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Replacing hardwired smoke detector

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  • Dec 19th, 2019 7:32 pm
[OP]
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Jan 16, 2007
1048 posts
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Scarborough

Replacing hardwired smoke detector

Hello,

Looking for some advise as I am looking to replace my fire alarm that is hardwired into the ceiling with a battery supported one.

There does not appear to be any wires harness and the old smoke detector is directly connected with the wires out the ceiling with wire nuts.
The only way that I can disconnect the old smoke detector seems to be disconnecting the wires through the wire nuts.

Once I have disconnected the wire nut, what do I do with the wire? Have I ventured into a need to hire an electrician?

Thanks!
ebay acct: yes, Im a redflagnoob
22 replies
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
33307 posts
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East Gwillimbury
Any reason why you're using a smoke detector that runs on batteries? Do you like climbing a ladder every other year to replace a 9V battery?

If you have to use a battery operated unit, disconnect the wires (after you shut the breaker) and then put the wire nut back on the bare wires. Tape it up with electrical tape to ensure the wire nut stays snug. Tuck it up into the ceiling and install the other unit.
Jr. Member
Oct 23, 2010
179 posts
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Brampton
I believe in Ontario (if thats where you are), code is you have to replace a hardwired detector with another hardwired model.
[OP]
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Jan 16, 2007
1048 posts
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Scarborough
Gee wrote: Any reason why you're using a smoke detector that runs on batteries? Do you like climbing a ladder every other year to replace a 9V battery?

If you have to use a battery operated unit, disconnect the wires (after you shut the breaker) and then put the wire nut back on the bare wires. Tape it up with electrical tape to ensure the wire nut stays snug. Tuck it up into the ceiling and install the other unit.
Thanks for the info! I received 3 NEST Protect smoke alarm as gifts. They were batteries operated and I did not want to ask for the receipt to exchange them.
ablessa wrote: I believe in Ontario (if thats where you are), code is you have to replace a hardwired detector with another hardwired model.
You are correct ablessa, I am in Ontario. I have done some research after your post. Its a bit conflicting but on the safe side I better exchange them for hardwire ones.
ebay acct: yes, Im a redflagnoob
Deal Fanatic
Jun 11, 2005
8545 posts
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Mississauga
wikkid_bigshot wrote: Thanks for the info! I received 3 NEST Protect smoke alarm as gifts. They were batteries operated and I did not want to ask for the receipt to exchange them.



You are correct ablessa, I am in Ontario. I have done some research after your post. Its a bit conflicting but on the safe side I better exchange them for hardwire ones.
Yes you need to replace them with a wired smoke detector. First question how old are they? They need to be replaced every 10 years. Replacing them is pretty easy. Go on youtube and see if you feel comfortable changing them.
Deal Guru
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Oct 23, 2008
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GTA, ON
No electrician is required.

Most Important Instruction: shut the power off at the breaker before doing any work!
Tis banana is IRIE :razz:

10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
[OP]
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Jan 16, 2007
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Scarborough
antigua1999 wrote: Yes you need to replace them with a wired smoke detector. First question how old are they? They need to be replaced every 10 years. Replacing them is pretty easy. Go on youtube and see if you feel comfortable changing them.
Thanks antigua. We got the house 7 years old and we were told the detectors were new.

When I watched youtube videos the detector have cable harness to disconnect and connect the new detector and it looks simple.
I took out the detector and didnt see any harness and the detector was connected through twist on wire connectors.

EDIT: just saw a video think I am OK :)
ebay acct: yes, Im a redflagnoob
Sr. Member
Feb 28, 2015
564 posts
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Toronto, ON
Gee wrote: Any reason why you're using a smoke detector that runs on batteries? Do you like climbing a ladder every other year to replace a 9V battery?

If you have to use a battery operated unit, disconnect the wires (after you shut the breaker) and then put the wire nut back on the bare wires. Tape it up with electrical tape to ensure the wire nut stays snug. Tuck it up into the ceiling and install the other unit.
My new smoke detector /carbon monoxide, doesn't need battery changed for 7 years, I think it might even be 10.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
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Canada, Eh!!
ablessa wrote: I believe in Ontario (if thats where you are), code is you have to replace a hardwired detector with another hardwired model.
wikkid_bigshot wrote: Thanks for the info! I received 3 NEST Protect smoke alarm as gifts. They were batteries operated and I did not want to ask for the receipt to exchange them.



You are correct ablessa, I am in Ontario. I have done some research after your post. Its a bit conflicting but on the safe side I better exchange them for hardwire ones.
Believe code is HW alarms need to be replaced with HW and have battery backup [most HW have that anyways]. Costco online and hardware stores your best bet.

Also, please do not go automatically think they are 10 year alarms... some are 7 year and who knows what else available so read manual.
.......
July 13, 2017 to October 25, 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime rate next day each time.

2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited and waited to drop its prime rate to include all 3 drops.
Deal Guru
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Oct 23, 2008
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GTA, ON
OP should also read up on the differences of photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors: their pros and cons.

I personally would recommend the photoelectric over the ionization.
Tis banana is IRIE :razz:

10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
3167 posts
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Toronto
Why replace anything?

Leave the hardwired detector where it is. Stick the Nest detectors up wherever you want. What's the problem? When the hardwired detector is at end of life, replace it with another one.

