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  1. #1
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    Default TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Two year old factory-built 1680 sf home, moved in one piece and set on basement. When volume control is operated; smoke detectors are activated (sometimes). Two other homes from the same factory are set up in the same town with the same problem. Smoke detectors are on an arc fault breaker. Could there be some electronic interference causing this? I'm stumped.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    The units may have a wireless transmitter to interconnect multiple units instead of direct hardwired between units.
    Maybe something like this:
    Interconnect wireless and hardwired smoke detectors, connect wireless and hardwired smoke alarms, Onelink Wireless Hardwired Smoke Alarm, wireless hardwired smoke alarm | First Alert Store


    Do you have Manufacture/Model info on units used??

    Last edited by Garry Sorrells; 10-23-2014 at 05:14 AM. Reason: added model info

  3. #3
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Nelson View Post
    Two year old factory-built 1680 sf home, moved in one piece and set on basement. When volume control is operated; smoke detectors are activated (sometimes). Two other homes from the same factory are set up in the same town with the same problem. Smoke detectors are on an arc fault breaker. Could there be some electronic interference causing this? I'm stumped.
    Not enough information
    You said Smoke DETECTORS. Smoke Detectors do not have a built in siren, they are connected to an alarm system.
    Smoke ALARMS have a siren and is what you get at HD, Lowes Walmart...
    Since you said they are connected to AFCI, I'm going with Smoke Alarms.

    ALL electronics produce and are affected by radio waves to some degree. Some more than others.
    Most TV remotes are IR transmitters, not radio transmitters. The chance of interference is very small. Slightly more likely TV is producing Radio waves that interfere.

    Unplug the TV and operate the Volume on the remote. Repeat with TV plugged in and unplugged several times until results seem connected. What happens?

    Operate remote inside cardboard box wrapped in tin foil. Repeat several times. What happens?

    Does problem follow TV or follow remote?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Just thought of this
    Swap smoke alarm with alarm from another room.
    Does the problem follow the smoke alarm or stay in the room with the TV and remote?

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Go buy some new smoke alarms. They are cheap and will most likely solve the problem!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Go buy some new smoke alarms. They are cheap and will most likely solve the problem!
    Thats probably a better idea.
    Because of my background I sometimes switch into trouble shooting mode.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Go buy some new smoke alarms. They are cheap and will most likely solve the problem!
    Just make sure you buy the correct type: hardwired interconnected or wirelessly interconnected.

    The wirelessly interconnected type is not as inexpensive as the hardwired interconnected type.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Rick,

    What's the current status of smoke alarm/detector batteries being required to last 10 years?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Rick,

    What's the current status of smoke alarm/detector batteries being required to last 10 years?
    I don't know.
    My area of knowledge is in burglar and fire alarm systems. They have different standards. Also I know hardwire systems, I know little about wireless systems that use batteries in the detectors.
    That said
    There was talk from manufacturers about making some wireless devices that have non-replaceable batteries. The thought is, the device will be obsolete before the battery runs down.
    But again, I don't do wireless so I'm not well informed on it.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    For anyone interested in knowing more about the 10 year battery smoke alarm you can start here.
    https://www.firemarshals.org/pdf/SAC...April_2012.pdf

    https://www.cpsc.gov//PageFiles/116967/LithiumFinal.pdf

    From the little I read, 10 year batteries often do not last 10 years.

    10 year batteries are recommended by some, but I found no requirement to use them.


    Added in EDIT:
    California
    http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/informationb...moke_Alarm.pdf

    Maryland
    MCFRS News Release


    47 States
    http://www.ajfire.org/uploads/smoke_...quirements.pdf

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 10-23-2014 at 09:33 AM.
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Jerry, in some jurisdictions, when a homeowner installs battery-only smoke alarms they must be on sealed batteries. I believe this is true in Montgomery County,MD.

    As for the TV remotes setting off smoke alarms, if it's a problem in more than one house I'd contact the manufacturer. When smoke alarms first were installed in the White House, Secret Service walkie-talkies would set them off. The standard was revised. It's continually revised. Some of the incoming (2016 etc) revisions in the Code requirements were discussed in an educational session at June's NFPA meeting. I'll talk about some of these in a forthcoming column in Electrical Contractor--maybe January's or February's.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Nelson View Post
    Two year old factory-built 1680 sf home, moved in one piece and set on basement. When volume control is operated; smoke detectors are activated (sometimes). Two other homes from the same factory are set up in the same town with the same problem. Smoke detectors are on an arc fault breaker. Could there be some electronic interference causing this? I'm stumped.
    One thing I did not see in this discussion is namely that there are TV remotes that use RF (a radio link) to talk to the TV or control box. They are identified, and touted, as being able to control the TV from another room.
    If this is the case, I'd surmise that the smoke alarm/detector is acting as an "unintentional receiver" (Google it). If so, you're stuck with the behavior unless you change out the remote control system to an IR guy. Or, perhaps, contact the manufacturer of the alarm to see if they offer an updated, direct replacement, interference proof device.

