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DonnaRO

join:2010-03-10
Madison, WI

Smoke/heat alarm. Can't get to battery compartment.

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My husband installed & hardwired smoke/heat alarms throughout the house several years ago. I managed to figure out how to change the 9v batteries in all of them, but this one in basement furnace room that just started beeping is a mystery. It looks like the section with wires should just pull out or slide out, but it won't budge. Wondering if maybe I have to remove the entire back first to get the wires section out of the way to get to to the battery compartment. This could be another one of my husbands famous "adaptations". But I just can't figure it out even with instructions. It's a FireX Model ADH.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI

That beige plug with the three wires should pull straight out. It may be tight (likely is) but that's what you need to do to get the battery compartment open.


Zach1
Premium
join:2006-11-26
NW Minnesota
reply to DonnaRO

It's recommended to replace detectors every ten years. Yours is past it's prime.
--
Zach



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

1 recommendation

said by Zach1:

It's recommended to replace detectors every ten years. Yours is past it's prime.

This.

While the wiring adapter should just pull straight out, the detector is due to be replaced, so replace it. Be sure to stick with the same brand (Firex)...


DonnaRO

join:2010-03-10
Madison, WI
reply to DonnaRO

Thank you! You were right....I needed to add more muscle power. It was in very tight. All alarms are just about 10 yrs old so think I will wait a little longer as replacing all of them is going to be a big project.....especially if it is going to require rewiring, if I can't use current wiring. This forum has sure saved me a lot of money since my husband passed away. I have installed a new thermostat and fixed the basement toilet that caused the flood. I did have to resort to an electrician for one project that was beyond my ability, but overall, I have received so much help from this forum. And on a website called DSLreports? Who'd a thought. Thanks for your help. Donna from Wisconsin



jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1
reply to DonnaRO

You may need to wedge a small flat screwdriver blade under the lower part of the plastic wiring harness tab and give it a twist to get it started.

As already mentioned, it's time to replace that unit anyway. You should check the manufacture date on the others as well.

I would recommend getting dual-sensor detectors, with photoelectric and ionization sensors for better protection.

These are the ones I got: »www.amazon.com/Kidde-PI2010-Sens···e+pi2010

You may have to replace the existing wiring harness if the connector plug is different. It's not that hard to do.

You may want to move the priority of this project up on the to-do list, it's definitely a safety issue.
--
~Help Find a Cure for Cancer~
~Proud Member of Team Discovery ~



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

1 recommendation

reply to DonnaRO

As long as you stick with the same brand, there shouldn't be any rewiring needed...

I would strongly suggest replacing them one or two at a time, starting with this one, that's already off.

The detector is past it's expected end of life... A couple bucks (basic models are available for as cheap as ten dollars) would be money well spent.

Edit - assuming they are interconnected detectors, you either have to replace them all, all at once, or stick with the same brand - you're not allowed to mix brands on interconnected units. Stick with the same brand, and change them one or two a month over the next little while.


Zach1
Premium
join:2006-11-26
NW Minnesota
reply to DonnaRO

New dual sensor detectors run ~$20.00. I usually pick them up at the supply house but I did notice Mendards was running a sale, not too long ago, on a First Alert hardwired dual sensor unit for $16 and change. No need to change/replace your home's wiring although the connector between the wiring and detector will likely need to be changed - just be sure to use identical units in all locations. Some will allow and are listed as such for interconnection with other makes and models but you can't really go wrong by using all identical units. A few pictures and the crew here will get you up and running in no time.
--
Zach



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to DonnaRO

To avoid rewiring stay with the FireX brand. FireX makes Heat/Smoke/CO and combination sensors that are compatible with each other which is very important. While all mains powered detectors will connect to Line and Neutral (for the 120V AC supply), the signal on the 3rd wire differs between manufacturers (and sometimes even within different product lines of the same manufacturer). There are Kiddie sensors that are compatible with the FireX sensors and there are even UL listed adapters so that you can keep not only the same wiring but even reuse the existing connectors. However that does require careful checking of the compatibility charts (not all combinations that are functional from a purely electrical standpoint have been tested and certified).

If your original installation was done properly you can simply exchange each sensor/detector with the same kind that is currently installed (more likely its successor model). However this is also an opportunity to improve protection by upgrading single purpose sensors with combination sensors that will detect multiple threats (such as replacing a simple smoke detector with a smoke/CO combination sensor in locations where that makes sense).

Beware of people making blanket statements such as "all ionization smoke detectors should be replaced with photoelectric sensors" (this nonsense if sometimes propagated by officials who really should know better). There are scenarios were one is more likely then the other to raise the alarm faster (and when it comes to a house fire every single second counts!) but generally a house fire produces so much heat and dense smoke very quickly that there isn't much difference. Unless the sensor/detector is in a location where the ionization sensor is likely to cause false alarms (e.g. water vapor outside bathroom) I would suggest to go with the suggestion from jack b See Profile and spend a little more on a combination photoelectric and ionization sensor to be sure of the quickest possible alarm time.