Nothing wrong with having a hardwired detector in place in addition to fancy wifi-enabled, battery operated 'I hope they work' Nest detectors.
[OP]
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Jan 16, 2007
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Scarborough
georvu wrote: Believe code is HW alarms need to be replaced with HW and have battery backup [most HW have that anyways]. Costco online and hardware stores your best bet.

Also, please do not go automatically think they are 10 year alarms... some are 7 year and who knows what else available so read manual.
Thanks for the tip.. I dont have the manual so I guess its best to replace sooner rather than later.

I am getting a heavy sense of NEST not a popular option for smoke protectors..... Aside from being overpriced, are they hugely unfavorable over the other ones?

Reading that NEST 2nd gen had a battery backup option. It is interconnected even if the wifi is down. It seems to me that it offers similar capability of a regular smoke protector, just hugely overpriced.
ebay acct: yes, Im a redflagnoob
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
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Toronto
I don't have anything against Nest detectors - I have a thermostat and have considered the detectors, but mine are tied into my home alarm system and I don't need any more in the house.

I'm sure they're reliable, but nothing wrong with keeping a hardwired one in place as well.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2015
6426 posts
2820 upvotes
Canada, Eh!!
wikkid_bigshot wrote: Thanks for the tip.. I dont have the manual so I guess its best to replace sooner rather than later.

I am getting a heavy sense of NEST not a popular option for smoke protectors..... Aside from being overpriced, are they hugely unfavorable over the other ones?

Reading that NEST 2nd gen had a battery backup option. It is interconnected even if the wifi is down. It seems to me that it offers similar capability of a regular smoke protector, just hugely overpriced.
Not overly familiar with Nest 2.

If replacing alarms that originally HW then no choice but to do same now.

Check existing alarms as should have date on them for replacement, Perhaps can wait.

If nest 2 are battery only then no reason you can't have them in ADDITION to the HW alarms.

PLEASE turn off breaker if do put in new HW alarms and even test wires with meter to be sure. Don't need electrician for this however need to take proper precautions. The new HW should come with an adapter that you connect with marrettes/wire nuts and other side will be plug into alarm.
.......
July 13, 2017 to October 25, 2018: BOC raised rates 5 times and MCAP raised its prime rate next day each time.

2020: BOC dropped rates 3 times and MCAP waited and waited to drop its prime rate to include all 3 drops.
Deal Addict
Mar 3, 2018
1859 posts
1843 upvotes
GTA
I replaced a hard wired alarm with a Nest Protect hard wired version. Essentially the black and white wires attach to a Nest harness to plug into the unit. It connects wirelessly to my other battery powered Nest Protects. I like the verbal warning that the alarm is about to go off such as when cooking smoke is too much. Gives you time to remedy without a full alarm.

Nest Protects are expensive but they do go on sale for $100 to $125 usually in the fall. Last 10 years and accessible through wifi so you can get an alert on your phone while out.
Deal Addict
Jun 24, 2015
4528 posts
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Woodbridge, ON
torontotim wrote: Why replace anything?

Leave the hardwired detector where it is. Stick the Nest detectors up wherever you want. What's the problem? When the hardwired detector is at end of life, replace it with another one.

Nothing wrong with having a hardwired detector in place in addition to fancy wifi-enabled, battery operated 'I hope they work' Nest detectors.

Bad Advice to leave the old hardwired detector where it is, my old one gave me lots of false positives and was sometimes going off for no reason, so we had to remove it and dispose of it environmentally safely at those e-waste dropoffs

why are people so affraid to change a smoke detector,? just turn off the hydro and do it
Hi
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
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Toronto
I never said don’t replace it. I said replace it with another hardwired detector and hang the Nest battery operated ones as well.
Jr. Member
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May 13, 2007
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Lake of the Woods, N…
chimaican wrote: OP should also read up on the differences of photoelectric and ionization smoke detectors: their pros and cons.

I personally would recommend the photoelectric over the ionization.
I chose to buy/use smoke detectors with both technologies in each device.
wikkid_bigshot wrote: Thanks for the tip.. I dont have the manual so I guess its best to replace sooner rather than later.
The lifespan of the smoke detector should be on the device itself.
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You need to change the base when you replace the smoke detector. I think they all now have pigtail plugin connectors for easy replacement in the future.
Wired in smoke detectors will likely be interconnected so that if one is triggered, they all screech.
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way.
Deal Guru
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Oct 23, 2008
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tooluser wrote: I chose to buy/use smoke detectors with both technologies in each device.
I'd rather buy the one with the dual smoke & CO detector, so unless they start making Trio detectors, gotta choose between the photoelectric or ionization.

I fortunately have an extra octagon box on my 2nd floor (when they had separate CO alarms), so I got both smoke types hardwired and interconnected with CO, but have the photoelectric/CO ones on the main & basement.
Tis banana is IRIE :razz:

10% off is cold, 50% off is warm, 75% off is hot, but FREE IS RFD!
Jr. Member
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May 13, 2007
169 posts
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Lake of the Woods, N…
chimaican wrote: I'd rather buy the one with the dual smoke & CO detector, so unless they start making Trio detectors, gotta choose between the photoelectric or ionization.

I fortunately have an extra octagon box on my 2nd floor (when they had separate CO alarms), so I got both smoke types hardwired and interconnected with CO, but have the photoelectric/CO ones on the main & basement.
What I've learned to date is that the ceiling is not the optimum place for a CO detector. Optimum is 2- 5 ft from the floor - while also taking into consideration the many other restrictive parameters.
The interconnection with the smoke/fire alarms is also a preferred option.
Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way.

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