    Stan


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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    I don't know.
    My area of knowledge is in burglar and fire alarm systems. They have different standards. Also I know hardwire systems, I know little about wireless systems that use batteries in the detectors.
    That said
    There was talk from manufacturers about making some wireless devices that have non-replaceable batteries. The thought is, the device will be obsolete before the battery runs down.
    But again, I don't do wireless so I'm not well informed on it.
    The requirements I read about were for all SD/SA which have battery backup.

    The reason is as you said: the life of the detector/alarm is 10 years, thus the battery life is to be required to be 10 years. Too many people not replacing batteries when needed (approximately every 6 months) leaving the devices inoperative from that point on.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The requirements I read about were for all SD/SA which have battery backup.

    The reason is as you said: the life of the detector/alarm is 10 years,
    You may remember,
    it was you that pointed out to me the difference in terms, "Smoke Detector/ Smoke Alarm"

    Life of a "Smoke Detector" (Part of an Alarm System) is as long as the service company is willing to verify it is working. Life of a Smoke Alarm is UP TO 10 years.

    Also
    Did you mean "Battery" or "Battery backup"?
    Non-hardwired smoke alarms use a battery only as primary power.
    So I think it's any SA with a battery, weather the battery is backup or primary source of power.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Thanks for all the help. Rick: you are right they are smoke alarms. I forwarded some of these suggestions to the homeowner. She said a rep from the home's manufacturer is supposed to come next week.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    You may remember,
    it was you that pointed out to me the difference in terms, "Smoke Detector/ Smoke Alarm"

    Life of a "Smoke Detector" (Part of an Alarm System) is as long as the service company is willing to verify it is working. Life of a Smoke Alarm is UP TO 10 years.
    Is the life of the "detector" component really any longer in a smoke detector than the same component in a smoke alarm? That's why I put them together with the "/" ... is there really a difference in the "detector" component?

    Also
    Did you mean "Battery" or "Battery backup"?
    Non-hardwired smoke alarms use a battery only as primary power.
    So I think it's any SA with a battery, weather the battery is backup or primary source of power.
    Either.

    A battery powered device's battery should also last the life of the device. A device which is only battery backup would not require the same battery as its battery life is basically "shelf life" with the battery setting in the device "doing nothing" its entire life.

    The battery in the battery powered device is actually "always on" and depletes its capacity over time ... much less time than its shelf life would be.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Is the life of the "detector" component really any longer in a smoke detector than the same component in a smoke alarm?
    I don't know, but probably yes.
    But the main thing is with smoke detectors is, they must be tested and re certified by the alarm company. Do home owners do this, almost never. Most would say they didn't know they needed to be tested. On my monitoring invoice I recommend the system be serviced every year or more often if needed. (I felt like you (or someone) would ask)

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Hey wait a minute... why is a smoke detector or smoke alarm wired to an arc-fault?


  19. #19
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Clark View Post
    Hey wait a minute... why is a smoke detector or smoke alarm wired to an arc-fault?
    These are new homes in the US of A.
    (In Canada, AFCI's are only required on the bedroom outlets. Sh, don't tell anybody.)

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Clark View Post
    Hey wait a minute... why is a smoke detector or smoke alarm wired to an arc-fault?
    Well my opine is that the folks that wrote the first requirement also made the AFCI devices and or it is also part of the Nanny world we live in!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Clark View Post
    Hey wait a minute... why is a smoke detector or smoke alarm wired to an arc-fault?
    Because, down here south of that northern border, it is required to be.

    *ALL* ... yes, *ALL* electrical outlets in bedrooms (and most other rooms and areas) are required to have AFCI protection on their *circuits* (not just the "outlets", the entire "circuit"), and electrical "outlets" include receptacle "outlets", lighting "outlets", smoke alarm "outlets", and ... and "outlet" ("outlet" is something which is connected to the circuit which takes power from the circuit, a "switch" is not an "outlet").

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Yes but you wouldn't want the smoke detectors/alarms to trip (even considering they have batteries), many people forget to change the batteries. If this is a new code in the USA then, perhaps the electrical code should be up for review. This is just my opinion.


  23. #23
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Clark View Post
    Yes but you wouldn't want the smoke detectors/alarms to trip (even considering they have batteries), many people forget to change the batteries. If this is a new code in the USA then, perhaps the electrical code should be up for review. This is just my opinion.
    Why?

    Why bother with backup batteries is you don't think the batteries will do any good?

    So ... you would rather allow the circuit which is causing the fire (which just so happens to be the circuit the smoke alarms are on) burn the house down while the smoke alarms are operating on batteries, or while not operating on batteries because the batteries were not replaced ... instead of having the AFCI shut off power to that circuit when the arc forms and thus stop the fire before the fire happens?

