Hardwired smoke detectors are one of the best ways to protect your home from fire eventualities. Hardwired detectors not only use electricity to function but also contain backup batteries that will work in case of a power outage.
Simply put, it is likely to offer you all-around protection! However, what happens when it reaches its end of life? Do I Need Electricians Replace Hardwired Smoke Detectors?
Hiring an electrician to replace your hardwired smoke detector is very necessary. You could choose to replace the device yourself, and that’s okay!
But at what cost? Replacing your hardwired smoke detector using DIY recommendations is a risky affair. Since electricity is involved, you might risk your life and your loved ones.
Electricity is very fragile and sensitive; hence only best handled by experts. Besides, by doing it yourself, you risk poorly installing it, thus jeopardizing lives in case of a fire outbreak. You don’t want this to happen, do you?
Hiring an electrician to replace your hardwired smoke alarm is advantageous, but it also has its downside. Let’s weigh on them.
Advantages of Hiring An Electrician To Replace Hardwired Smoke Detectors
- Electricians Will Recommend the Best-Hardwired Smoke Detectors Based On Their Knowledge and Expertise
Like every other product, smoke detectors are manufactured with different qualities and efficacies. This is to say, the type and quality of your smoke detector matter a lot! It determines how safe or unsafe you may be in a fire eventuality.
Electricians are helpful as they can tell which models are dependable, safe, and compliant. They would advise (and install) equipment made of the best quality. This is not just for your safety but for their ratings!
Therefore, instead of blindly purchasing a cheap model, consult an electrician on the best model that’d fit your home environment.
- Electricians Are Informed On the Most Appropriate Locations to Install the Hardwired Smoke Detectors
Much as you are replacing them, deciding on a proper location for installing your smoke detector may be a hassle!
There are several rules regarding the location of smoke detectors in the home.
There are also rules on how far they should be installed from areas such as the kitchen, bathrooms, fireplaces, and other sensitive areas. Also, how many smoke detectors will you need in the house?
The law highly determines the number and the placement of smoke detectors in your home.
For instance, it is a requirement that every bedroom should have a smoke detector.
Also, every primary living area and hallway to the main living rooms should have a smoke detector.
While you may conduct independent research about all the requirements, you could always choose a more convenient way to replace a smoke detector. Employing an electrician is the more convenient way in this case.
The electrician is already informed as this is their expertise. They will also uniquely consider your home when gauging the best locations for the new hardwired smoke detectors. (Note that the information on the internet may be too general and not specific for your home structure).
- Hiring an Electrician Is a Pocket-Friendly Idea
Single-handedly replacing your smoke detector at home can be challenging. Not to mention how dangerous it is if the device is not installed correctly!
You will likely incur charges for hiring an electrician and purchasing the device, but you will be relieved knowing how much money you can save. Why?
Faulty wiring can turn into more expensive repairs real quick. That’s not all; a wrong installation of the smoke detector may cause the device to malfunction. You will incur more maintenance charges and a new device if this happens. You can also incur fines for that.
Installing the device yourself may look cheap initially, but you may incur more expenses in the long run.
Besides, the National Fire Protection Association recommends running an electrical safety inspection before installing a hardwired detector.
It is unlikely that you can do this by yourself, and that’s why you need an electrician. They are more qualified and would comfortably run that test for you.
- Electricians Will Help In the Installation of Interconnected Smoke Detectors
NFPA recommends installing interconnected smoke detectors for those living in huge apartments or houses. While this seems like a great and reliable safety option, you can hardly do this on your own. You may fix them inappropriately, thus brewing more future problems.
Hiring an electrician is an excellent option as they have admirable experience and can even install them in a day.
Doing so will help you save precious time while giving you peace of mind. Your electrician will perfectly install them, test and offer additional advice on how you can maintain your devices.
NFPA encourages using interconnected smoke alarms because even though they are distant from each other, they still are connected. In essence, in the event of a hazard, you will be alarmed regardless of your room.
It is crucial because of how fast fires spread. Installing interconnected hardwired systems may consume most of your time, but this time may also save your life or a loved one in the future.
You also need an electrician to install the interconnected hardwired system for you as they are so modernized. These modern devices are designed to alert you from your smartphone about where the fire or gas leak has come from.
- Electricians Will Also Ensure that Your Smoke Detector Device Is Within Your State’s Law
As time changes, so do the rules and regulations associated with smoke detectors. Many governments do not consider the type of smoke alarm you use in your house or how you’ve installed it.
