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Can I Replace a Smoke Detector Wired Into my House?


smoke detector pigtail resized 600Replacing a hard wired smoke detector in your house is similar to replacing a light fixture. If it is time to replace the detector (the general rule is if it is over 10 years old), it may be as easy as plugging it in, or you may have to do a little wiring.

Generally, if you buy the same brand of smoke detector, you can pull out the plug on the back of the old one and push it into the new one. During that time, if the plug style has changed or if you are buying a different brand, you will need to wire the plug into the house wiring.

Turn off the breaker that feeds the smoke detector, and replace the wires of the old plug with the wires of the new plug. There will be wire nuts that hold the wires together. Unscrew them one-by-one and twist the wire nuts on until snug. You may or may not have the interconnect wire attached. If the old smoke detector plug had the interconnect wire attached, then secure it as well, but if you see the interconnect wire (usually yellow in color) not connected then don’t connect it. The interconnect wire makes it so that if one smoke detector goes off, then they all go off. Some houses have the detectors installed connected and some do not.


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