Another reason to stay with the FireX brand (or properly listed compatible Kiddie sensors) is that it allows you to upgrade one sensor at a time (if either time or money are in short supply and you want to avoid replacing all sensors at once).
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nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
Reviews:
·Charter
·voip.ms
·surpasshosting
reply to DonnaRO

Another vote for trashing those puppies. 8 years is about all you get. Anything else is borrowed time or questionable. Replacement units are $9.00 each.

Even if you have to replace the pigtail, it's not exactly rocket science. Shut off the breaker.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



DonnaRO

join:2010-03-10
Madison, WI
reply to DonnaRO

Well I am going to have to do something because one of the alarms just keeps beeping and fresh battery does not help. When I change battery it is silent for about 20 minutes, then starts beeping again. I checked the battery for power & proper placement and blew air into alarm. Still beeping. When I press any test buton on any alarm they go off all over the house. But replacement of all alarms not going to be a breeze cuz they are all interconnected and there are nine of them and all are various brands, Kidde, BRR, FireX and First Alert. Sounds like a job for Superman to me. Any way I can get this one alarm to stop beeping?



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

1 recommendation

Ok - some brands/models have an end of life timer built in... When the detector reaches the end of its design life, it starts chirping. That could be what you're hearing.

As for replacing them - per NFPA 72, you're not allowed to interconnect brands that aren't certified to be interneconnected - there's no guarantee that they'll work correctly.

Replace them all with the same brand... Sooner rather then later. Ideally right away.



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to DonnaRO

said by DonnaRO:

Any way I can get this one alarm to stop beeping?

Is this the FireX ADH that is beeping or one of the other ones (the mix of brands does not sound good) ?

The user manual for the FireX ADH gives only one reason for beeping in the troubleshooting section: low battery.

The manual also states in the battery replacement section of the manual to only use:
Eveready 522 (Alkaline)
Eveready 1222 (Super Heavy Duty)
Duracell MN 1604 (Alkaline)
My guess is that any decent Alkaline battery will work.
--
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DonnaRO

join:2010-03-10
Madison, WI
reply to DonnaRO

An electrical contractor told me some of the worst wiring he's seen is in the homes of electricians. lol! My husband was an electrician and an electrical contractor during his career, so he got pretty creative. I unscrewed the bottom of the alarm and pulled out the pin plug. Still beeped! Took the battery out and all the alarms in the house started making weak beeping noises for a few seconds. So I reconnected the faulty alarm and closed the basement door so can't hear the beeping too badly upstairs. Will call an electrician friend Monday morning and have him get all new same brand alarms and re-do the entire house, eliminating a few of the "overkill" alarms. Not wasting any more of this day on this mess! Thanks again for advice. Fire/smoke/heat alarms not a place to be skimping for sure.


robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1

I'm not sure if all of the brands have the same battery design now, but you can get alarms similar to what you have where the battery compartment is located on the front side of the alarm. Get those and there is no more removing the detector from the ceiling to change the battery.



Smoke

@optonline.net
reply to leibold

I had those same detectors and replaced them with new ones of the same brand. I had to rewire new plugs. They keep changing the plugs, so by the time you change a detector, the design of the plugs has changed.

And 10 years from now, they'll be using different plugs.



Warzau
Premium
join:2000-10-26
Naperville, IL
kudos:1
reply to DonnaRO

said by DonnaRO:

Well I am going to have to do something because one of the alarms just keeps beeping and fresh battery does not help. When I change battery it is silent for about 20 minutes, then starts beeping again. I checked the battery for power & proper placement and blew air into alarm. Still beeping. When I press any test buton on any alarm they go off all over the house. But replacement of all alarms not going to be a breeze cuz they are all interconnected and there are nine of them and all are various brands, Kidde, BRR, FireX and First Alert. Sounds like a job for Superman to me. Any way I can get this one alarm to stop beeping?

This used to happen to me, till I realized I had to follow this procedure "To reset an AC unit with a battery backup:
Turn off the power to the smoke alarm at the circuit breaker. Remove the smoke alarm from the mounting bracket and disconnect the power. Remove the battery. Press and hold the test button for at least 15 seconds. The unit may chirp or alarm for a few seconds before going silent. Reconnect the power and reinstall the battery. The unit will chirp once when the power is restored and should not chirp afterwards."


UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
Reviews:
·Mediacom
·Callcentric
·Dish Network
reply to DonnaRO

Timely thread. Our small community just lost a 7 year old child yesterday in an apartment fire. There were apparently no working smoke detectors, the little girls uncle had been staying with the family and returned home from work to find the place fully engulfed in flames. The other two children and the father were able to be rescued.

All this reminded me that I've been meaning to add an interconnected smoke alarm to my basement, and the link provided here was the exact unit I was looking for. I will now have interconnected alarms for the basement, the garage which located under the bedrooms, and in the hallway outside the bedrooms. There are battery operated alarms in each bedroom, since doors are generally closed when we're sleeping.