However, ensuring that you have the correct detector is still paramount.
Most recent laws demand that newly constructed homes (starting in 2014) must have hardwired alarm systems. This is encouraged to prevent them from malfunctioning if the battery is low.
We must admit most homeowners will not follow the prescribed rules by heart. This is why we recommend hiring an electrician who does this.
The electrician will ensure that you have the recommended type of smoke detector. Thanks to their knowledge, you will enjoy optimum protection and save from the worries about “what ifs” about the installed device.
- You can Group Multiple Electrical Services with an Electrician.
You’d manage if you hired an electrician to service your smoke detector. Doubtlessly, electricians will provide you with multiple electrical services!
From upgrading your mains, installing garden mains, connecting your TV and phone, to installing and replacing smoke detectors, you name them!
Hiring an electrician means you can count on them to test safety switches and set up your computer network while also replacing your expired detector. The more services you order, the more you save in parts, time, and labor. Why not kill two birds with one stone?
Summarily, whether you are freshly installing or replacing your hardwired smoke detectors, you need a certified electrician. They will assist you in your planning and installation. They will help you keep safe and save you time and money!
How Often Do Hardwired Smoke Detectors Need to Be Replaced?
The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing all smoke detectors within ten years, including hardwired ones. With constant use of the smoke detector, dust is likely together in, thereby wearing out its sensors.
The older your smoke detector is, the less sensitive the sensors are. In a fire crisis, you may not have enough time to escape.
Also, smoke detectors are more susceptible to electrical corrosion. Check the manufacture date of your device and add ten years to determine whether or not it has reached its end of life.
In some circumstances, hardwired smoke detectors may constantly chirp even after replacing the batteries. It could behave like this even before hitting the ten-year mark. In such cases, replace it, even though it has not reached its expiry date.
Experts also recommend testing your smoke detector every month to determine its efficiency. They also encourage replacing all interconnected alarms at the same time.
NOTE: The U.S Fire Administration (USFA) advises homeowners to replace the backup batteries of their hardwired smoke detectors annually. Homeowners are also to test them monthly to ensure no need for replacement.
However, how do you know that it’s time to replace your smoke detector? Here are some signs that your smoke detector is reaching its end of life and needs a replacement:
- You hear a chirping sound. Regardless of the chirp pattern, your smoke detector chirping requires immediate attention. Hardwired detectors will chirp indefinitely since they are connected to your house’s electricity. If this happens, respond immediately, as it is usually an indicator that the batteries are going bad and need to be replaced. It is time to replace the whole system if it still chirps even after the battery replacement.
- It is more than ten years old. We have mentioned earlier that your smoke detector’s age is a vital indicator that it needs a replacement. To check it, climb a ladder and look at your device up close. If the manufacture date was more than ten years ago, it’s time to replace it.
If your smoke detector is placed on a high ceiling, it would be best to call an expert to do it for you.
How to Replace a Hardwired Smoke Alarm
Having a smoke detector in your house is one thing; having a functioning one is another! Avoid adding to the fire death statistics due to a dysfunctional smoke detector. That is why you need to replace it every ten years. Here is how to replace it:
- Shut off the primary Power Source
NFPA recommends replacing all the smoke detectors at the same time, as it is likely that you purchased them together. Begin y identifying the circuit breaker and switch off the power. This will save you from the danger of an electric shock from touching an open wire.
- Detach the detector from the mounting
This stage involves twisting your smoke detector quarterly in an anti-clockwise direction. Doing so will suspend your device from the ceiling with three wires. These wires are connected to the smoke detector through a wiring harness plug.
The three wires include the black one, which has 120 volts; the white one, that’s neutral; and the red or yellow one, which serves as an interconnect. The yellow/red wire connects the alarm with the remaining alarms within your residence.
- Disconnect the three wires from the detector
Disconnect the three wires by squeezing both sides of the plastic plug and pulling it away from the detector. You will have wholly detached the old detector from the mounting plate.
- Detach the Mounting Plate from the Ceiling
Use a screwdriver to remove the two screws holding the mounting plate to the electrical box on the ceiling. Do it gently to avoid pulling the wires out of the ceiling.
Consider checking and confirming if the existing mounting plate is compatible with the new unit before replacing it.
