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Interconnected Smoke Alarms

By ClayboxXsense |

Interconnected smoke detectors work together in detecting home fires. The smoke detectors installed in different rooms including the hallways are either connected to each other through a wireless radio frequency or a third wire which is connected to the wiring system of the building for the old models.

When one smoke alarm goes off in the room where the fire begins all the other connected units connected to it will go off. It is however difficult to connect different smoke alarms because signaling schemes differ from one brand to another making them less compatible.

Interconnected alarms are suitable for different properties including but not limited to heritage listings, systems that exist without any interconnection and blocks that contain flats with individual dwelling.

Interconnected Smoke Alarms and How They Work

CFA advocates and recommends the use of interconnected smoke alarms. In accordance with the law different countries, will require that new homes and those that undergo substantial renovation be installed with multiple interconnected smoke alarms.

Home fires that start from the lounge or bedroom have recorded a large number of fatalities. This has prompted the requirement by the law to ensure that detectors are fitted between areas containing such rooms. It has also been reported that fires that occur in bedrooms with closed doors or otherwise may not trigger smoke alarms in the hallway. In the event they that do, it may be too late. It, therefore, makes perfect sense when the CFA recommends that interconnected alarms be installed, both in bedrooms and the hallways.

Research also reveals that most if not all children are not woken by the sound of smoke alarms. Adults in households with children should therefore, make sure their children are catered for in cases of home fires when alarms go off. However, modern homes with parents’ rooms located far from children's rooms are likely not to hear an alarm go off in their children’s bedrooms.

The modern design of houses and the use of synthetic and plastic materials also increases the risk because fire spreads fast on such materials, which significantly reduce the evacuation time.

The interconnection between smoke alarms means that when one of the interlinked detectors goes off, all the other will sound alarms immediately. This, therefore, gives all the occupants of the house a fair chance to evacuate in the event of home fires.

1. Hard-Wired Interconnection

It is possible to connect twelve 240v hard-wired smoke detectors. This is because they have an additional wire connected besides the 240v wires during installation. This additional wire connects all the detectors and when one goes off the rest also do. These smoke alarms combined with the charges for installation by a professional electrician will cost roughly $45.

2. Wireless Interconnection (RF)

They are easy to install and their popularity is gaining traction. They use a wireless transmission Radio Frequency (RF) technology and up to 40 detectors can be interconnected. The number however depends on the model type. The connection between the detectors occurs in a way similar to which Bluetooth devices pair. They have a wider range and can work in most homes.

The interlinked battery-powered smoke detectors have a lithium battery with 10 years of service. They roughly cost $80 and do not require the services of an electrician for installation. More advanced models are available and they can be connected to a mobile app. They can be turned off remotely and the mobile app will alert you when they go off.

  The Benefits of Interconnected Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms that can be used to protect your home from accidental home fires come in different types. Amongst them are those that work independently of each other, whilst others are interlinked or rather interconnected. The latter are more efficient in protecting your home from fire.

 When one of the interconnected smoke alarms goes off the others with which it is connected will also sound an alarm. This however is not the case for those working independently and when that is the case there are chances of not getting the alert on time if you are in a different room when a fire starts. Outlined below are some of the benefits of installing interconnected smoke alarms in your home.

1. Full Coverage of Your Home

The time to escape a house fire is only limited to a few minutes. For instance, if you have a multistory building for your home and you have installed interconnected fire alarms, and there is a fire at the topmost floor you will have time to escape if you are in the basement. This is possible because when the smoke alarm at the top floor goes off the interconnected detector in the basement will also go off immediately.

Regardless of your location in the house, you will get to hear the alarm immediately. According to NFPA, most fatal deaths of home fires have been reported to have occurred in rooms where the fire never started from. Such instances have been associated with homes that do not have interconnected smoke alarms. Full coverage of your home with interlinked detectors will therefore, give you peace and your household will be protected.

2. Wireless Connection

Back in the days interconnected smoke detectors used to be connected to each other through the wiring system of your home. In the present day, due to advancements in technology wireless interlinked smoke detectors are available. They are powered by batteries and their installation is very easy. The safety of your home is not at stake even in the event of a power outage.

Wireless smoke alarms from First Alert are more advanced and they have the location and voice alert feature. This conveniently alerts your household of the emergency type, the location of danger this allows them to choose the fastest and safest route during evacuation.

Are Wireless Interconnect Alarms for Use in All Properties

Definitely yes, however, it becomes cost-effective during the installation of retro smoke detectors because surface trunking has to be used in most cases. In new buildings installation is easy and the cable is not expensive, there is no need for trunking either. Buildings with concrete ceilings will require that wire-free interconnection systems be used. Other areas where they are applicable include.

  • Systems that exist without interconnections
  • Systems with hard-wired connections that need expansion to additional areas or rooms
  • Protected buildings, listed heritages and dwellings
  • Dwellings that occur individually with flat blocks

 Can smoke alarm from different brands be interconnected?

Originally this question is about AC powered detectors with the third wire, which is usually yellow and normally connects the detectors in parallel. In cases where there is an alarm, one detector triggers an alarm in the others within the connection.

Signaling schemes differ from one manufacturer to the other it is therefore, advisable to use smoke detectors of the same model across the connection.

Some manufacturers, go the extra mile of publishing charts of products that are compatible. A good example is Kidde which has a list of other Kidde units that are compatible.

Some other units will or will not work when interconnected. This is because of the high chances of mixing up smoke detectors with CO detectors. It is therefore advisable to be careful to avoid mixing them.

Common- wire detector alarms have the ability to work independent of alarms with central panels. In case there is a panel the detectors have to be compatible with the panel and with each other.

In conclusion, installing interconnected smoke alarms that are compatible with each other ensures your home, as well as your household, is safe. This is attributed to the fact that they work efficiently in sounding alarms when compared to detectors that work independently. It is important to know how they work, their maintenance and installation requirements to ensure they serve you efficiently.

CFA recommendations as well as requirements by the law on the use of interconnected smoke detectors should always be put into consideration when dealing with the smoke alarms.