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  • Do it Yourself - 120 volt interconnected smoke detectors


       Wiring Home > 120 volt interconnected smoke detectors
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    This section covers 120 volt interconnected smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are required to be interconnected so that if one sounds, they all sound. The detector should also have a back up battery to provide protection in the event of a power outage. The best type of smoke detector to purchase is one that has both ionization and photoelectric detection methods in a single detector.



    Smoke Detector Placement.

    Most people will have one smoke detector per floor, however this is not the best detection method. If a door is closed to a room in which a fire starts it will be out of control before the smoke reaches the detector. For the best protection for your family I would recommend you place a detector in every room including the attic and basement, but excluding the bathroom and kitchen. You should try to get one as close to the kitchen as possible but it should be in a area not effected by the smoke generated from cooking.

    For optimal detection smoke detectors should be placed on the ceiling no closer than 12 inches to a wall. If the detector must be placed on a wall the top of the detector should be 6 inches down from the ceiling.

    Installing Smoke Detectors.

    It is best to have your smoke detector on their own circuit and not a circuit with other devices. I recommend using 14g wire when for your smoke detector circuit, the maximum wire length between any two detectors is 4000 feet. There is a maximum number of detectors that may be interconnected on a single circuit, but this varies between manufactures and type of detector so read the instructions for your detector to determine how many detectors you may interconnect on a single circuit.

    Letís install a Smoke Detector circuit.
    • Decide your placement.
    • Run a 14/2 romex from your electrical panel to the first detector in your circuit.
    • Run a 14/3 romex from the first detector to the next detector and so on to each of the other detectors. This circuit needs to be daisy chained, do not splice the cable and take a single cable to a detector. You should have 2 14/3 cables at each detector with the exception of the first one in the circuit.
    • Now install an electrical box at each location. (A plastic box makes this eaiser.)
    • Next install your detectors at each location. Connect the black wires together, connect the white wires together, connect the ground wires together, connect the red wire to the interconnect wire. Fasten the detector to the box.
    • Install the new 15 amp circuit breaker in your electrical panel and connect your conductors.
    • Test your smoke detectors.

    Related Resources:
  • Home Security Alarms, sensors and systems
  • Electronic Protection and Security Systems
  • Smoke Detector Placement
  • Smoke Detectors Ė Your family may not be properly protected.








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    It is important to note that electrical codes change, and that in some areas local electrical codes are not the same as the National Electrical code. The local authority having jurisdiction in your area may have different codes than the national code. It is important to find out if your local codes differ from the national code, your local authority having jurisdiction is the final judge and jury.

    Disclaimer: You understand that you are personally responsible for your own wiring, and that you're wiring should conform to the National Electrical code. The information provided is general installation advice. We make no claims about the completeness or the accuracy of the information as it may apply to an infinite amount of field conditions. It is the responsibility of the person or persons using this information to check with all concerned parties, owners and local authorities, etc. before doing an installation. Users of this information agree to hold Wireityourself.com or any of its agents harmless form liabilities of any kind relating to the use of this information. You also agree to the terms set forth in our terms and conditions.


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