Looking for advice on a combo CO/Smoke alarm that wires into the current smoke alarm spot

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Posted by: from Guelph
11/7/2013 at 1:53:41 PM

We bought a battery combo smoke/CO alarm and it failed because it wasnt connected to the rest of the house. The inspector said it must wire into the current smoke alarm spot but Home Hardware doesnt carry this.

Does anyone know where I can find this, or the brand name of a good one?

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David from Echelon Electric in Coquitlam
Date/Time11/7/2013 at 6:16:05 PM

Hi Nicole,

We may need more information to help assist answering you. But from what you have said so far, I'll try my best. First off we need to know what type of inspection you were dealing with ie. Home Inspector for home purchasing, Electrical Inspector to finalize your home electrical wiring, etc etc.

From what you said having a "current smoke alarm spot", I'm going to assume your house has been already been rough-wired for smoke alarms with interconnecting wires in between each smoke alarm location which enables all of them to communicate with each other (if one goes into alarm, all of them will go into alarm). In which case, if you need to upgrade your existing smoke alarms to smoke/CO alarms, then all you really need to do is purchase all new smoke/Co alarms for the entire house (providing the interconnecting wire is in the junction box. Usually you will see Black and White for power, Red for interconnection). All can be purchased at any local Home Depot, Rona, Lowe's, any electrical wholesale supplier. I recommend Kidde as a brand to use, I myself never have had issues. And please stick with one brand and one model only. My trade knowledge will tell you mixing a variety of brands will become a mega pain in your butt as some brands don't like to interact with other brands.

Now for a different scenario, if your home does NOT have any smoke alarm provisions, and over time you were installing the "battery operated , stick it to the ceiling type" alarms, then you may need some electrical work done in your home to meet today's code standards. Most likely you will need an electrician to fish wire throughout the home, drywall repairs etc etc, to make your home safe.....

Look into this and talk with your local electrical inspector to see if they will accept this as it's a much cheaper option for you, these are new to the marketplace: wireless interconnecting detectors.

Again don't assume this is your solution, but if may be an affordable option for you. Talk with your inspector, run the idea by him, you might get lucky. Remember, inspectors are also there to help you, pick their brains, they have alot of trade knowledge of what they want and what they will accept, as they are the ones signing your final inspection documents.

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Mark from CMJ Renovations in Oakville
Date/Time11/7/2013 at 7:34:30 PM

Hi Nicole

The alarm you bought recently doesn't work in conjunction with the alarms that where probably installed by the builder. In order for the system to work properly you need to update all the units in the house. I believe they are available at Home depot and Rona the brand name is KIDD and they run about $55 to $60.00.

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Date/Time11/11/2013 at 10:05:29 AM

David and Mark have provided good and accurate answers. All I will add is my support for the Kidde brand detectors I don't work for them, but have used their products for years and years without issue.

As a side note, many manufacturers recommendation for smoke detectors is to replace after 10 years and CO detectors is to replace after 5 years. So if you are looking at changing them out, be sure to get a common brand / model that are able to communicate with each other.



John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

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