Where Theres Smoke The Broken Plow

Where Theres Smoke

Last week, Cassie spent a little time combing over the place for problem areas that needed winterizing. If youll recall, one of these was checking batteries in the smoke alarms. Well, not only were we missing a whole smoke alarm, but all three of them were hard wired and none of them had battery back up. This means if the power goes out and theres a fire, youve sailed into danger bay .

Since a couple days passed between her post and the arrival of the alarms that wed ordered, she wasnt able to post about it, so here I am to tell you all of the tale of the installation that took longer than anticipated (said in an echoey, emphasized radio voice). As a reminder, these are the models that we ordered. As the beautiful mentioned, theyre photoelectric, to detect smouldering fires, and ionizing, to detect flaming fires.

We were hoping that it was going to be easy and that these things were plug and play. When Id opened the box, sure enough there was a port on the back to plug directly into the wire in the ceiling. then I realized that the wire in the ceiling needed to be plug and play, and if it was, match the port on the back.

Guess what?

It was plug and play.

It didnt match.

This meant that I had to bust out my vast array of electrical skills (see: let there be light ) and get to work.

It was actually fairly easy to change over once I figured out which unlabeled breaker lead to the smoke alarm circuit.  It was just a matter of replacing one three wire plug with another. All I had to do was unscrew the wire nut from each connection, replace the old plug with the new one, and screw all three nuts back on.

Id decided that since the upstairs one was a little harder to reach that Id just replace the main floor and basement and see how they worked before I moved onto the third, assuming I was going to have to head down to the barn to grab the extension ladder for upstairs.

Well, after turning the breaker back on and listening to the alarm sound for a minute or so with no luck turning it off with any of the buttons on the two new alarms, I flipped that bad boy back off and went into troubleshoot mode.

Had I wired them wrong? Was one of the batteries loose? Was one of the units defective?

Well, I was able to check the wiring by unplugging both new alarms and turning the power back on.

Not a peep.

So, with the wiring seemingly correct, I checked the batteries, made sure they were in place, plugged the units back in, and so resumed the 85 db onslaught.

Now, since Id only installed two of them, I had one extra to change both of them out to see if there was a defect in one.

The alarm continued.

Id come to the conclusion now that either there was a fire I was unaware of or I was just missing something. One thing I knew for sure was that I didnt want to mess with it any more and I did the irresponsible thing and left it over night.

Luckily, we were still alive the next day, so instead of fighting with it more, I just called my dad.

You know, the electrician.

As I was talking to him on the phone, hed deduced that the problem was that because I left an old one connected, there was a disturbance in the force and that once I replaced it with the other new one, all systems should be green. As he was telling me this, I was reading the side of the box and it specifically read This alarm is not designed to be interconnected with other manufacturers products unless otherwise specified.

He laughed.

I had read through the instructions 4 times and nowhere did it say that. Silly me, I should have been reading the box that had 100 x less information on it and couldnt possibly tell me exactly what I needed to know.

So, I changed it out and sure enough, the systems were absolutely green.

This meant I could leave the power on, keep my hearing, and that we were once again safe from the evil that is house fires.


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