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Old 09-23-2008, 11:29 AM   #1
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Default Smoke detector breaker locks

I have a small, stick built office building w/ hardwired smokes in it. This is not, nor required to be a monitored system. My question is this, do i need to install a breaker lock on the circuit controling these detectors. If yes, is there a code reference? Thanks

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Old 09-23-2008, 03:18 PM   #2
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It would be against the NEC to install a breaker lock and also a fire hazard (keeping the breaker from tripping).

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Old 09-23-2008, 06:04 PM   #3
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It would be against the NEC to install a breaker lock and also a fire hazard (keeping the breaker from tripping).

Don't be so sure, breaker locks prevent you from turning off power, it has nothing to do with not letting the breaker trip, that being said I have been paid to install breaker locks on fire alarm controll panels in high rise buildings. So it is not in the nec but it is a nfpa or local requirement. So the answer is a definite maybe.
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Old 09-23-2008, 06:09 PM   #4
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I agree completely with BK.


crk1a, check your local building and fire codes. This is NOT an NEC issue.

Chenley, if you thought this was a violation I am curious as to where you thought it was.
Did you actually think a breaker lock prevented the breaker from tripping???
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Old 09-23-2008, 06:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chenley View Post
It would be against the NEC to install a breaker lock and also a fire hazard (keeping the breaker from tripping).
Breaker locks only keep someone from opening the breakers. They don't prevent them from tripping.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:00 PM   #6
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We install them on the circuits that power the cameras that watch the cash registers.
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Old 09-23-2008, 10:30 PM   #7
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None of the jurisdictions I work in have ever required a breaker lock on the smokes, but then, I always wire the smokes in with something essential.

Nuisance alarms are practically a thing of the past with properly installed smokes. I see no reason to install a breaker lock for them.
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:46 AM   #8
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See that's why I love this forum, learning something new all the time.

Yeah, I immediately thought of LOTO breaker locks. Ended up talking to my boss about the question who explained that they have locks to keep a breaker from being opened, but will also still let the breaker trip if a fault occurs.

I've just never ran into them or have seen them.
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Old 09-24-2008, 03:53 PM   #9
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None of the jurisdictions I work in have ever required a breaker lock on the smokes, but then, I always wire the smokes in with something essential.

Nuisance alarms are practically a thing of the past with properly installed smokes. I see no reason to install a breaker lock for them.
Breaker locks are not required on 120v resi-style smoke detectors. They are usually required, however, for fire alarm systems.
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:55 PM   #10
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Breaker locks are not required on 120v resi-style smoke detectors. They are usually required, however, for fire alarm systems.
Unless you are wiring a house in Delaware. In that state, the requirements are:

  • Install all smokes on a dedicated circuit
  • Install a lock on the smokes circuit breaker
  • No AFI protection shall be utilized on the smoke circuit
  • Install nothing else on the smoke circuit.
  • Use only hard-wired units with battery back-up
  • Interconnect all units for simultaneous alarm.
  • Locate one smoke alarm in each bedroom
  • Locate at least one smoke alarm outside of each sleeping area
  • Locate at least one smoke alarm on each level of house (including unfinished basements)
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Old 09-24-2008, 09:33 PM   #11
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kbsparky, I can understand them having those requirements and I expect other jurisdictions will soon follow.
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:52 PM   #12
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SOME of those requirements I have no problem with.

It's the dedicated circuit with a lock on the breaker I don't agree with. I believe that something else like a hall light should be on the same line with those smokes. IF that locked-on breaker were to trip, most folks would have no way to tell this has happened, even if they looked at the breakers in the panel box. Having something else on the same circuit makes it easier and quicker to determine that the circuit has failed.

The only exception would be if they had a Square D type QO panel, which has a visual indication on the breaker it is in the tripped position.
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Old 09-25-2008, 12:59 AM   #13
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I agree, residential smokes should be on with area lighting.
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:27 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
SOME of those requirements I have no problem with.

It's the dedicated circuit with a lock on the breaker I don't agree with. I believe that something else like a hall light should be on the same line with those smokes. IF that locked-on breaker were to trip, most folks would have no way to tell this has happened, even if they looked at the breakers in the panel box. Having something else on the same circuit makes it easier and quicker to determine that the circuit has failed.

The only exception would be if they had a Square D type QO panel, which has a visual indication on the breaker it is in the tripped position.
I believe the BRK smokes we install chirp every few minutes if the 120V line goes down and are running on battery.

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