How to Test and Repair a Smoke Detector Circuit
How to Repair Smoke Detector Wiring Problems: Hardwired Smoke Detectors with Battery Back Up, Testing and Troubleshooting a Hardwired Smoke Detector Circuit.
Troubleshooting Smoke Detector Wiring
Electrical Question: I have 2 hard-wired smoke detectors in the front hallways of a 3-storey house, 3 in the back hallways and 1 in the basement.
- I am using Firex i480 units sold by home depot.
- The one on the 3rd floor of the back hallway will not trigger the system, despite the fact that I have changed all the units.
- I have rewired the connections between the first floor and the second floor and again from the second floor to the third floor, but still the 3rd floor unit is not connected to the system, even though it is getting power (green light is on).
- It also appears to be at the end of the circuit which I am assuming started in the basement, where the breaker box is. I am stumped, and would appreciate any input.
Thanks a lot.
This home electrical repairs question came from: Jay, from Irvington, New Jersey.
Thanks for your electrical wiring and troubleshooting question Jay.
How to Repair Smoke Detector Wiring Problems
Application: Smoke Detector Circuit Wiring
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Tools Required: Basic Hand Tools and Safe Ladder.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal experience and the number of smoke detectors and access to them.
Precaution: Smoke Detectors are required by code to be installed in specific areas of the home. Never remove or leave a smoke detector disconnected or never leave the smoke detector circuit power off.
Notice: Smoke detector type alarms should be tested frequently to make sure they are functioning correctly and the 9 volt battery should be replaced every year. Installing or upgrading electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
- Hardwired Smoke Detectors with Battery Back Up
- What is a Hardwired Smoke Detector System?
- A hardwired smoke detector system is a 3-wire cable consisting of 3-insulated wires and one ground wire which connects all of the smoke detectors together.
- Two wires are the 120 volt power supply and the extra wire is used for the Alarm Signal which causes all of the smoke detectors to go into alarm. the alarm wire on the smoke detectors is typically yellow.
- The initial power supply for the smoke detector circuit is provided by a 2-wire circuit which is typically supplied by a lighting circuit.
- What is a Hardwired Smoke Detector System?
- Testing a Hardwired Smoke Detector Circuit
- With a hardwired smoke detector system you can press the TEST button on any smoke detector and this should cause all of the smoke detectors to go into alarm all at the same time if the smoke detector wiring has been installed according to the electrical code for hardwired systems.
- Troubleshooting a Hardwired Smoke Detector Circuit
- If one or more of the smoke detectors do not alarm when the others do and they are all wired together with the interconnected wiring then the wiring connections must be checked because there may be a loose connection.
- If all the connections have been checked and the circuit still does not work then there may be a problem with the circuit wiring and this may be tested with a voltage tester with the power ON, or a continuity tester with the power OFF.
- Testing an electrical circuit is best performed by an electrician.
More about Smoke Detectors
How to Install Smoke Detectors
- Understanding smoke detector wiring. Smoke alarms provide the earliest warning of both fire and smoke.
Troubleshooting and Repairing Electrical Wiring
- Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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