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  1. #1
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    Question smoke & Co alarms

    How many inspectors check operation of smoke & CO alarms Do you feel there is a liability in checking them Do you determine if they are hard wired or batteries operatede

    NHIE Practice Exam

  2. #2
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Melocco View Post
    How many inspectors check operation of smoke & CO alarms Do you feel there is a liability in checking them Do you determine if they are hard wired or batteries operatede
    With detectors that have a "Test Button" you should test it by pressing the button. If no test button do not attempt to test.
    Generally, I recommend to replace detectors.

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

  3. #3
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    In occupied homes, I will check for at least one smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector.
    I don't want to read in the news that someone died in a home I inspected that did not have a working smoke or carbon monoxide detector.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    I push the test buttons, that is the extent of the test... I also try to tell and note if they are photoelectric or ionization type. I have boilerplate verbaige that tells about the two types of detection and that ionization is the preferred type and is recommended by ASHI and other groups as being the better type to have. I also tell my clients to replace them every 7-10 years or when a home is sold.

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

  5. #5
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    If the house has an alarm system, that might be monitored, think twice before you summon the fire engines.

    Condo buildings, ditto.

    One time many years ago now, I triggered an alarm system that nobody could turn off. I eventually climbed up to the horn and clipped its wire.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    I generally test both under most circumstances. My state has rules about both for real estate transfer of sale so it's kind of a hot topic.

    CO detector must be within 15 feet of any bedroom door in any house with fuel burning appliances.

    Smoke detectors must have "hush" buttons. Also, must have a 10 year battery if not hard wired. Minimum placement is outside bedrooms and one per level. Adding in bedrooms is always recommended. The smoke thing in particular gets a lot of phone calls and emails no matter how clearly I word it. Requirement vs. recommendation. It's amazing how many people will fight to the bitter end to avoid paying $20 to put a couple smoke detectors in the bedrooms. I regularly offer to pay the $20 if that's what the problem is and to stop bothering me about it. No one has ever taken me up on it


  7. #7
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    I hope that the OP is just curiosity to see if there is any concern about liability of damaging the smoke/CO detector.

    Not testing the Smoke/CO detectors, which are designed to be tested, would make me question what the value/quality of the rest of the inspection might be. With that being said, all of the detectors should be replaced/upgraded immediately after closing.

    The only reason not to test would be if a State, by law, would expressly forbids testing of the smoke/CO detectors.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    How do you test smoke/co detectors on a monitored system? I don't for obvious reasons the alarm company will respond.

    Secondly CO detectors on monitored systems don't have test buttons to my knowledge.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    How do you test smoke/co detectors on a monitored system?
    Unless someone has the reset code, you should not test detectors that are part of an alarm system, monitored or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    Secondly CO detectors on monitored systems don't have test buttons to my knowledge.
    Actually most do have a method to test the detectors. Some use a "Key", some have a magnetic switch, and others have a hidden switch.
    ADDED in edit: I overlooked that you said CO detectors. I was speaking of Smoke detectors.
    I do not know if CO detectors do or do not have a test button.

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 04-04-2014 at 07:37 AM.
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  10. #10

    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymond Wand View Post
    How do you test smoke/co detectors on a monitored system? I don't for obvious reasons the alarm company will respond.
    In our area, if a monitored smoke detector goes off, even if you get to the panel within the "grace period" and cancel the alarm, the fire department shows up. We discovered this a few years ago when one of our kids overcooked a pizza and the smoke detector went off; we cancelled the alarm and laughed it off... until the firetrucks showed up.

    We don't test smoke detectors at all; we note their presence (or absence) and tell the buyers to replace them no matter the age, especially if they are the ionizing type.

    Welmoed Sisson
    Inspections by Bob, LLC, Boyds, MD
    "Given sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine."

  11. #11
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Rick

    I could not find any test button on the CO monitored detector.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Connecticut has a new law as of Jan 1 2014.
    As of January 1, 2014, Sellers of 1-2 family homes built prior to October 1, 2005 will be required to furnish their purchasers with an affidavit that the property has working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Failure to provide the affidavit requires the sellers to credit their purchasers with $250 at closing.
    View the text of the law Public Act No. 13-272 - An Act Requiring Working Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Certain Residential Buildings at the Time Title is Transferred.

    The lawyers are generally advising the seller to pay the money so they can avoid future liability.

    I always suggest the new owner provide and install their own CO and Smoke detectors.

    As far as existing units. I will test only non-wired detectors by pushing the test button. Other detection devices are noted as to presence with a note to replace them.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Those of you who test smoke alarms should read about the proper method to test these alarms. Pushing the button is not a proper test. Pushing the button only verifies that there is power and that the buzzer works.
    Jim, your information is incorrect.
    The Test button does in fact Test that the detector functions.

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

  14. #14
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Rick - Please do not wander in here and claim that my information is incorrect . If you have anything to back up what you said ,please present it .
    Considering previous conversations with you, I think it may be a waste time.
    Perhaps, it would be better if you do some independent research on the subject, and report what you find.

    ' 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: smoke & Co alarms

    Well at least this time you actually have something other than your own opinion.
    However, I am not persuaded.
    Keep looking, you'll find something..... more authoritative.

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

  16. #16
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Rick - Please do not wander in here and claim that my information is incorrect .
    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Considering previous conversations with you, I think it may be a waste time.
    Rick,

    Precisely why I no longer have conversations with Jim Abram ... it is like talking to a toddler ... attention span is zilch and do not know enough to understand what is being said and explained to him.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    I do not test these devices.
    I note their presence, or lack of an installation, refer them to a website and like others' here recommend THEY test their own devices regularly and replace them every 7 to 10 years.
    I do not test these devices because - like others' - I have had the fire trucks come up the street with sirens blazing.....the firefighters are only happy when they get to save someone and be helpful...not when some one crys 'Wolf'.
    No more testing for me. Your client should know how to test their own and familiarize themselves with its operation and limitations. In my area there are state and local websites to refer clients to regarding the placement and testing.
    ...and Gary - why bother testing, if , as you say "With that being said, all of the detectors should be replaced/upgraded immediately after closing. "


  18. #18
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    A Quick Homeowner's Guide to Understanding Your Smoke Alarms

    Caution: Never test your alarm by forcing cigarette or other forms of smoke into your alarm.

