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Home Repair Whole House Fire Alarm randomly going off?

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by L0stS0ul, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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    The whole house fire alarms that came with our Van Metre house have just recently started going off by themselves. The last time it went off it lasted for about 30 seconds then just stopped. Because all of them were going off there was no way to figure out which one triggered it. I went around the house and tested all of them and the test switch worked. Batteries were just recently replaced in almost all of them but these are all also on their own power circuit and the batteries are just backup. Really strange situation.

    In debugging this it seems VM put the attic fan, outlet, and light on the circuit as well. I didn't think they were allowed to do that but that's how things are wired. Doesn't look like anything else is on that circuit.

    As a precaution I went around the house with a can of compressed air to clean the units. Just wondering if anyone else has had this issue and if they found a cause.
     
  2. T8erman

    T8erman Well-Known Member

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    How old are they? If they are 10 years old or more, it is recommended to replace the actual alarm itself. It is possible that one of them could be failing and triggering the rest.
     
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  3. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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    They are the alarms installed by VM when it was built in 2003. I'm not even sure what to look for to replace them as they seem to be some kind of integrated system with no model number. I guess I get to start searching.
     
  4. signifer

    signifer Member

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    We had that problem and replaced all the units. We are in a M&S townhouse; the units were standard Kidde alarms. The number had changed but the replacements were simple to replace. Just turn the alarm to release it, unplug the old unit, plug in the new unit, and align and turn it to lock it in. It takes a minute or so per unit.
    We got ours in bulk at Amazon; they were not very expensive.
     
  5. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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    awesome thanks
     
  6. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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  7. signifer

    signifer Member

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  8. Thunderchild

    Thunderchild New Member

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    Did you get a carbon monoxide unit as well? You should consider purchasing a couple of those as well if you have gas appliances (or heater, dryer) especially if they are the ones that were installed in 2003.
     
  9. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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    We have separate carbon monoxide sensors upstairs and in the basement. Def recommend as well
     
  10. Outlander

    Outlander New Member

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  11. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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    the ones I purchased look identical but have a different plug so require swapping that out. Not too hard but you do need to shut off the breaker while making the swap. Would be nice if some of the pictures showed the plug. I'm not sure if you can find one that is plug and play anymore. These things VM installed are ancient. Hopefully someone found a direct replacement
     
  12. kevinq

    kevinq Member

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    Home Depot had the Kidde replacement with adapter. Kidde had bought out the previous company. I easily replaced all of my 10+ old smoke detectors without needing to shut off electricity.
     
  13. signifer

    signifer Member

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    The ones I had came with an adapter but I didn't need them; they just plugged in. (I'm in a Miller & Smith townhouse. I'm not sure what Van Metre did.)
     
  14. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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    I'll have to see if I can find that adapter. I have not installed all seven yet and if it's cheap.might be worth it.
     
  15. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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  16. Weasel

    Weasel New Member

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    $4.50 for a 2 pack of adapters at Home Depot
     
  17. L0stS0ul

    L0stS0ul hmmmm

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    Still pretty expensive to skip wirenut connecting 3 wires :)
     
  18. kevinq

    kevinq Member

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    The 2 pack is actually 1 adapter for a BRK/first smoke alarms and 1 adapter for a fire X wire-in smoke alarm. Therefore, it really is one per pack.
     
  19. btsnod

    btsnod New Member

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    Sometimes there is not enough space in the original ceiling junction box for those adapters and the original wiring and wire nuts to all get tucked away - that was my experience. In MHO it is better to shut off the breaker, wire in new smoke detector to original wire and ensure all wire nuts are tight and tucked out of they way. It comes with a little more work but might some avoid frustration too (but also not something for someone to do that doesn’t have experience with wiring/breakers/etc).
     
  20. Outlander

    Outlander New Member

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    Dear Neighbors: we live in a Morrison model on Stone Hollow built by Van Metre in 2004. We are in the process of replacing all of our original smokes alarms thanks to this very helpful discussion -- and some loud chirping at night. Home Depot stocks a Kidde/FireX Replacement Smoke Alarm with 120V hardwire and front loading battery door item #21009444 which costs under $20. This unit comes with a couple of adapters, one of which works No rewiring necessary. My son used a simple plastic cord tie to push the clump up into the ceiling/receptacle. Our experimental units have been in place for a week with no chirping. Many thanks for the useful info here.
     
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