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How to Remove a Hard-Wired Smoke Detector

By WenSue |

We all know how important it is to install a smoke detector in our homes. There are two types of a detector in terms of power supply, a battery-operated and a hard-wired smoke detector. A hard-wired smoke detector draws power from your home’s electrical supply. Due to some factors, a hard-wired smoke detector goes off and starts beeping. That constant noise is quite disturbing. Here we will discuss how can you unplug a hard-wired smoke detector when the alarm goes off and keep beeping.

Why You Need to Disconnect the Wired Smoke Detector

Equipment such as a hard-wired smoke detector works well when they are at its optimal condition. But sometimes the detector goes off and starts beeping. Or it gives false alarms, alarms other than any sort of smoke or fire. The constant chirping and beeping sound is quite noisy and irritating. To troubleshoot the problem, you need to find out the underlying problem. Sometimes the problem is solved by just restarting the smoke detector. However, if it doesn’t stop chirping even after restarting, the reasons may be a dead backup battery which you need to change, dust inside your detector you need to clean or a malfunctioning/old detector you need to replace.

How to Remove a Hard-Wired Smoke Detector

To troubleshoot the problem of constant chirping and beeping, you need to remove the hard-wired smoke detector and check for the reasons of that noise. Before trying to remove the hard-wired smoke detector, check the manufacturer of the detector and also it's manual. Look for the instructions there. However, things that you will need for removing a hard-wired smoke detector are:

  • A multimeter
  • A small screwdriver
  • Ladder, if required

Step 1. If applicable, set a ladder to reach the detector up there. The ladder should be on a firm and level surface so that it may not slip. Be careful while climbing the ladder.

Step 2. To remove the detector from the mounting bracket, grasp the detector and twist the body of the unit in the counterclockwise direction. Confirm whether the fire alarm that you are using is battery-operated or a hard-wired smoke detector. When the detector is free from the bracket, gently pull it away. If you don’t see any wired attached to the smoke detector, your detector is battery-operated. On the other hand, if there are connecting wires, your smoke detector is hard-wired and its wires need to be disconnected.

Step 3. Now that you know you have a hard-wired detector, dismount from the ladder. Your next step is to flip the switch of the circuit breaker that is controlling the smoke detector. However, you can turn the main breaker off if there is no switch on the panel designated for the detector.

Step 4. Set the ladder again using a noncontact circuit tester, make sure that you have shut off the power to the smoke detector.

Step 5. Look for the wires of the detector. Wires depend on the type of smoke detector you are using. They will either be connected with wire nuts or with a plug and socket.

Step 6. There will be a tab on the plug-and-socket connection. Press a small screwdriver against it. Doing this will jut out the tab and plug will be released from the socket.

Step 7. If wires are connected to the wire nuts, unscrew the wire nuts and pull the wires, connected to the wire nut, apart. For each wire that is nutted, screw the wire nut back onto the wire leading out from the wall or the ceiling.

How Often You Need to Replace the Smoke Detector

You want your smoke detector to perform its basic function all the time. Right! Your smoke detectors will become less efficient and wear nearly 10 years. Therefore, you should replace your smoke detector every ten years. And even if it is older than 10 years but doing well, you still need to replace it. The test buttons on the detector may be confirming only that the other components of the device are working. If there is a pre-existing smoke detector and you don’t know about its age, call a technician to find it out.

Don’t take everything in your hand, especially regarding electricity. This is just an overview, don't consider it as a complete how-to-guide. Moreover, depending on the specific unit, there are many installation instructions, disclaimers, and steps that are mentioned by the manufacturer. Make sure you strictly follow all.