    Test/Silence Button: This is an easy way to make sure your smoke alarm is functioning properly. Just push and hold the test/silence button until the alarm sounds. It is important to test your smoke alarms every week to make sure they are working properly. The test button is the only recommended way to test them.


    But what do they know, they are only the manufacturer.


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

  19. #19
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    If you had read the rest of the paragraph you would have found it said using artificial smoke
    I really hate to have to reply to this further documentation that Jim is so far off base that he doesn't even realize it - but ...

    NFPA 72 The National Fire Alarm Code
    requires
    using smoke or artificial smoke for testing
    I separated the word - requires - out so Jim could review it.

    Section 10.4.2.2 -The detectors shall be tested in place to ensure smoke entry into the sensing chamber and an alarm response. Testing with smoke or listed aerosol approved by the manufacturer
    shall be
    permitted
    as acceptable test methods.
    I separated out - shall be - and - permitted - so Jim may read what is actually written (and which he posted) and be able to easily compare it to what Jim said.

    There is a LOT of difference between "required" and "shall be permitted" ...

    REQUIRED? NO.

    PERMITTED? YES

    BIG DIFFERENCE.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Jim
    Lets keep the conversation relevant to the topic
    That section does not apply to 1 or 2 family homes (which is the topic of this conversation).
    It is about Fire alarm systems, you know, hotels, public buildings,,,,

    As for home smoke alarms
    Canned smoke is allowed to be use as a method to test, but it is not recommended.
    Canned smoke is not reliable, and can even damage the unit.
    Pressing the test button is the recommended method to test an ordinary smoke alarm found in houses.

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

  21. #21
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Rick,

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    As for home smoke alarms
    Canned smoke is allowed to be use as a method to test, but it is not recommended.
    Canned smoke is not reliable, and can even damage the unit.
    Pressing the test button is the recommended method to test an ordinary smoke alarm found in houses.
    Even if the section Jim posted did apply, there are at least two things he missed in there:
    1) the "required" versus "permitted" part I posted previously, and
    2) the part in Jim's quote below

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Testing with smoke or listed aerosol approved by the manufacturer shall be permitted as acceptable test methods.
    Not just any canned smoke - the canned smoke must meet both of these requirements (bold is mine) ... "or listed aerosol approved by the manufacturer".

    I know you know those things, but other may not.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Before we get to far off topic, testing smoke alarms in houses.
    The recommended method is to press the test button.
    There is no need to use canned smoke.
    To use canned smoke properly you should also be using a smoke detector test chamber.
    such as this:
    Smoke Detector Sensitivity Test Equipment*

    If you don't have a test chamber, just press the test button.
    If the smoke detector is part of a home fire alarm system, do not do anything.
    Recommend testing be performed by a qualified fire alarm technician.

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

  23. #23
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    You seem to have missed this part, and its intent:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram
    " ... shall be tested in place to ensure ... "
    If you were to remove the smoke detector from where it is installed ... there is nothing to ensure that the smoke or aerosol will enter the detector as you could be testing it upside down.

    Using the designed for, and designated for, Test button accomplishes the intended installed field test procedure.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jerry - I seem to have missed any documentation that you posted that indicates that the testing procedures required by NFPA and the IRC are satisfied by pushing a test button. Maybe others buy your BS but,show me the documentation.
    Jim,

    You really should quit showing your ignorance so readily ... Rick posted the installation instructions from one of the manufacturers, and ... with any wits about you at all ... even you should be able to make the connection in the codes because you so often post codes and standards (albeit that your posts are always incorrect, which may account for your lack of being able to make the connection):
    - NEC (in case you did not know, that is NFPA 70)
    - - 110.3(B) (Do you need me to post the code wording for you? I would think you would have an understanding of what 110.3(B) says and have that understanding committed to memory if you refer to codes much at all.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  25. #25
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Jerry - I seem to have missed any documentation that you posted that indicates that the testing procedures required by NFPA and the IRC are satisfied by pushing a test button. Maybe others buy your BS but,show me the documentation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    If you had read the rest of the paragraph you would have found it said using artificial smoke

    NFPA 72 The National Fire Alarm Code requires using smoke or artificial smoke for testing

    Section 10.4.2.2 -The detectors shall be tested in place to ensure smoke entry into the sensing chamber and an alarm response. Testing with smoke or listed aerosol approved by the manufacturer shall be permitted as acceptable test methods.
    Jim,

    Let's start at the beginning ... your quoting of NFPA 72 10.4.2.2 ...

    How old is the edition you quoted?

    I ask because what you quoted as fact and being from NFPA 72 is, in fact, not fact - not unless it is from some older edition. I looked at the 2010 and 2013 editions of NFPA 72 and your quote does not exist.

    Soooo ... from the beginning ... just how old is the NFPA 72 you quoted?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    As I feared, this conversation have been diverted.
    Getting back what is relevant
    It started with this post, which I said was incorrect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Those of you who test smoke alarms should read about the proper method to test these alarms. Pushing the button is not a proper test. Pushing the button only verifies that there is power and that the buzzer works.
    There are 2 statements, and both are incorrect
    1st statement:
    "Those of you who test smoke alarms should read about the proper method to test these alarms"
    The proper method to test a smoke alarm is what the manufacturer recommends.
    This is from BRK a manufacturer of smoke alarms
    "
    Test/Silence Button: This is an easy way to make sure your smoke alarm is functioning properly. Just push and hold the test/silence button until the alarm sounds. It is important to test your smoke alarms every week to make sure they are working properly. The test button is the only recommended way to test them. "

    2nd statement:
    "Pushing the button is not a proper test. Pushing the button only verifies that there is power and that the buzzer works"

    Pressing the test button does test the detection capability of the smoke alarm.