- Disconnect the Wiring Harness
Begin by removing any electrical tape or wires connected to the wiring harness. Ensure that the three wires in the ceiling are nothing but exposed metal ends. Untwist the wires and disconnect the wiring harness.
It’s time to install the new detector—Counter-check the circuit breaker to ensure the power is off.
- Connect the new wiring harness.
Smoke detectors are always sold together with a wiring harness (should be similar to the one you removed).
Ensure that the wires match and attach them by twisting the metal ends around each other. Also, remember to wrap the newly attached metal ends in electric tape or attach a wire cap.
Now match the wires. Connect the black to black, white to white, and red/yellow to the color of the third wire on your ceiling. (We are not mentioning the color as they vary depending on manufacturers).
Test if the wires are tight enough by slightly pulling them down. This will help ensure that your connection is excellent and can support the alarm’s weight. If the wiring harness comes down, you must tightly reattach the wires. Wrap them tightly around each other.
If your harness has only two wires, then attach only the black to the black and the white to the white.
- Attach the new mounting plate
Like the wiring harness, new smoke detectors are also sold alongside a mounting plate. Pass the wiring harness into the large hole at the plate’s center. Use a screwdriver to screw the plate into the ceiling. Use the screws you initially removed while removing the old mounting plate.
- Attach the new smoke detector
Connect the wiring harness to your new device, and attach the smoke detector to the mounting plate. Please do this by holding the smoke detector up to the mounting plate and twisting it clockwise.
- Turn the electricity back on.
You had switched off the circuit breaker to avoid electrical accidents. Now that you have finished the replacement procedure, it is safe to switch it back on.
You may hear a beep from the device.
- Time to test the smoke detector!
All smoke detectors have a test button on the face of the device. Press and hold it for about five seconds to test it. You should hear a beep.
If your smoke alarm is interconnected, it will alert other alarms in the house, and all beep. This is usually a sign that you connected it appropriately and functioning.
If it fails to beep during the test, counter-check to ascertain that you correctly matched the wires and that they are appropriately attached to the metal ends. Also, check that you turned the power on the circuit breaker (you may have forgotten to turn it back on).
Note: You can use an aerosol smoke can to test the detector.
Here’s How to Replace Hard Wired Smoke Detector:
Do Smoke Detectors Go Bad?
You should pay attention to your smoke detector’s expiry the same way you pay attention to the expiry date of your bread, milk, or butter.
That’s right! Because smoke detectors equally expire. As a matter of fact, having an expired smoke detector is as bad as not having one in your home. It will not protect you in case of a fire crisis.
We mentioned earlier that most smoke detectors are designed to last ten years or even shorter than that. So, yes, smoke detectors go bad after ten years of service, sometimes less than that if poorly maintained. Therefore, it is always noble to regularly check your smoke detector to ensure they are safe and operational.
Signs That Your Smoke Detector May Be Failing
Smoke detectors are generally designed to last ten years. However, before it hits this ten-year mark, you may prepare and take the necessary precautions by identifying other signs. The following are unique signs that will alert you of the need to replace your smoke detector:
If the Smoke Detector Turns Yellow
Sometimes climbing the ladder to check your device’s manufacture date may be more challenging than it sounds. It, at times, feels daunting! It should be great to know that you can identify your device failing by a physical look. Smoke detectors begin to turn yellow over time.
There are several misconceptions surrounding this finding. To some people, the smoke detectors turn yellow because of long-time exposure to dust and air.
Others assume that the yellow color is a result of cigarette smoke getting into contact with the device, thereby discoloring them. But as we said, these are but misconceptions. Smoke detectors turn yellow for a different reason.
Scientifically, smoke detectors contain bromine, a component that is used as a flame retardant. The bromine enables the smoke detector to withstand fire, hence its ability to alert you in the presence of smoke.
The bromine component is responsible for your smoke detector’s yellow color once exposed to heat, oxygen, and UV light. All these elements occur naturally within your house. The process takes place after a while, meaning you will have an accurate time frame to prepare for a replacement.
Next time you see your smoke detector changing into a yellow color, don’t think twice about replacing it. It is clear that the device has lived long enough, and it’s time to replace it.
It Constantly Chirps
Smoke detectors may chirp for different reasons; a battery failure is one of the reasons. Sometimes you may be tempted to shrug it off since it’s hardwired and uses electricity to power it. However, it is dangerous to ignore this chirping as it may desensitize your sensors.