I also picked up a battery operated detector at Menards today to replace one bedroom unit that had started beeping even with a new battery.



nunya
Premium,MVM
join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12

You need an extra special unit for garages and attics. Lowe's Depot Menard's probably won't have it.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24

I used a heat detector for the garage, a regular smoke would go off every time I started the lawn tractor in there.


Critsmcgee

join:2011-12-02
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

said by UHF:

I used a heat detector for the garage, a regular smoke would go off every time I started the lawn tractor in there.

A heat detector in the garage is code. Anything else is a violation.
--
"Trust Me I'm The Doctor!" -Doctor Who


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

1 edit

said by Critsmcgee:

said by UHF:

I used a heat detector for the garage, a regular smoke would go off every time I started the lawn tractor in there.

A heat detector in the garage is code. Anything else is a violation.

By the time it gets hot enough to activate a heat detector only it's way too late. Kiss your garage and most likely house goodbye.


54067323

join:2012-09-25
Tuscaloosa, AL

said by Jack_in_VA:

By the time it gets hot enough to set off a heat detector only it's way too late. Kiss your garage and most likely house goodbye.

Totally untrue, heat detectors are available in a variety of set temperatures and when properly installed can detect a fire in the early stages before it becomes large enough to involve the structure.

The best heat detectors for use in areas where smoke detectors are not practical, such as garages are combination fixed temperature and rate of rise, these units will signal if the temperature exceeds a set point and or if the temperature rises a pre-set number of degrees over a pre-set amount of time.

ROR’s are excellent for detecting fires from spilled flammable liquids commonly found in garages.

This is an example of a standard 135 degree ROR with a price tag of about $8 per unit which is IMO a fair price for the protection they provide.







And such a device installed on a ceiling.




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

NM



djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO
reply to DonnaRO

I had those same Firex smoke detectors. I replaced them all with Kidde i9040s. They had that same connector, which was a nice surprise. It was nice to be done in 10 minutes per detector instead of 15.

As Nunya said, it's really not hard to change the connector if you need to though. You shut off the breaker, then follow the wires up to the ceiling. Each wire will have a wire nut. You just disconnect each wire and reconnect to the new harness. Plug it all in and turn it back on.
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.



UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
Reviews:
·Mediacom
·Callcentric
·Dish Network
reply to Jack_in_VA

said by Jack_in_VA:

By the time it gets hot enough to activate a heat detector only it's way too late. Kiss your garage and most likely house goodbye.

Really? Then why does building code require them in garages? And the 1 hour fire rated ceiling between the garage and the living space? A garage fire will reach 130 degrees at the ceiling pretty damn fast. Would I like a smoke detector as well? Yes, but they do no good if they false so often that the alarms are ignored, and are specifically disallowed by code because they don't trigger reliably in many fires anyway due to environmental conditions found in most garages.


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

2 edits

said by UHF:

said by Jack_in_VA:

By the time it gets hot enough to activate a heat detector only it's way too late. Kiss your garage and most likely house goodbye.

Really? Then why does building code require them in garages? And the 1 hour fire rated ceiling between the garage and the living space? A garage fire will reach 130 degrees at the ceiling pretty damn fast. Would I like a smoke detector as well? Yes, but they do no good if they false so often that the alarms are ignored, and are specifically disallowed by code because they don't trigger reliably in many fires anyway due to environmental conditions found in most garages.

What about people that do not use their garage for vehicles or gasoline powered lawn equipment? Instead some use it for a man cave, extra bedroom, playroom, storage etc and have it conditioned by the central HVAC system. Then the space is not a garage but a living area and is essentially unprotected with a heat detector. I know quite a few that fit that description. Just because it has a garage door(s) doesn't make it a garage.

A false sense of security can prove lethal. Would you want your child in an room/area like that with just a heat detector for protection?


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada

1 edit

Not to point out the obvious, but if it's no longer a garage, the codes covering garages no longer apply.

If it's repurposed space; and is modified (such as tying in the buildings HVAC) - then appropriate codes for the new designation should be applied...

EDIT - you can't protect people from stupid... Building codes lay out the requirements - a garage is defined as one thing, and should be monitored and protected in a certain manner. Living space is treated in a different manner - if someone takes it upon themselves to repurpose a space, the onus is on them to follow the appropriate code, or to seek clarification from the AHJ if they aren't able to sort it out on their own...



leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to Jack_in_VA

When did heat detectors in garages become a code requirement ?
It wasn't all that long that bedrooms didn't need smoke detectors and one smoke detector in the hallway outside of the bedrooms was considered sufficient.
Now if this home were rebuild (or renovated beyond a certain degree) it would not only need a lot more fire/heat/smoke detectors it would also be mandatory to have active fire suppression (sprinkler systems) installed.

I think I need to do some upgrades in my home too. All my detectors are still standalone battery operated ones (no hardwire or interconnects).
--
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Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to LazMan

said by LazMan:

Not to point out the obvious, but if it's no longer a garage, the codes covering garages no longer apply.

If it's repurposed space; and is modified (such as tying in the buildings HVAC) - then appropriate codes for the new designation should be applied...

Why would it carry a new designation just because it's conditioned? Some people want their vehicles to be garaged in a conditioned space.