    The point I want to make to HIs reading this is;
    The manufacturers ONLY recommendation is to press the test button.
    You need not use canned smoke, burning matches or other.
    If there is not a test button, it is part of a fire alarm system, and you should recommend the system be tested by a qualified fire alarm technician.

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

  27. #27
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    The point I want to make to HIs reading this is;
    The manufacturers ONLY recommendation is to press the test button.
    That is the same point I was making when I referenced NFPA 70, which is the NEC, and 110.3 (B), which states that listed and labeled equipment and devices are to be installed, used, and maintained in accordance with the instructions included in their listing and labeling - which includes the stated testing procedures.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Jim, I can see there is room for confusion.
    But the best way to know what to do is go with what the manufacturer recommends.
    If you don't have the installation instructions, pressing the test button is always approved.

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

  29. #29
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Sheeeshh..............it's a good thing I don't test smoke detectors...because I wouldn't know if I was doin it right or not - should I just push the button (isn't that what it's there for?) or start the house on fire to give it a real test. Yeah, that's the ticket - start a fire - otherwise how would a guy know if it would really work under real world conditions???.
    Jim are you trying to educate us, or do you just like to poke at the hornets nest?
    Google Image Result for http://www.knockoutpest.com/images/Wasp%2520Nest.jpg


  30. #30
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Jim, I can see there is room for confusion.
    No confusion if one sticks with the manufacturer - would anyone go to insurance companies for instructions on how to test other items ... no, the source would be the manufacturer.

    The confusion is that the sources being plied by Jim are those which are for consumers - not inspectors - and while consumers should not be misled ... inspectors should know better than to go to insurance companies for a report written by someone writing a question and answer column and who is not knowledgeable about that they are writing about.

    But the best way to know what to do is go with what the manufacturer recommends.
    If you don't have the installation instructions, pressing the test button is always approved.
    That is the correct.

    http://www.firexsafety.com/NR/rdonly...sh46185000.pdf :
    (bold is in the installation instructions)
    - The Push-to-Test button accurately tests all smoke alarm functions.DO NOT use any other test method. Test smoke alarm weekly to
    ensure proper operation.

    http://www.firexsafety.com/NR/rdonly...sh45804586.pdf :
    (bold is in the installation instructions)
    - The Push-to-Test button accurately tests all smoke alarm functions.DO NOT use any other test method. Test smoke alarm weekly to
    ensure proper operation.

    https://portalgb.knowledgebase.net/u...spx?aid=295787 :
    - TESTING: Test by pushing the Test/Hush button on the cover and hold it down
    for a minimum of 5 seconds. This will sound the alarm if all the electronic circuitry,
    horn and battery are working. In an interconnected installation all interconnected
    alarms should sound when the test feature on any one of the interconnected
    alarms is activated. If no alarm sounds, check the fuse or circuit
    breaker supplying power to the alarm circuit. If the alarm still does not sound,
    the unit has defective batteries or other failure. DO NOT use an open flame to
    test your alarm, you could damage the alarm or ignite combustible materials
    and start a structure fire.


    Hardwire Ionization - First Alert :
    (bold is in installation instructions)
    - WEEKLY TESTING
    WARNING!
    NEVER use an open flame of any kind to test this unit. You might accidentally damage

    or set fire to the unit or to your home. The built-in test switch accurately tests the
    unitís operation as required by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL).
    CAUTION!
    DO NOT stand close to the Alarm when the horn is sounding. Exposure at close range
    may be harmful to your hearing. When testing, step away when horn starts sounding.
    It is important to test this unit every week to make sure it is working properly. Using
    the test button is the recommended way to test this Smoke Alarm. Press and hold the
    test button on the cover of the unit until the alarm sounds (the unit may continue to alarm
    for a few seconds after you release the button). If it does not alarm, make sure the unit is
    receiving power and test it again. If it still does not alarm, replace it immediately. During
    testing, you will hear a loud, repeating horn pattern: 3 beeps, pause, 3 beeps, pause.
    When testing a series of interconnected units you must test each unit individually.
    Make sure all units alarm when each one is tested.

    For someone, Jim A., who had been espousing NFPA standards, to stoop to trying to create a sense of confusion by posting links to two consumer oriented sites when the above from the manufacturers is just as readily available on the internet.

    Inspectors are, should be, professionals who seek to do things the professional way, reading consumer oriented sites for guidance instead of going with manufacturers' site does not make sense.

    The manufacturers all state to use the Test button, nothing else. What is confusing about that?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  31. #31
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Jim,

    I see that you apparently cannot comprehend what you read either ... presuming that you are even bothering to read what is posted.

    As previously stated - no need to have a discussion with you - and to clarify why - you are either incapable of having a discussion or you simply do not want to have a discussion ... either way makes you incapable of having a discussion or conversation ... at least we all know why you now have time on your hands, and a good idea of what preceded to cause the action which is giving you you so much time on your hands.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    [QUOTE=Jerry Peck;240897]
    This will sound the alarm if all the electronic circuitry,
    horn and battery are working.

    While it is good to know the electronic circuitry, horn and battery are working; isn't the goal to know that the unit will smell smoke?? Using test smoke I find 80% of battery operated smoke detectors DO NOT smell smoke!

    I have spoken, argument over


  33. #33
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    [QUOTE=Duane Nelson;240921]
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    This will sound the alarm if all the electronic circuitry,
    horn and battery are working.

    While it is good to know the electronic circuitry, horn and battery are working; isn't the goal to know that the unit will smell smoke?? Using test smoke I find 80% of battery operated smoke detectors DO NOT smell smoke!

    I have spoken, argument over
    Duane,

    The electrical circuitry isn't working unless it is sensing the smoke particles is it?

    This knowing that electrical circuitry is working is the goal, isn't it?

