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Smoke Questions


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#1 TheHoff

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:11 AM

Hi all,

A couple noob questions on smoke detectors (something I need to get right). I know I have to run all my ideas past a code expert... but here's my thoughts:

1) Since most non-monitored smoke detectors are interconnected, and if one is triggered it will signal the others to also alarm... has anyone ever designed a device to tap into that signal between standard smoke detectors and relay the trigger to an alarm panel? Does anyone know what that signal looks like?

2) My only concern with using smokes connected to my panel is (from what I've read) connected smokes do not have their own internal sounders and rely on the alarm panel to make all the noise in the house (via sirens, etc). My big what-if here is: what if the panel is damaged before one of the smokes detects the fire? This would at least disable the siren in the house. This may be a low risk, but seems like one that should be prevented.

3) If I'm considering leaving my existing standard smoke detectors active in the house, but want to add some monitored smoke detectors, do I need to add a monitored smoke next to each standard (can I)? Can I get away with just the one outside each bedroom instead of one in each bedroom also? The responses I'm anticipating are a- how much risk can I tolerate and b- what will my insurance company let me get away with. Nevertheless... looking for the pro's suggestions.

Thanks,
The Hoff

#2 DELInstallations

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:35 AM

1. Huge issues and plenty of discussions. I would recommend the search feature for reading.

2. Not true. System smokes can and many do have sounders as well as being able to set up to tandem ring like HV units. Biggest item is what people purchase. Only item of contention is if the panel is powered down or non-functional, however the panel's wiring is supervised and should detect a wiring failure prior to being disabled by an event. What it cannot detect is if it was powered down or disconnected by humans, which is why the connections are supposed to be enclosed and secured within an enclosure to guard against "unqualified" persons. The units also should be tested and maintained on a routine basis. The HV units have a similar risk to disconnection and removal, the wiring is generally not supervised and can be compromised, though they are connected through a circuit breaker on the branch circuit.

3. Sticky subject, however if in doubt, leaving the detectors installed for the C of O is prudent, but is not completely necessary in most cases, if the replacement system meets or exceeds the functionality of the original system, but it also comes into play what standard the original install was and if the replacement needs to meet more stringent standards as a replacement. If you're unsure, speaking with AHJ's will generally answer this. If your insurer is requiring a system of some sort for risk mitigation, I would speak to their underwriter and ask what their requirements are. Many insurers are requesting supplemental protection if and when an alarm panel is installed. The typical I have seen requested is one on each floor and sometimes the addition of heat detectors (though they are not life safety items) in areas where no fire protection is present, such as garages and kitchens.

#3 jpmargis

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:40 AM

How about this http://www.brkelectr...com/product/RM4 or maybe http://www.kidde.com...d%3D384,00.html

If you decide to leave your existing smoke detectors intact, then you can put the security system-related smoke detectors anywhere you desire.

Edited by jpmargis, 09 June 2012 - 09:05 AM.


#4 jpmargis

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 08:40 AM

Dup

Edited by jpmargis, 09 June 2012 - 08:41 AM.


#5 TheHoff

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 12:08 PM

Thanks JPM... I think one of those relays look exactly what I'm talking about.

Thanks for all the insight.

#6 DELInstallations

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:21 PM

Those relays are not designed to connect a standalone smoke alarm to a fire alarm control panel and there are multiple reasons why. If you look closely, nowhere is it stated (or listed) for use to connect to a FACP.

I would tread very lightly as to the connection and the legality of what can and cannot be done.

#7 gizzmo

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 10:21 AM

Those relays are not designed to connect a standalone smoke alarm to a fire alarm control panel and there are multiple reasons why. If you look closely, nowhere is it stated (or listed) for use to connect to a FACP.

I would tread very lightly as to the connection and the legality of what can and cannot be done.


^what Dell said. It isn't the right way to do a fire alarm.

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#8 newalarm

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 10:26 AM

I asked this too a while back. When we rebuilt our house, local code requested interconnected 120v battery back up smokes in each room of the house (living room, bedroom, entrance, etc....) But I wanted a system that was monitored.

So I added one smoke upstairs, in the hall, one smoke on first floor living room and foyer (since spaces are separated) w/ thermal in kitchen, and two smokes in basement w/thermal in furnace room. I was told my system sensor that this is a secondary system, and to be careful NOT to tell your insurance that you have a monitored system as this secondary system does not meet national fire codes (ie/ insurance company could decide not to pay claim); to make it comply, i would need a monitored smoke in each room. If you do tell your insurance company to get the discount, be careful as to what you say.

#9 Lou Apo

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 11:50 AM

I asked this too a while back. When we rebuilt our house, local code requested interconnected 120v battery back up smokes in each room of the house (living room, bedroom, entrance, etc....) But I wanted a system that was monitored.

So I added one smoke upstairs, in the hall, one smoke on first floor living room and foyer (since spaces are separated) w/ thermal in kitchen, and two smokes in basement w/thermal in furnace room. I was told my system sensor that this is a secondary system, and to be careful NOT to tell your insurance that you have a monitored system as this secondary system does not meet national fire codes (ie/ insurance company could decide not to pay claim); to make it comply, i would need a monitored smoke in each room. If you do tell your insurance company to get the discount, be careful as to what you say.



