By Dave Rongey Summary:
To make the correct wiring connections for home smoke detectors you must identify which type of smoke detectors you have in your home, otherwise they may not function properly.
How to Repair a Smoke Detector Problem
Electrical Question about a Smoke Detector Problem:
Some of our smoke detectors have lost AC power.
I've tried looking for loose connections in adjacent detectors and close-by receptacle/switch boxes, but have found none.
Are these all on the same circuit? If so, then the power lines would go from the 'first' to the 'last' in the house, and so my problem would have to be between the last working one and the first non-working one?
Any idea how to figure out what's up?
Hi Brian, Great Electrical Repair Question! If you have interconnected smoke detectors, which would be indicated by the third wire, typically yellow, then all of the smoke detectors should be powered by a common feed. It is very common that this circuit be an existing lighting circuit so that in the event of a power loss it would be noticeable. You are correct to inspect each smoke detector junction box and look for a loose connection
Be aware that these detectors do go bad also, so the voltage at each junction box should be verified. You could swap bad detectors with known good ones to test as well. If the home has been remodeled and new smoke detectors were added it is possible that they are not interconnected, although that would be rare and not recommended anyway. Let me know if this helps.
»You Can Avoid Costly Mistakes!« Here's How to Do It:
Wire It Right with the help of my Illustrated Wiring Book Great for any Home Wiring Project.
Electrical Project Skill Level:
Beginner to Intermediate.
Electrical Tools Required:
Basic Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools, Non-Metal Step Ladder, and a Voltage Tester.
Depends on personal level of experience, ability to work with tools for install smoke detectors, and the available access to the project area. Electrical Safety:
Identify the electrical circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials:
Electrical parts and materials for smoke detector wiring projects should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections:
Installing additional electrical wiring for smoke detectors should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
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