    Thus, what do you find objectionable about a test which shows that the electrical circuitry is working.

    If you use canned smoke, isn't your purpose to determine that the electrical circuitry is working - right?

    So which test is better - the one using canned smoke and which the manufacturer says not to do ... or the one using the manufacturer method of testing the electrical circuitry?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    The old saying of he who lies the best wins only applies to litigation.
    In that case, you must be one fantastic litigator.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  35. #35
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Jim's bases his opinion to use smoke for testing on requirements of NFPA72.
    NFPA 72 regulates fire alarm systems.
    Ordinary household smoke alarms such as found in 1 and 2 family homes are NOT a fire alarm system. A Fire alarm system uses a control panel. Ordinary smoke alarms do not have a control panel.


    From NFPA 72 (2002) Bold, and Color added

    1.1 Scope.
    1.1.1 NFPA 72 covers the application, installation, location,
    performance, and maintenance of fire alarm systems and their
    components

    From NFPA 72, Definition of Fire Alarm System
    (READ 3.3.67.4)

    3.3.67 Fire Alarn System. A system or portion of a combination
    system that consists of components and circuits arranged
    to monitor and annunciate the status of fire alarm or supervisory
    signal-initiating devices and to initiate the appropriate
    response to those signals. (SIG-FUN)
    3.3.67.1 Auxiliary Fire Alarm System. A system connected
    to a municipal fire alarm system for transmitting an alarm
    of fire to the public fire service communications center.
    Fire alarms from an auxiliary fire alarm system are received
    at the public fire service communications center on the
    same equipment and by the same methods as alarms transmitted
    manually from municipal fire alarm boxes located
    on streets. (SIG-PRS)
    3.3.67.1.1 Local Energy Type Auxiliary Fire Alarm System. An
    auxiliary system that employs a locally complete arrangement
    of parts, initiating devices, relays, power supply, and
    associated components to automatically trip a municipal
    transmitter or master box over electrical circuits that are
    electrically isolated from the municipal system circuits.
    (SIG-PRS)
    3.3.67.1.2 ShuntAuxiliary Type Auxiliary FireAlann System. An
    auxiliary system electrically connected to an integral part of
    the municipal alarm system extending the municipal circuit
    into the protected premises to interconnect the initiating devices,
    which, when operated, open the municipal circuit
    shunted around the trip coil of the municipal transmitter or
    master box. The municipal transmitter or master box is thereupon
    energized to start transmission without any assistance
    from a local source of power. (SIG-PRS)
    3.3.67.2 Central Station Fire Alarm System. A system or
    group of systems in which the operations of circuits and
    devices are transmitted automatically to, recorded in,
    maintained by, and supervised from a listed central station
    that has competent and experienced servers and operators
    who, upon receipt of a signal, take such action as required
    by this Code. Such service is to be controlled and operated
    by a person, firm, or corporation whose business is the furnishing,
    maintaining, or monitoring of supervised fire
    alarm systems. (SIG-SSS)
    3.3.67.3* Combination System. A fire alarm system in which
    components are used, in whole or in part, in common with
    a non-fire signaling system. (SIG-PRO)
    3.3.67.4 Household Fire Alarm System. A system of devices
    that uses a fire alarm control unit (panel) to produce an
    alarm signal in the household for the purpose of notifying
    the occupants of the presence of a fire so that they will
    evacuate the premises. (SIG-HOU)
    2002 Edition
    3.3.67.5 Municipal Fire Alarm System. A system of alarm initiating
    devices, receiving equipment, and connecting
    circuits (other than a public telephone network) used to
    transmit alarms from street locations to the public fire service
    communications center. (SIG-PRS)
    3.3.67.6 Proprietary Superoising Station Fire Alarm System. An
    installation of fire alarm systems that serves contiguous and
    noncontiguous properties, under one ownership, from a
    proprietary supervising station located at the protected
    property, or at one of multiple non-contiguous protected
    properties, at which trained, competent personnel are in
    constant attendance. This includes the proprietary supervising
    station; power supplies; signal-initiating devices; initiating
    device circuits; signal notification appliances; equipment
    for the automatic, permanent visual recording of
    signals; and equipment for initiating the operation of
    emergency building control services. (SIG-SSS)
    3.3.67.7 ProtectedPremises (Local) Fire Alarm System. A protected
    premises system that sounds an alarm at the protected
    premises as the result of the manual operation of a
    fire alarm box or the operation of protection equipment or
    systems, such as water flowing in a sprinkler system, the
    discharge of carbon dioxide, the detection of smoke, or the
    detection of heat. (SIG-PRO)
    3.3.67.8 Public Fire Alarm Reporting System. A system of fire
    alarm-initiating devices, receiving equipment, and connecting
    circuits used to transmit alarms from street locations
    to the communications center. (SIG-PRS)
    3.3.67.8.1 Type A Public Fire Alarm Reporting System. A system
    in which an alarm from a fire alarm box is received and
    is retransmitted to fire stations either manually or automatically.
    (SIG-PRS)
    3.3.67.8.2 Type B Public Fire Alarm Reporting System. A system
    in which an alarm from a fire alarm box is automatically
    transmitted to fire stations and, if used, is transmitted
    to supplementary alerting devices. (SIG-PRS)
    3.3.67.9 Remote Superoising Station Fire Alarm System. A system
    installed in accordance with this Code to transmit
    alarm, supervisory, and trouble signals from one or more
    protected premises to a remote location where appropriate
    action is taken. (SIG-SSS)

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

  36. #36
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Nelson View Post
    ...Using test smoke I find 80% of battery operated smoke detectors DO NOT smell smoke!
    80% Really!!

    Last edited by Rick Cantrell; 04-06-2014 at 02:18 PM.
    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  37. #37
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Jim, you keep referring to NFPA 72, what you do not understand is:
    NFPA 72 applies to fire alarm systems
    Odinary smoke alarms that are the topic of this conversation ARE NOT a fire alarm system.

