is the recommended end of life for most smoke detectors...

Replace them all, at the same time, using a common brand (as in all the same) for the replacements... I like Kidde, personally; but that's just preference.

As for the mounting plates - in my experience, they aren't interchangeable between brands... Kidde detectors will generally fit on other Kidde plates, first alert on first alert; but haven't seen a Kidde fit a first alert, or vice versa...


Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
The manual for the Kidde model I looked at says it can be mixed with other compatible models.

BRK lists interconnectible models here as well, »www.brkelectronics.com/pdfs/2010···ence.pdf


Booost

@optonline.net
reply to Hall
First Alert sucks. Get a Firex (now owned by Kidde). I suggest you replace all of your smoke alarms with Kidde KN-COSM-IB combo smoke/CO 120V with battery backup.

See »www.kidde.com/Documents/900-0114%20sheet.pdf

There's also an equivalent battery powered one (no interconnect, of course).


ffblackie
You called 911 for this?
Premium
join:2002-01-13
Knoxville, TN
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Hall
Ten years is the recommended replacement age for smoke detectors due to the small amount of radioactive material inside that actually makes it work. Studies have proven that after ten years the reliability of the detector falls of to a point that they should not be trusted to accurately detect smoke in the proper time frame.
--
Thanks to Darwinism, I'll always have a job... | Proudly serving since 1997


Cho Baka
Premium,MVM
join:2000-11-23
there
kudos:2
Reviews:
·TekSavvy DSL

1 recommendation

The 10 year 'lifespan' is not due to degradation of the radioactive element inside the detector.
»www.epa.gov/radiation/sources/sm···arm.html
--


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
said by Cho Baka:

The 10 year 'lifespan' is not due to degradation of the radioactive element inside the detector.
»www.epa.gov/radiation/sources/sm···arm.html

Thanks for posting the link to accurate, factual information on the Radioactive material contained in a smoke detector. Electronic devices usually have a useful life of about 10 years and detectors would not be any different.


christos

join:2002-01-09
Bridgewater, MA
reply to Hall
First, thank you for starting this discussion. I am at a crossroads myself. I have about eight smoke and 3 heat alarms interconnected in my house. They are all about 11 years old so I'm thinking of replacing them.

In response to Booost, i looked into his recommendation and found this comment on Amazon:

"After purchasing 3 of these devices before selling house, I learned that they are unacceptable in the State of Massachusetts for the inspection. The Fire Chief in my town explained that only "photoelectric" type devices (First Alert or BRK) will qualify. I would check your local fire code (call your fire department) before spending money on the Kidde device. Unfortunately, we did not realize this and are now stuck with these devices.

After further research, I realized that this device states in its information brochure (which is NOT on their website description) that "it should not be installed within 3 feet of the door to a kitchen, door to a bathroom containing a shower, air supply duct use for heating ..." In our house that is basically where all the original hardwired smoke detectors are located when they were originally installed."

Not sure how accurate the above is. Bottom line, I'll be visiting the friendly folks at my Fire Department. When I installed these for the first time (on an existing house) they were very helpful and came to the house to recommend the proper location to minimize false alarms.


John97
Over The Hills And Far Away
Premium
join:2000-11-14
Spring Hill, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Bright House
·ooma
reply to Hall
All this discussion prompted me to pull down all three of the hardwired detectors in my house. The one I pulled previously didn't have a sticker with a date but the other two both have small stickers that read August 18, 2006. All three serial numbers are in sequence. So, I guess I am good until August 2016 as they are all the same age.

They are Kidde 1276E, which is a discontinued model. It's just a pretty basic ionization unit. After reading the posts in this thread it seems prudent to stick with Kidde/FireX when it comes time to replace them.
--
So put me on a highway, and show me a sign.
And take it to the limit one more time...

ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
Reviews:
·Northland Cable ..
·Time Warner Cable
·ooma
·VOIPO
·Verizon Broadban..
reply to Booost
said by Booost :

First Alert sucks. Get a Firex (now owned by Kidde). I suggest you replace all of your smoke alarms with Kidde KN-COSM-IB combo smoke/CO 120V with battery backup.

See »www.kidde.com/Documents/900-0114%20sheet.pdf

There's also an equivalent battery powered one (no interconnect, of course).

I'm actually going to do an AC and DC wireless jobbie. When I get some spare cash to replace 6 units and a CO unit - I want a wireless jobbie out in the garage to alarm the rest of the house when it goes off.

And yes, I know. They don't recommend one in the garage and they can suck it. With the basic unit I have in the garage now, it never false alarms.


Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to christos
In general, I think that the big-box stores, electrical supply houses, etc are either aware, or made aware, of things like that -- that is, they won't sell, or continue to sell, items that aren't allowed in either the county, state, etc.

And for the record, I'm okay with this (arbitrary) 10-year life span and am going to replace them. As noted in my OP, my primary question was related to how to replace them, not should I.


nunya
LXI 483
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Swapping out the pigtails and mounting plates isn't that difficult. About 7-1/2 minutes per. That includes dragging the ladder around.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


Hall
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
That's what I'm anticipating will have to be done. I will try the existing mounting plates though !


Booost

@optonline.net
reply to christos
Kidde (Firex) makes a photocell model which is similar to the ionization unit I linked to. So get that one if you want.

Requiring photocell units seems dumb to me. I have ionization units next to the bathroom, next to the washing machine, and near a heating supply duct, and they all work fine. Zero false alarms.

The State of NJ inspects our smoke/CO detectors every 5 years. They're fine with the Kidde ionization ones we have.


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to Hall
Ionization and Photocell detectors (obviously) work in different manners; and are better at detecting different kinds of fires.

Ionization detectors are better for free burning, hot fires; photocell/photo-electric detectors are better at smoldering fires...

There are combo units that do both; or install a mixture.

ke4pym
Premium
join:2004-07-24
Charlotte, NC
reply to Booost
said by Booost :

The State of NJ inspects our smoke/CO detectors every 5 years. They're fine with the Kidde ionization ones we have.

As in, they enter your home and check them?


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
I would hope that they don't infringe on the citizens rights that much.


chamberc
Premium
join:2008-08-05
Irving, TX
reply to Hall
said by Hall:

Yeap, I read those already -- if my issue is truly an end-of-life warning, I shouldn't complain. Maybe some of the people complaining at Amazon shouldn't either.

I saw one person who "fixed" this by removing AC power and battery, holding a button in for "x" seconds, then re-connecting. I wonder if what they in fact did was reset the 10-year warning signal ???

Your issue is end of life.


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to ke4pym
said by ke4pym:

said by Booost :

The State of NJ inspects our smoke/CO detectors every 5 years. They're fine with the Kidde ionization ones we have.

As in, they enter your home and check them?

Under the Canadian Fire Protection and Prevention Act; the FD does have the right to enter and check for compliance...

That said - unless we've got complaints from By-Law or other agencies, we don't push the issue.

Departments routinely to voluntary inspections (door to door; "Hi, we'd like to check your detectors, may we come in?" kind of thing) or check detectors while in the premise for other reasons (medical assistance calls, etc).

I'm not sure how the US laws are setup, though.


OldCableGuy

@communications.net

1 recommendation

reply to Jack_in_VA
What citizen rights, your right to die in a fire?

I wish fire departments did inspections here in Iowa, lots of people die every year because smoke detectors either were not working or missing completely.


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom

2 recommendations

You may want government intrusion but the majority of Americans would not agree. What's to keep them from "inspecting" other things? Nothing. Once it starts there are no limits.

Maintaining smoke detectors is the responsible thing to do but it's not up to government to force their way into homes without a search warrant detailing probable cause to "inspect".

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to OldCableGuy
said by OldCableGuy :

What citizen rights

Around here it would be called a warrant.