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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    1

    Default Smoke detectors go off too much

    I am a rental property owner and have a bunch of 3 bedroom apartments, To meet the building code I have interconnected hard wired smoke alarms in every bedroom and one in the common area. The problem is that they go off ALL the time, and since the units are small there are 4-5 alarms blaring in 900sf. Is there a way LEGALLY to make them LESS sensitive but still get the job done? What happens is that my tenants just remove the detectors and then nobody is safe if there is a real fire.

    But it is a real nuisance to have them go off just warming up the oven. I use Kidde detectors. Please Help…….

    Which is better ionization or photoelectric??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,736

    Default Re: Smoke detectors go off too much

    1. Who did the installation? you could have a problem in the wiring or the locations of the units. Don't rule out other electrical problems, such as electrical interruptions.
    2. The alarms could be dirty or dusty -clean them with a vacuum machine.
    3. Also check the back up batteries. Old batteries will cause the alarm to go off.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Smoke detectors go off too much

    In my fair state if the tenant removes or tampers with the smoke detector the landlord is not responsible. Also the landlord is not responsible for battery replacement, but most good landlords replace the battery at the time of the annual inspection (for property damages)

    Sounds like they were all wired together instead of unit by unit. You need a decent electrician to fix this, not the moron who wired them all together the first time.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: Smoke detectors go off too much

    Welcome to the sometimes insane world of building codes. You can't alter the alarms, you must have them interconnected (which is probably not the problem) so about all you can do is try different ones till you find a type which isn't so sensitive then change them all to that type. Wish I knew what to recommend because my cooking sets mine off, but mine are older battery types so I just pulled the batteries- you can't do that. Let us know what you find!

    Phil

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,663

    Default Re: Smoke detectors go off too much

    Your local codes may vary, but in general smoke detectors are required only in the following locations:
    • One in each bedroom
    • One immediately outside each sleeping area (read: in the hall just outside the bedrooms)
    • At least one on each level of the home (excluding the garage)

    If there is a smoke detector near the kitchen that's not near the bedrooms you might be able to simply remove it and still comply with codes, or move it further away from the kitchen. I'd recommend consulting your local inspector for advice.

    You can also get smoke detectors that are less sensitive for use in the kitchen, HOWEVER to be wired in they must be compatible with the other smoke detectors in the home.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,203

    Default Re: Smoke detectors go off too much

    Fencepost, in some counties and cities here coverage for SD's are required in every habitable room including the kitchen, in addition to the "bedroom hallway too" requirement you speak of. Exemptions are only for closets without incandescent lights, laundry rooms below a certain size, and wherever there is a continuous ceiling such as with an 'open kitchen', so long as the adjacent room has a SD that is rated to cover that amount of surface footage and distance. One large house I worked on had 21 SD's in it which did not make the electrician happy at all

    Where I work, I have 5 different residential building code versions to comply with based on which county I'm in and also which city I am in inside that county I'd wish for them to consolidate this to just one but they'd choose the toughest one so I just put up and shut up. Otherwise the inspectors (particularly city ones ) would get an attitude problem with me and make my life miserable.

    You gotta love this business to stay in it!

    Phil

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