    IF a FIRE ALARM SYSTEM is installed , then NFPA is what governs the system.
    The IRC references NFPA 72 for the INSTALLATION (location) of smoke alarms

    R313.1 Smoke detection and notification. All smoke alarms
    shall be listed in accordance with UL 217 and installed (placement of alarms)
    in accordance with the provisions of this code and the household

    fire warning equipment provisions of NFPA 72.
    Household fire alarm systems installed in accordance with
    NFPA 72 that include smoke alarms, or a combination of
    smoke detector and audible notification device installed as
    required by this section for smoke alarms, shall be permitted.
    The household fire alarm system shall provide the same level of
    smoke detection and alarm as required by this section for
    smoke alarms in the event the fire alarm panel is removed or the
    system is not connected to a central station.


    NFPA 72 Has a lot of requirements that do not apply to ordinary smoke alarms.
    But if you insist that NFPA 72 applies then the following also apply.
    Chapter 10 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance
    10.2.2.5 Service personnel shall be qualified and experienced
    in the inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire
    alarm systems. Examples of qualified personnel shall be
    permitted to include, but shall not be limited to, individuals
    with the following qualifications:
    (1) Factory trained and certified
    (2) National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies
    fire alarm certified
    (3) International Municipal Signal Association fire alarm certified
    (4) Certified by a state or local authority
    (5) Trained and qualified personnel employed by an organization
    listed by a national testing laboratory for the servicing
    of fire alarm systems


    Do you (or Duane) have any of these qualifications that authorize you to perform the testing (canned or real smoke test) you say is required?

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

  38. #38
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    No Jim
    You are grouping the common ordinary household smoke alarm like you can get at HD, Walmart...
    with a professionally installed fire alarm system.
    First words of the code you referenced: Household fire alarm systems..
    A fire alarm system must meet the requirements of NFPA 72
    The smoke alarms you get at HD or Walmart are not a fire alarm system.

    But if you insist on following the requirements of NFPA 72 for a fire alarm system:

    Do you meet the training requirements to perform a smoke test?
    Are you qualified to perform testing.
    I mean, if what you say is true, then doesn't all of it also apply?
    Especially the training requirements for personnel performing test?

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

  39. #39
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Rick,

    Being as he does not understand:
    - a) that the entire code section needs to be read, not just the part he wants to read;
    - b) how to read the code; or
    - c) what the code is saying

    I will post the code first, then post it again and go through it for everyone's benefit, maybe even Duane will understand then.

    From the 2012 IRC:
    - R314.2 Smoke detection systems. - - Household fire alarm systems installed in accordance with NFPA 72 that include smoke alarms, or a combination of smoke detector and audible notification device installed as required by this section for smoke alarms, shall be permitted. The household fire alarm system shall provide the same level of smoke detection and alarm as required by this section for smoke alarms. Where a household fire warning system is installed using a combination of smoke detector and audible notification device(s), it shall become a permanent fixture of the occupancy and owned by the homeowner. The system shall be monitored by an approved supervising station and be maintained in accordance with NFPA 72.
    - - - Exception: Where smoke alarms are provided meeting the requirements of Section R314.4.

    - R314.4 Power source.
    - - Smoke alarms shall receive their primary power from the building wiring when such wiring is served from a commercial source, and when primary power is interrupted, shall receive power from a battery. Wiring shall be permanent and without a disconnecting switch other than those required for overcurrent protection.
    - - - Exceptions:
    - - - - 1. Smoke alarms shall be permitted to be battery operated when installed in buildings without commercial power.
    - - - - 2. Hard wiring of smoke alarms in existing areas shall not be required where the alterations or repairs do not result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available which could provide access for hard wiring without the removal of interior finishes.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Now I will break it down for him so it is easier to understand:
    From the 2012 IRC:
    - R314.2 Smoke detection systems. - - Household fire alarm systems installed in accordance with NFPA 72 that include smoke alarms, or a combination of smoke detector and audible notification device installed as required by this section for smoke alarms, shall be permitted. (Jerry's note: An NFPA 72 fire/smoke alarm system IS PERMITTED to be installed, but IS NOT REQUIRED to be installed. This is apparently his first lack of comprehension.)
    - - The household fire alarm system shall provide the same level of smoke detection and alarm as required by this section for smoke alarms. (Jerry's note: WHEN the PERMITTED BUT NOT REQUIRED NFPA 72 household fire/smoke alarm system is installed, it is required to meet the same level of smoke detection and alarms as required by NON-NFPA 72 SMOKE ALARMS. I.e., installing a PERMITTED NFPA 72 system does not permit less protection than required NON-NFPA 72 SMOKE ALARMS.)
    - - Where a household fire warning system is installed using a combination of smoke detector and audible notification device(s), it shall become a permanent fixture of the occupancy and owned by the homeowner. (Jerry's note: The PERMITTED BUT NOT REQUIRED NFPA 72 system, once the system is installed, the system shall become a permanent part of the structure, the company which installed the system is not allowed to remove it as it is now owned by the owner.)
    - - The system shall be monitored by an approved supervising station and be maintained in accordance with NFPA 72. (Jerry's note: The PERMITTED BUT NOT REQUIRED NFPA 72 system shall be monitored in accordance with NFPA 72.)
    - - - Exception: Where smoke alarms are provided meeting the requirements of Section R314.4. (Jerry's note: Any and every smoke alarm which meets the requirements of R314.4 which IS NOT INSTALLED AS PART OF A PERMITTED BUT NOT REQUIRED NFPA 72 system IS EXEMPT FROM the requirements of NFPA 72.)

