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Wiring Smoke Detectors


smoke detectorsA customer just called saying he wanted to replace his 17 year old smoke detectors. That's about 7 years late, as you should replace them when they reach 10 years old. He was going to try it himself, but he couldn't make the electrical connections work.

Replacing a smoke detector is a pretty basic job. If you don't have to replace the electrical plug, the job will take about 5 minutes. There may be different plug configurations if the old detector is very old, or if you are switching manufacturers. But even then, it's no different than a basic fixture or switch.

Turn the power off to the detector at the main panel and test to make sure the power is off. Remove the wire nuts where the plug connects to the house wiring in the ceiling. Connect the black ceiling wire to the black plug wire, connect the white ceiling wire to the white plug wire, and if you have a 3rd wire (an interconnect wire), connect it to the 3rd plug wire. Use wire nuts for tight connections. The interconnect wire is for systems that are interconnected. That means that if one smoke detector senses smoke, all of the alarms go off instead of just the one that senses the smoke.

Once the plug is wired, install a 9-volt battery in the alarm and plug the alarm into the ceiling plug. Then just mount the alarm to the base plate on the ceiling.


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