Have you had to hard wire your smoke & monoxide detectors?

17 Replies

During a walk-through of my property today, my contractor says that my 1966-built single family with basement will need hard-wired detectors: Plain old smoke detectors in bedroom, and combo smoke/monoxide detectors near bottom landing of basement stairway and another one near the furnace. 

It would be nice to spare the cost of installing all of these as hard-wired and interconnected. Contractors says it has to be be completed with 14/3 wire on a 15-amp circuit. There goes my budget for that part of the rehab! 

Is the point of hard wiring because tenants remove batteries when they start chirping so these are idiot proofed? What is the value in hard wiring? 

Have you had to do the same in your properties when doing a rehab according to your municipality's inspectors? 

@Paul Winka

Yes, we had to do it in our flips in order to bring it up to code, and these are older properties as well. 

I would assuming hard wiring them is a safety issue, if 1 is activated, the rest of the detectors are activated as well. Maybe an electrician here can elaborate on that.

Likewise.  It is code in WA state as well.

Yes during restoration from a fire; 'all new work'  Calif

@Paul Winka TN allows for wireless detectors so long as they're capable of communicating with one another. You might try calling a home inspector or your local building and codes to verify. 

I had to install smoke/CO detectors with non-removable batteries before selling my condo in CA. It either that or hard wire. Nowadays smoke detectors come with a 10 yr battery life. Check with the city if these are allowed in STL

@Paul Winka you are looking for wireless interconnected CO "AND" Smoke alarm combo with 10 yr batt life if you want to avoid hardwire. I wouldn't ask an electrician or contractor for this, pick up the phone and ask building and safety for your city, each city can be different too. I recently just read the code about this.

We just encountered exact same thing last week here in Volusia county, FL. Not a huge deal, and it's there for safety. Batteries are backup in case of power failure. We have to have smoke in each bedroom and smoke/carbon within 10' outside each bedroom door. Must be Daisy-chained on same circuit.

On my flip (not a rental) the town inspector required me to have them, but not hard wired.

In Atlanta, I was also required to do so to bring it up to code. I pay about $800-$1k for this, so it really shouldn't be something that kills your profit.

I personally don't think if it's flip or rental, they'll care more about safety and local code than anything else:

As others have said, smoke detectors are governed by local codes. Your town/city is probably different from the one next to it.

You should call the local building department and ask for their requirements for rental properties.

It's usually required if you're doing a large renovation of the property, but sometimes not if you're just painting etc. but again - based on your local codes.

In PHiladelphia, they don't need to be interconnected, but do need to be the 10-year sealed battery type.

@Manolo D. @Eugene Kemp @Chris T. Well, I talked to the inspector that came out to do the electrical verification inspection before the electric can be turned on. I am sure glad I asked because the code is not nearly as stringent as I though it would be. Just need battery-operated smoke detectors in each bedroom, hallway, and in the basement near the stairs. No hard wire, interconnection, monoxide detection ability, or combination smoke/monoxide ability necessary. 

But wait...a 3-pack of these detectors with 10-year batteries DO happen to offer interconnection, but they are also hard wire: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Kidde-Worry-Free-Hardwired-Inter-Connectable-120-Volt-Smoke-Alarm-with-10-Year-Lithium-Battery-Back-Up-3-Pack-21025981/205422332.

Do these type of detectors' interconnection ability only work as hard wire?  OK, let's say they don't have interconnection without being hard wired. Will they still work as well as a stand alone for 10 years if they are NOT hard wired and working off just the battery like just a regular battery-operated detector? I would say so, but don't want to assume. 

@Paul Winka SD are required for bedrooms and hallways (maybe basement, buy since CA doesn't have that, I don't know), however, we need one CO in the hallway, but of course, this is CA. Check with your B&S, they're a phone call away, instead of relying on BP members, next time pick up the phone and ask, you will be needing to do that anyway. In our case, commercial and residential, we can do 1 CO and 1 SD on the hallway, or a Combo. I'm not that familiar with cheap HD products, but I installed 5-10 battery interconnected without wires, it was client provided materials. The only SD/CO that always needs hardwires in my projects are schools and hospitals, which they usually have FA systems anyway, which is pointless, but I saw 1 small annex school and couple door hospital doctors office that had hadd wires.

In California it depends on what county that you are doing your flip. Also it can depend on what city you are doing the flip in.

@David Keefer Can you prove what you said? What city requires a hardwire for single family?

Was helping my friend on a house in Pasadena and another in Alhambra and they made him hard wire them. At least those inspectors did.

@David Keefer It's not the inspector, it's the planner. I know Alhambra is under LA county so 95% chance of no hard wire required. IDK what your friend did to deserve that, what that tells me is he doesn't know what he is doing.

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