Ignoring the chirping is also putting your family in danger, as it could be a sign that the detector is nearing its end of life. Solve the issue by replacing the batteries or resetting them.
However, some smoke detectors would still chirp even after installing fresh batteries. If this happens, then it is a significant cause for concern.
Act promptly by arranging to replace it as soon as possible.
Your Smoke Detector Does Not Respond to the Test
The U.S. Fire Administration recommends regular testing of smoke detectors among homeowners. They are encouraged to test the device at least once a month.
Testing the device is a piece of cake! All you need to do is press the test button on the center of the device to ensure it is working.
If your smoke detector is in good shape, it will beep several times upon pressing the test button. This is to alert you that there is nothing to lose sleep over.
If your device fails to respond during the test, it indicates that it doesn’t work. In some circumstances, it will beep, but very faintly, it won’t have any impact.
Research from the NFPA and USFA attest that about 60% of fire deaths result from homes with dysfunctional fire detectors. Protect your home from falling as part of this statistic by regularly running tests on your smoke detector.
If you notice anything amiss during the test, you should troubleshoot and take the necessary precautions.
If Your Alarm Goes Off for No Reason
Having a smoke detector so sensitive that it picks up the slightest hint of smoke sounds so good. However, it could be nerve-wracking if the device goes off over the slightest of things, like dust blowing through it.
As smoke detectors age, their sensitivity also wears out. They would, at times, pick up non-existent issues.
Therefore, some would go off when your detector ages for no good reason. Sometimes they would get on your nerves so bad that you’d decide to pull the batteries off to silence them. When this happens, know that it’s time to replace them. You cannot always take off the batteries, can you?
You want your smoke detector to be sensitive enough to pick up the slightest amount of smoke in the air. You also don’t want it overly sensitive that it goes off over a speck of dust.
Guarantee your safety (and your peace of mind) by replacing your smoke detectors soon as they begin to age.
If Your Smoke Detector has Faulty Parts that Led to a Recall
While it sounds like a lot of work, you must regularly check if a recall has been done on the smoke detectors within your home.
In some circumstances, smoke detectors are recalled due to having faulty parts. Use the internet to find out about a recall of your device.
What Can Set off a Smoke Detector Besides Smoke?
You’ve heard your smoke detector sound the alarm; you can as promptly as you can, only to find out that there is no smoke. You are frightened but frustrated even more. Why is the device beeping, yet there is no fire?
Here are some reasons why your smoke detector has false alarms:
Your Smoke Detector’s Location.
If your smoke detector is located within ten feet of a cooking appliance, it could trigger false alarms.
Some high-tech photoelectric smoke detectors can detect a sudden temperature shift in a surrounding.
Installing your device close to a window or door may interfere with the sensor’s performance, causing it to sound false alarms.
Steam and High Humidity
High humidity in an environment contains dense moisture particles. Your smoke detector may confuse this for smoke particles. In some cases, the dense air can scatter the light beam in a photoelectric sensor or hang on the ions in an ionization chamber. This also applies to steam.
Consider shifting your detector if you’ve installed it outside a steamy bathroom.
The chambers in a smoke detector are big enough to accommodate insects. Once they find their way in, insects interfere with the sensors, thus setting off the alarm.
A dust buildup can also affect the sensitivity of your smoke detector. This is why experts recommend regularly cleaning your smoke detector with a vacuum brush attachment.
Strong Chemicals Nearby
Smoke detectors also react to particles in the air released by chemicals with strong scents. The scents could be from fresh paint or deep cleaning solutions in your home.
Alert for the need to change batteries
If your smoke detector produces a harsh, prolonged scream, it’s a call for a change of batteries. This will usually stop after you have changed the batteries or replaced the whole system.
You are a new homeowner who considered installing a hardwired smoke detector for security purposes. Just like every other thing that has an end, your smoke detector equally has expired and needs a replacement. You are torn, wondering…
Do I Need Electricians Replace Hardwired Smoke Detectors?
Hiring an electrician to replace your device is beneficial in several ways. It is cost-effective. Electricians will pick a device with the best quality, they are knowledgeable about the changing codes on fire safety, they can connect interconnected alarms, and finally, they can serve you on several electrical needs at once!
Next time you are torn on whether or not to dial that electrician’s number, weigh on how beneficial they are, and you’ll make the right decision.
We hope you enjoyed reading the article! Let us know if you have any questions.