I find this quite confusing. Once you have a code compliant and functioning system, why would adding additional devices that are in no way connected to the first system void it? I can understand that if you have a monitored system that goes to the fire dept, they can make requirements of that system to avoid false alarms, but if you want a monitored system that goes directly to you or some other service that does not involve the fire department, they can't prevent you from owning/installing such a device or refuse to give you a C of O when code is met by the primary system.

If the insurance co is giving you a discount for a monitored system, then the monitored system would need to be the code compliant system of record or at least fullfill whatever requirements they make to provide that discount.

I have seen where inspectors required a 120v system and then the homeowner wanted a monitored system where at every required location there were 2 detectors, one 120v model and one 12v model side by side. Seemed really really stupid to me.

Edited by Lou Apo, 12 June 2012 - 11:51 AM.


#10 jpmargis

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 12:48 PM

^what Lou said. Fortunately, my local code and my insurance company see it the same way.

#11 newalarm

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 01:07 PM

In my case, I did not think about the issue prior... until the 120v smokes were in. So I do have some rooms with two smokes.

I am discussing this purely from the insurer side. No one is preventing us from installing the low voltage system, but all SS was saying is that IF we declare it to our insurance (to get the discount), it must be in full compliance with fire code (NFTA or something); otherwise, we can't say we have a 'monitored' system, and if you do they could deny the claim.

I called my insurer and they said they did not differentiate and should not be a problem. I think the wise think to do would be to write a letter/email to insurer for your records to explain it is a secondary system that is not in compliance with National fire codes, but is monitored). Insurers are not in business of giving out money and if they can find a way out of paying a claim, they will.

#12 Lou Apo

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 01:58 PM

In my case, I did not think about the issue prior... until the 120v smokes were in. So I do have some rooms with two smokes.

I am discussing this purely from the insurer side. No one is preventing us from installing the low voltage system, but all SS was saying is that IF we declare it to our insurance (to get the discount), it must be in full compliance with fire code (NFTA or something); otherwise, we can't say we have a 'monitored' system, and if you do they could deny the claim.

I called my insurer and they said they did not differentiate and should not be a problem. I think the wise think to do would be to write a letter/email to insurer for your records to explain it is a secondary system that is not in compliance with National fire codes, but is monitored). Insurers are not in business of giving out money and if they can find a way out of paying a claim, they will.


Certainly I agree that you should have everything in writing. And, duhh, keep it offsite.

#13 DELInstallations

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Posted 12 June 2012 - 05:41 PM

I asked this too a while back. When we rebuilt our house, local code requested interconnected 120v battery back up smokes in each room of the house (living room, bedroom, entrance, etc....) But I wanted a system that was monitored.

So I added one smoke upstairs, in the hall, one smoke on first floor living room and foyer (since spaces are separated) w/ thermal in kitchen, and two smokes in basement w/thermal in furnace room. I was told my system sensor that this is a secondary system, and to be careful NOT to tell your insurance that you have a monitored system as this secondary system does not meet national fire codes (ie/ insurance company could decide not to pay claim); to make it comply, i would need a monitored smoke in each room. If you do tell your insurance company to get the discount, be careful as to what you say.


This is crazy and I would fight this to the end, and in almost 20 years, have never heard of such. I have, however dealt with plenty of underwriters and insurers over the years and had them require protection be installed on to a monitored system based on the $ value and loss/replacement value of the specific policy.

For those who are litigous, nowhere is it specified in code or any other standard that once the primary protection requirements for a property or intended use of a property, would you be required to install a full on fire system, sprinkler system or otherwise, unless a specific hazard or usage dictated such. In a residence, the only real time they would require more protection to be installed or a house brought up to present code would be in an addition (specific coverage added) or renovation, mainly where either a % of new vs. old is met or certain $ value for the project is hit. While it is not a bad idea to bring a property up to present code, nowhere is it required outright of new construction or a gut renovation. In thtele case of a commercial building, it's like tellling a business owner, because he has AHU's with duct smokes for shutdown only, while required for mechanical code, that he must now install either a fully engineered fire system or sprinkler system when it is not required. Would it be nice for a system to be installed, with pull stations and the whole shebang, sure, but again, just because those smokes are there, there isn't any requirement for anything other than an annunciator to be installed.

As far as an insurer not honoring a policy, as long as the supplemental protection was installed I/A/W the manufacturer's directions and methods, it can be malfunctioning and still not provide a reason for coverage unless that specific system is addressed as required in the policy as underwritten.

Supplemental and spot detection are only viewed as property loss items and not life safety.

#14 gizzmo

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 08:50 PM

Tell the insurance company truthfully what is installed. "three monitored smoke detectors" don't get wordy with code speak. Most insurance companies will offer a discount for "a" monitored smoke detector. If you do something stupid and burn your house down they don't ask if the fire started in a code compliant manor.

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#15 Sandpiper

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 04:24 AM

Here's a link to a thread which explains more than you want to know about this subject.




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