    Strange that you would rather burn the house down than prevent the fire ... to each their own, I guess.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    No, I'm saying the smoke detectors should be on its on circuit and not wired with bedroom arc-faults. We are becoming more and more reliant on electricity... people don't think of changing the batteries. If the smoke detector is tripped, and you have another type of house fire other than electrical, i.e grease fire, then how will your smoke detector help you.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'm just saying it should not be on an arc-fault. That's all.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Clark View Post
    No, I'm saying the smoke detectors should be on its on circuit and not wired with bedroom arc-faults.
    You are missing the point: the smoke alarm "outlets" *are in* the bedrooms. The smoke alarm outlets *require* AFCI protection *for the safety of the occupants* of the dwelling.

    We are becoming more and more reliant on electricity... people don't think of changing the batteries.
    So ... having a few STUPID and/or FORGETFUL people allows ALL OTHER people to be put at risk?

    If the smoke detector is tripped, and you have another type of house fire other than electrical, i.e grease fire, then how will your smoke detector help you.
    Because you are (apparently) not even paying attention to what you are saying - smoke alarms ARE REQUIRED to have battery backup - THAT is what will protect the occupants ... unless the occupants are too stupid or too forgetful to replace the batteries ... by the way, that is what those crickets in the smoke alarms are for - they chirp and warn you that the batteries need to be replaced, and, yes, if you ignore those crickets chirping long enough and don't feed them new batteries, those crickets will die and quit chirping. Don't put everyone else at risk for the sake of those who let the batteries run down or remove the batteries - that is simply insane.

    I'm just saying it should not be on an arc-fault. That's all.
    And I'm just saying that I am giving you multiple reasons why smoke alarms SHOULD be on circuits protected by AFCIs.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 10-23-2014 at 09:20 PM. Reason: fixed a missing [quote], quote did not show as a quote even though it ended with a [/quote]
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne Clark View Post
    I'm just saying it should not be on an arc-fault. That's all.
    If you have a lit match laying on the carpet getting ready to start a fire, would you rather: a) put the lit match out (AFCI on the smoke alarm circuit which kills power to that circuit as that circuit has the arcing) and have a smoke alarm with battery backup; b) have a smoke alarm without battery backup and trust that the smoke alarm will go off and warn people to get out while leaving the fire burning (the circuit arcing)?

    a) or b)?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Nelson View Post
    Two year old factory-built 1680 sf home, moved in one piece and set on basement. When volume control is operated; smoke detectors are activated (sometimes). Two other homes from the same factory are set up in the same town with the same problem. Smoke detectors are on an arc fault breaker. Could there be some electronic interference causing this? I'm stumped.
    Alarms I believe are NOT to be protected like this


  28. #28
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Quote Originally Posted by frazier jeffery View Post
    Alarms I believe are NOT to be protected like this
    Apparently didn't read Jerry Peck's post #25.

    Home was built in South Dakota, but had to meet Montana code to be allowed in state.


  29. #29
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    There is so much crap in this thread I didn't bother to read it all, so you may have already gotten your answer.

    Some smoke alarms are made with an IR receiver to test the alarm function. Point any remote toward the alarm and press any button on the remote and you'll set them off. I had them in my house and changed them out because they would go off when using the remote and sometimes even turning on a switched light nearby.

    You'll need to do what I did and change out your alarms. The ones I had were made by First Alert and were combination smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
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  30. #30
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    Default Re: TV remote sets off smoke detectors

    Thank you Ken , Your words are very wise , this thread went off subject a bit too far.
    Jerry and Rick , I learn so much from both of you and really appreciate your comments and please take what I am about to say with understanding of everyone reading. Keep close to the subject - Especially on this one. I had never heard of this happening and in fact I have to replace all my detectors this year so now I have some heads up on any potential issue (other than burnt food in the kitchen, but that was my mothers cooking )

    Again Rick and Jerry I really appreciate what you bring to the table

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you Ken , Your words are very wise , this thread went off subject a bit too far.
    Jerry and Rick , I learn so much from both of you and really appreciate your comments and please take what I am about to say with understanding of everyone reading. Keep close to the subject - Especially on this one. I had never heard of this happening and in fact I have to replace all my detectors this year so now I have some heads up on any potential issue (other than burnt food in the kitchen, but that was my mothers cooking )

    Again Rick and Jerry I really appreciate what you bring to the table

    - - - Updated - - -

    Thank you Ken , Your words are very wise , this thread went off subject a bit too far.
    Jerry and Rick , I learn so much from both of you and really appreciate your comments and please take what I am about to say with understanding of everyone reading. Keep close to the subject - Especially on this one. I had never heard of this happening and in fact I have to replace all my detectors this year so now I have some heads up on any potential issue (other than burnt food in the kitchen, but that was my mothers cooking )

    Again Rick and Jerry I really appreciate what you bring to the table


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