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Residential smoke alarms

633 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Navyguy
any advice on what to do in homes requiring over 12 smoke/strobes?
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Master Electrician - Ontario
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I have not installed one in a house. I was looking at some potential new amendments about heat detectors in garages and other areas in Ontario and that could potentially have pushed us over the "device count". When I queried the ESA, if we could use two different circuits and interconnect them somehow, the answer was a small FAS had to be installed.

The ESA was bouncing this back and forth with the OBC people because technically smoke alarm requirements are not CEC / OESC but CBC / OBC and municipal by-law.

Cheers
John
 

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Power distribution and controls
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My response is USA based. Sorry I do not know the fire code where you are.

I put an Edwards 5 zone in my home. The inspector told me to ground all of the pan cake boxes attached to the steel beams. I ask why, he got pissed and said 120v has to be grounded. I told him, all these are 12v you walked by the panel in the hall way. We went back and he got a bit sheepish. I have never seen a FACP in a home. Well now you have. Why did you do that? I am getting older and my 70 year old bones do not need to climb onto a 12 foot ladder to take care of the beeping at 3 am. Now I can walk down the hall push the trouble button and take care of it after breakfast and my pot of coffee.

When I bought my panel it was about $350 for 5 zones. The detectors were $22 each.
The garage detectors were $30. There will be no pull station, just horn strobes up high (2).
The kitchen one with the carbon monoxide feature was $40 bucks.
I ran all 18-4 because I got a deal on it. Resistors at the end of the line and done.
I freaked out at the price of smokes from Kiddie or First Alert, those people are insane price wise.

Thinking just a bit outside the box. I have at least a decade with Simplex, addressable and the networked system. Along with Edwards, and Gamewell/FCI and some others that I just do not remember their names right now. It is not hard to do, lots of information on FA system on line. You do not need a Class A or addressable. The idea of some device telling me that the fire is in the bedroom is stupid to me. My house my rules. I wired a FACP in a preforming arts theater that had voice activation. I fought tooth and nail with everyone over installing the microphone. Imagine a play on stage house dark and the stage lit up. Pleas do not pain there is a fire in section Q. Ya that will work out well.
I was in a movie theater when I was in high school that had a fire. Every one was screaming and running for the back of theater. 9 people went to the hospital for being trampled. I sat in my seat waited for crowd to do it thing and walked calmly out with my girl friend. My buddy in the Phoenix Fire Department told me this, you have 2 minutes to get out of the average house fire. Or it does not matter.
 

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Master Electrician - Ontario
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Manufacturer's instructions limit the total number of devices to 18, usually limited to 12 smoke devices. Here is a sample wording...


A maximum of 24 Kidde devices can be interconnected in a multiple station arrangement. The interconnect system must not exceed the limit of 18 initiating devices, of which 12 can be smoke alarms. With 18 initiating devices (smoke, heat, CO, etc), interconnected, it is still possible to interconnect 6 standalone strobes (SLED177i) and/or relay modules.
Cheers
John
 

· Light Bender
plumber
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My response is USA based. Sorry I do not know the fire code where you are.

I put an Edwards 5 zone in my home. The inspector told me to ground all of the pan cake boxes attached to the steel beams. I ask why, he got pissed and said 120v has to be grounded. I told him, all these are 12v you walked by the panel in the hall way. We went back and he got a bit sheepish. I have never seen a FACP in a home. Well now you have. Why did you do that? I am getting older and my 70 year old bones do not need to climb onto a 12 foot ladder to take care of the beeping at 3 am. Now I can walk down the hall push the trouble button and take care of it after breakfast and my pot of coffee.

When I bought my panel it was about $350 for 5 zones. The detectors were $22 each.
The garage detectors were $30. There will be no pull station, just horn strobes up high (2).
The kitchen one with the carbon monoxide feature was $40 bucks.
I ran all 18-4 because I got a deal on it. Resistors at the end of the line and done.
I freaked out at the price of smokes from Kiddie or First Alert, those people are insane price wise.

Thinking just a bit outside the box. I have at least a decade with Simplex, addressable and the networked system. Along with Edwards, and Gamewell/FCI and some others that I just do not remember their names right now. It is not hard to do, lots of information on FA system on line. You do not need a Class A or addressable. The idea of some device telling me that the fire is in the bedroom is stupid to me. My house my rules. I wired a FACP in a preforming arts theater that had voice activation. I fought tooth and nail with everyone over installing the microphone. Imagine a play on stage house dark and the stage lit up. Pleas do not pain there is a fire in section Q. Ya that will work out well.
I was in a movie theater when I was in high school that had a fire. Every one was screaming and running for the back of theater. 9 people went to the hospital for being trampled. I sat in my seat waited for crowd to do it thing and walked calmly out with my girl friend. My buddy in the Phoenix Fire Department told me this, you have 2 minutes to get out of the average house fire. Or it does not matter.
In Canada our electrical code mandates that all fire alarm electrical boxes, cabinets, raceways etc must be bonded to ground.
Also we must have strobes and smokes on every floor and in every bedroom. A FA system in a dwelling would be pretty expensive to meet our codes.
 

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In Canada our electrical code mandates that all fire alarm electrical boxes, cabinets, raceways etc must be bonded to ground.
Also we must have strobes and smokes on every floor and in every bedroom. A FA system in a dwelling would be pretty expensive to meet our codes.
This! Canadian residential fire alarms are very involved and would fall under all the same requirements as a multi-storey apartment building. Pull stations, heat detectors, furnace shutdowns, etc.. Technically they also require annual documented testing. It wouldn't be possible to replace 120V smoke alarms to fire alarm devices without also doing a full blown fire alarm system.

What about switching to a security-system based smoke alarms? Separate low voltage zones on a larger zoned (or addressable) security system. I'm not very familiar with the different options available but I'd imagine that some of them have the ability to interconnect the multiple detectors.

Worst-case, just blow the budget and install NEST or some other consumer-grade electronic solution to wirelessly interconnect all the detectors (pending inspector approval).
 

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What about switching to a security-system based smoke alarms? Separate low voltage zones on a larger zoned (or addressable) security system. I'm not very familiar with the different options available but I'd imagine that some of them have the ability to interconnect the multiple detectors.
That would depend on the local fire and building codes. If it's a primary system (no other some alarms), you'd likely need to install it to ULC standards and we are back to the fire alarm panel discussion.

System Sensor makes some nice 4 wire smoke detectors for alarm systems.... But none of the smoke detectors I have seen have had a strobe light, so we are back to installing independant strobe lights that are triggered by the panel.

IIRC, I heard somewhere that it's possible to interconnect more than a certain number of line voltage smoke/CO devices but I can't remember the details on it... It may have been using relays to trigger one half to the other half. I'd call the manufacturer and inquire with them.
 

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There are relays available, I have a small stock of them where I needed them to to interconnect some additional horns and pull stations in a standard smoke alarm system.

There is the RM4 which is used to attach aux devices and the second is the PSM1A used for pull stations or other dry contact initiating devices.

There was quite a lag from order time to reception; plus a minimum order of 12. If anyone needs any, I have some surplus of each in stock.

Cheers
John
 

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