    - R314.4 Power source.
    - - Smoke alarms shall receive their primary power from the building wiring when such wiring is served from a commercial source, and when primary power is interrupted, shall receive power from a battery. (Jerry's note: PERMITTED NON-NFPA 72 systems - The smoke alarms are required to be powered by the electrical system in the dwelling AND have a battery backup which automatically keeps the device powered when power from the electrical system is interrupted.)
    - - Wiring shall be permanent and without a disconnecting switch other than those required for overcurrent protection. (Jerry's note: PERMITTED NON-NFPA 72 systems - No switch, other than a breaker or fuse for overcurrent protection, is allowed to be installed in the electrical system which provides electrical power to the smoke alarms. This is to prevent the smoke alarms from having their power interrupted for any purpose other than a fault or short in the electrical system and which protects the electrical system from overcurrent.)
    - - - Exceptions:
    - - - - 1. Smoke alarms shall be permitted to be battery operated when installed in buildings without commercial power. (Jerry's note: PERMITTED NON-NFPA 72 systems - If there is no commercial electrical power then the smoke alarms are permitted to be battery powered only.)
    - - - - 2. Hard wiring of smoke alarms in existing areas shall not be required where the alterations or repairs do not result in the removal of interior wall or ceiling finishes exposing the structure, unless there is an attic, crawl space or basement available which could provide access for hard wiring without the removal of interior finishes. (Jerry's note: PERMITTED NON-NFPA 72 systems - For existing dwellings which are undergoing renovation, alteration, remodeling, repairs, etc., which have battery powered smoke alarms in locations where the wall or ceiling is not removed to expose the structure to allow for hard wiring of the smoke alarms are not required to be re-wired to provide hard wiring for the smoke alarms - unless - there is an attic, crawlspace, basement, etc., available which will allow the smoke alarms to be hard wired.)



    Jerry's overall note 01: Any and all smoke alarms which meet R314.4 ARE NOT REQUIRED TO MEET NFPA 72. See 314.2 above.

    Jerry's overall note 02: Any and all smoke alarms which do not meet R314.4 ARE NOT REQUIRED TO MEET NFPA 72, however, a NFPA 72 SYSTEM IS PERMITTED to be installed BUT IS NOT REQUIRED to be installed. See 314.2 above.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  40. #40
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Well said Jerry
    The point I want all HIs reading this is to understand:
    Ordinary smoke alarms are not a fire alarm system and as such are not required to be tested using smoke.
    They should be tested in accordance with the manufactures instructions, IE Push the button.

    Pressing the test button does in fact perform a VALID test of the smoke alarm.

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

  41. #41
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Rick: Yes 80%. I was called on this a few years ago, so I kept a tally for one month. It was either 79 or 81%, so I rounded it to 80.

    Jerry: If you were even a little less snide or arrogant I might take time to read through your posts. Here is my procedure for $10 WM or HD battery operated smoke detectors: Push test button - if horn does not sound it fails; if horn sounds it gets a shot of test smoke. Codes and manufacturer specs are fine in most cases, but when lives could be at stake, not using all resources available is not an option for me.


  42. #42
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Nelson View Post
    Rick: Yes 80%. I was called on this a few years ago, so I kept a tally for one month. It was either 79 or 81%, so I rounded it to 80.
    ....Here is my procedure for $10 WM or HD battery operated smoke detectors: Push test button - if horn does not sound it fails; if horn sounds it gets a shot of test smoke. Codes and manufacturer specs are fine in most cases, but when lives could be at stake, not using all resources available is not an option for me.
    Duane
    I mean no disrespect to you.
    I'm not surprised you got poor test results.
    Your "Shot of test smoke" is not a reliable method for testing.
    Using canned smoke should be done by someone trained and certified.
    Much like having a flashlight and an outlet tester does not mean someone is qualified as an HI.

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

  43. #43
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Nelson View Post
    Rick: Yes 80%. I was called on this a few years ago, so I kept a tally for one month. It was either 79 or 81%, so I rounded it to 80.

    Jerry: If you were even a little less snide or arrogant I might take time to read through your posts. Here is my procedure for $10 WM or HD battery operated smoke detectors: Push test button - if horn does not sound it fails; if horn sounds it gets a shot of test smoke. Codes and manufacturer specs are fine in most cases, but when lives could be at stake, not using all resources available is not an option for me.
    Duane,

    When trying to discuss/converse with someone like Jim, experience has taught, and continues to confirm, that there is no way to discuss/converse and come out looking anything other than that way. That is why, if you have noticed, that I respond much less often to Jim's posts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Duane
    .
    .
    Your "Shot of test smoke" is not a reliable method for testing.
    .
    .
    In addition to what Rick said, doing a test which the installation instruction say not to do does not show or indicate anything other than it does not show or indicate anything ... and the unapproved test may damage the previously undamaged smoke detector.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  44. #44
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    I generally test both under most circumstances. My state has rules about both for real estate transfer of sale so it's kind of a hot topic.

    CO detector must be within 15 feet of any bedroom door in any house with fuel burning appliances.

    Smoke detectors must have "hush" buttons. Also, must have a 10 year battery if not hard wired. Minimum placement is outside bedrooms and one per level. Adding in bedrooms is always recommended. The smoke thing in particular gets a lot of phone calls and emails no matter how clearly I word it. Requirement vs. recommendation. It's amazing how many people will fight to the bitter end to avoid paying $20 to put a couple smoke detectors in the bedrooms. I regularly offer to pay the $20 if that's what the problem is and to stop bothering me about it. No one has ever taken me up on it
    Hey matt have the code for the 15' rule?

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  45. #45
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    I test reachable smoke detectors and CO detectors with their test buttons. If the house was originally built under current standards (hardwired and interconnected in bedrooms, outside bedrooms and on every level) and the basement has been subsequently finished and don't meet those requirements, I'll not only call out the lack of smokes, but also indicate the finishing was most likely done without permits and advise my clients to check the permit history.

    We have a 10 foot from bedrooms requirement for CO detectors. Actually a state law, not a building code.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  46. #46
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Thank Heaven we don't test smoke-CO detectors (or fire alarms) in our state (Same as Jim's state). That is the fire departments requirement.

    The local fire department is required to test, type, location and operation of all required devices and if appropriate they issue a Certificate of Compliance that is required by the registry of deeds for a real estate transfer. The seller cannot transfer the deed unless it complies.

    OH and by-the-way, the requirements vary based on when the house was built or when a major renovation occurred. It gets very complex as to the requirement. IMHO, Best done by others.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  47. #47
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Smoke alarms

    Seems pretty obvious the NFPA says to use the test button.. so push the little button on your mouse and watch the instructional video edition for dummies..


  48. #48
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by kenny martin View Post
    Smoke alarms

    Seems pretty obvious the NFPA says to use the test button.. so push the little button on your mouse and watch the instructional video edition for dummies..
    Good information
    Thanks Kenny

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

  49. #49
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

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

  50. #50
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Kenny,

    Post away, I am interested in reading what you have to say as a homeowner, professional or otherwise. There are not any pre qualifications to post here on this forum. And that is a long standing policy.


  51. #51
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Kenny - This discussion is for professionals not homeowners. I think there is a string on this site for homeowners.
    Well Jimmy, buddy, I'm a professional home owner..


  52. #52
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    This is too easy so I'll just watch..


  53. #53
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    There is more to being a Professional than working at a job. Just wish it was more apparent to some.


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    Wink Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Kenny - This discussion is for professionals not homeowners. I think there is a string on this site for homeowners.
    Pesky hornets

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Kenny - This discussion is for professionals not homeowners. I think there is a string on this site for homeowners.
    Pesky hornets


  55. #55
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    No Jim
    You are grouping the common ordinary household smoke alarm like you can get at HD, Walmart...
    with a professionally installed fire alarm system.
    First words of the code you referenced: Household fire alarm systems..
    A fire alarm system must meet the requirements of NFPA 72
    The smoke alarms you get at HD or Walmart are not a fire alarm system.

    But if you insist on following the requirements of NFPA 72 for a fire alarm system:

    Do you meet the training requirements to perform a smoke test?
    Are you qualified to perform testing.
    I mean, if what you say is true, then doesn't all of it also apply?
    Especially the training requirements for personnel performing test?
    Rick is 100% correct. Two different things entirely. Smoke detectors are NOT Fire Alarm Systems.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    No Jim
    You are grouping the common ordinary household smoke alarm like you can get at HD, Walmart...
    with a professionally installed fire alarm system.
    First words of the code you referenced: Household fire alarm systems..
    A fire alarm system must meet the requirements of NFPA 72
    The smoke alarms you get at HD or Walmart are not a fire alarm system.

    But if you insist on following the requirements of NFPA 72 for a fire alarm system:

    Do you meet the training requirements to perform a smoke test?
    Are you qualified to perform testing.
    I mean, if what you say is true, then doesn't all of it also apply?
    Especially the training requirements for personnel performing test?
    Rick is 100% correct. Two different things entirely. Smoke detectors are NOT Fire Alarm Systems.


  56. #56
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Jerry: Do you have documentation that using a can of smoke on $10 smoke detectors causes damage to them?


  57. #57
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Duane Nelson View Post
    Jerry: Do you have documentation that using a can of smoke on $10 smoke detectors causes damage to them?
    Duane,

    Not sure what is needed to convince you not to use canned smoke beyond what the manufacturers state - it is your call and your wallet for any smoke alarms which do not reset, just keep in mind that if ANYTHING happens after using canned smoke on the smoke alarms ... YOU can be held accountable ... even for a smoke alarm which DOES NOT ACTIVATE when needed and results in a death ... YOUR COMPANY ... YOUR CALL - keep in mind that these posts of yours can, and quite possibly will be, found and used against you should anything happen:
    (larger text is mine for highlighting)
    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    No confusion if one sticks with the manufacturer - would anyone go to insurance companies for instructions on how to test other items ... no, the source would be the manufacturer.

    The confusion is that the sources being plied by Jim are those which are for consumers - not inspectors - and while consumers should not be misled ... inspectors should know better than to go to insurance companies for a report written by someone writing a question and answer column and who is not knowledgeable about that they are writing about.



    That is the correct.

    http://www.firexsafety.com/NR/rdonly...sh46185000.pdf :
    (bold is in the installation instructions)
    - The Push-to-Test button accurately tests all smoke alarm functions.DO NOT use any other test method. Test smoke alarm weekly to
    ensure proper operation.

    http://www.firexsafety.com/NR/rdonly...sh45804586.pdf :
    (bold is in the installation instructions)
    - The Push-to-Test button accurately tests all smoke alarm functions.DO NOT use any other test method. Test smoke alarm weekly to
    ensure proper operation.

    https://portalgb.knowledgebase.net/u...spx?aid=295787 :
    - TESTING: Test by pushing the Test/Hush button on the cover and hold it down
    for a minimum of 5 seconds. This will sound the alarm if all the electronic circuitry,
    horn and battery are working. In an interconnected installation all interconnected
    alarms should sound when the test feature on any one of the interconnected
    alarms is activated. If no alarm sounds, check the fuse or circuit
    breaker supplying power to the alarm circuit. If the alarm still does not sound,
    the unit has defective batteries or other failure. DO NOT use an open flame to
    test your alarm, you could damage the alarm or ignite combustible materials
    and start a structure fire.


    Hardwire Ionization - First Alert :
    (bold is in installation instructions)
    - WEEKLY TESTING
    WARNING!
    NEVER use an open flame of any kind to test this unit. You might accidentally damage

    or set fire to the unit or to your home. The built-in test switch accurately tests the
    unitís operation as required by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL).
    CAUTION!
    DO NOT stand close to the Alarm when the horn is sounding. Exposure at close range
    may be harmful to your hearing. When testing, step away when horn starts sounding.
    It is important to test this unit every week to make sure it is working properly. Using
    the test button is the recommended way to test this Smoke Alarm. Press and hold the
    test button on the cover of the unit until the alarm sounds (the unit may continue to alarm
    for a few seconds after you release the button). If it does not alarm, make sure the unit is
    receiving power and test it again. If it still does not alarm, replace it immediately. During
    testing, you will hear a loud, repeating horn pattern: 3 beeps, pause, 3 beeps, pause.
    When testing a series of interconnected units you must test each unit individually.
    Make sure all units alarm when each one is tested.

    For someone, Jim A., who had been espousing NFPA standards, to stoop to trying to create a sense of confusion by posting links to two consumer oriented sites when the above from the manufacturers is just as readily available on the internet.

    Inspectors are, should be, professionals who seek to do things the professional way, reading consumer oriented sites for guidance instead of going with manufacturers' site does not make sense.

    The manufacturers all state to use the Test button, nothing else. What is confusing about that?
    I can see a past client of yours, or a real estate agent who recommends you, stumbling across your posts on this and thinking that you look like a chicken ready to be plucked and put in the fryer ... remember who warned you about it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Tim - I did not say that smoke detectors were fire alarm systems. Rick just got confused and lost his way.

    I was just referring to the IRC

    R314.2 Smoke detection systems.
    Household fire alarm systems installed in accordance with NFPA 72 that include smoke alarms, or a combination of smoke detector and audible notification device installed as required by this section for smoke alarms, shall be permitted. The household fire alarm system shall provide the same level of smoke detection and alarm as required by this section for smoke alarms. Where a household fire warning system is installed using a combination of smoke detector and audible notification device(s), it shall become a permanent fixture of the occupancy and owned by the homeowner. The system shall be monitored by an approved supervising station and be maintained in accordance with NFPA 72.


    There's a big difference between monitored (NFPA 72) fire alarm systems and generic residential smoke detectors. One of them being the lack of test buttons on the detectors on the monitored systems, thus necessitating the use of canned smoke to test.

    Most manufactures of residential smoke detectors prohibit the use of smoke for testing and only permit testing with the "test" button.

    Kind of like testing a GFCI receptacle with one of those three light testers. Not one of those testers is actually approved by the manufacturer of the receptacle, the CPSC, UL, or anyone else for testing purposes. They only recognize testing with the built in "test" button.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
    ASHI #242887 mnradontesting.com

  59. #59
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Rowe View Post
    There's a big difference between monitored (NFPA 72) fire alarm systems and generic residential smoke detectors. One of them being the lack of test buttons on the detectors on the monitored systems, thus necessitating the use of canned smoke to test.
    On the annual fire inspections I have made with the Fire Marshall if the various places I have worked which had be go on those inspections and to inspect replacement systems, the fire alarm company had a wood pole with a magnet on it which triggered the smoke alarm into alarm mode.

    We went with several representatives of the alarm company, one who stayed at the fire alarm panel to reset the panel, one who went with us to set each alarm into alarm mode with the magnet, and one who preceded us to make sure the units were accessible.

    The point being, for those trying to compare the two as being the same, is that they are not the same and they are not tested the same ... one is a simple push of the Test button, the other is a big deal because it was scheduled with the monitoring company so they could set their monitoring to 'testing' and scheduled with the fire department so they would know that the building did not have any active operating fire alarm system for the duration of the test. Typically, the fire department would have a truck on site for the duration of the test so the fire department could monitor the building while the alarm system was not active. As I said - it's a big deal testing those alarms.

    Of course, testing a house with a monitored alarm system is still a matter of pushing the Test button, but that is not something you want to do unless you know for sure that the alarm system is not being monitored or the monitoring company knows the system is being tested - any you know the password when the alarm company calls ... or you could end up with fire trucks in the driveway (I know and can personally attest that happens) and/or there are police officers at the door with their hands on their guns (I can personally attest that happens too).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  60. #60
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    What would be better to tell the judge?
    "I tested it per the manufacturer's instructions" or "I tested it in a way not specified by the manufacturer"
    or "I didn't test it but recommended replacement" ?

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk


  61. #61
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    I'm late to this discussion. There's a lot of posts and I didn't read them all. All those many years ago, I got the bright idea of testing with canned smoke. I learned a lot. Even "antique" alarms went off. I didn't find a single alarm that failed to respond to smoke. But after I stupidly, set off an alarm that was connected to the house security system and the fire department showed up, I stopped using smoke. (After the fire captain and I had a testy confrontation, he hired me to inspect the house he was buying.)

    Today, I typically test one smoke alarm in the house with the test button. My contract explains this. If I think the house should have interconnected alarms, I hold the button until I hear multiple alarms. I don't even own a can of smoke.

    I usually test all the CO detectors because of the way Colorado law is written concerning them.

    If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

  62. #62
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    It's time to put this thing to rest.. I contacted NFPA and spoke to one of the officials.. they said "systems" are not "detectors", therefore smoke detectors "should" be tested with the button only. If you would like to call and argue with those that enforce and write the information you are welcome to do so.. BTW, I am a member so I get free contact, you may have to join.


  63. #63
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Thank you Kenny!


  64. #64
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Melocco View Post
    How many inspectors check operation of smoke & CO alarms Do you feel there is a liability in checking them Do you determine if they are hard wired or batteries operatede
    So you changed the discussion? ( That's you beating a dead horse) Shame on you!


  65. #65
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    Default Re: smoke & Co alarms

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Abram View Post
    Kenny - Read through the string . The discussion evolved to how do you test.

    Your comment was directly related to how do you test. Did you miss NFPA 72 -10.4.2.2

    Uh, nope.. here is a copy and paste from it!

    NFPA Recommends:
    • Installing smoke alarms inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
    • For the best protection, interconnecting all smoke alarms so when one sounds they all sound.
    • Using both photoelectric and ionization smoke alarms or combination ionization and photoelectric alarms, also known as dual sensor alarms. An ionization smoke alarm is generally more responsive to flaming fires and a photoelectric smoke alarm is generally more responsive to smoldering fires.
    • Replacing all smoke alarms every 10 years or sooner if they do not respond properly when tested.
    • Testing all smoke alarms at least once a month by using the test button.




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