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  1. #1
    Mike Huppi's Avatar
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    Default Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    I have not seen this before so I thought I would throw it out. There was a smoke alarm in the living room that was wired to the kitchen GFCI. The smoke alarm did have a battery back up but I can not find anything about being on a GFCI circuit. Is this OK?

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  2. #2
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    The smoke detector could be on 'a' GFCI circuit, but not 'a' kitchen GFCI circuit.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  3. #3
    Mike Huppi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    Ok thanks Jerry, I could not find anything on it.

    Mike


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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    Having a smoke detector on a GFCI or AFCI protected circuit is not an issue in of itself. BUT! GFCI circuits in the kitchen are "typically" the counter service outlets that are supposed to be dedicated for a very specific purpose that should have nothing to do with anything located in the living room.

    Seems like there has been a "bootleg" power source tapped in this instance. Not the end of the world but ‘wrong’ nonetheless.

    But then, Jerry just said that.


  5. #5
    Wen Myrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    Mike are you in Hawaii or Oregon?

    Sorry I couldn't resist.....LOL

    Jer, is there a site you found that gives ref. to allowance for the GFCI circuit for a smoke alarm?

    Here is my thought
    If someone thinks their smoke alarm is on a hard wired circuit
    chances are they won't be checking the battery back up
    because they'll be under the impression that the batterry isn't being used
    unless there is a power outage which is WRONG

    We all know that the more a GFCI is tripped the weaker it gets/ sooner it needs to be replaced....

    My Logic tells me to reccommend additional Smoke detectors that are "free of being linked to power outages

    Dont want anyone to burn
    ~Wen~


  6. #6
    Rick Hurst's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    Isn't it amazing how many smoke detectors we find that have the cover either dangling from the ceiling or removed and the battery is missing.

    People tell us all the time that they got tired of hearing the chirping noise.

    I always tell them "Is your family not worth the cost of a replacement battery?" Never get an answer most of the time either, but I know what I hear in the silence.


  7. #7
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wen Myrick View Post
    Mike are you in Hawaii or Oregon?

    Sorry I couldn't resist.....LOL

    Jer, is there a site you found that gives ref. to allowance for the GFCI circuit for a smoke alarm?

    Here is my thought
    If someone thinks their smoke alarm is on a hard wired circuit
    chances are they won't be checking the battery back up
    because they'll be under the impression that the batterry isn't being used
    unless there is a power outage which is WRONG

    We all know that the more a GFCI is tripped the weaker it gets/ sooner it needs to be replaced....

    My Logic tells me to reccommend additional Smoke detectors that are "free of being linked to power outages

    Dont want anyone to burn
    ~Wen~
    W,

    Nothing wrong with that logic ... but ... that was not the question.

    There is *nothing* (at not not of which I am aware) which 'prevents' (disallows) a smoke detector to be on a GFCI circuit - well, other than not being allowed on those kitchen countertop serving receptacle outlet GFCI circuits.

    Just because it is 'allowed' (not 'disallowed') does not mean it is a good thing to do.

    Just because it is not 'a good thing to do' does not mean 'it is not allowed'.

    Also, with a battery backup, as was stated, it is not 'as bad of a thing' as if the smoke detector did not have a battery backup.

    This was the original question: "The smoke alarm did have a battery back up but I can not find anything about being on a GFCI circuit. Is this OK?" I answered it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  8. #8
    Wen Myrick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    My Baad?

    kind of like questions on a driving test
    Easy to read past the point.........

    Gotcha
    ~Wen~


  9. #9
    wirepig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    I do realize that this thread is from 2 years ago, but I found it doing a search on smoke detector placement, and thought that it should be brought up to date.
    In the 2008 National Electric Code, there are specific power requirements for smoke detectors. Art. 760.41 (B) specifically prohibits the use of a GFCI, or AFCI protected circuit. As well as requiring a dedicated circuit.


    rik


  10. #10
    Jim Port's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    Article 760 is for Fire Alarm Systems. Fire alarm systems are not the same thing as smoke alarms in a house. A fire alrm system would be something like a Simplex system with pull stations, annunciators etc.

    Please see 760.1 FPN. Fire alarm systems include fire detection and alarm notification, guards tour, sprinkler waterflow, and sprinkler supervisory systems....


  11. #11
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    wirepig,

    Got a real name?

    We use our real names here, allows us to 'get to know' each other better.

    Just click on the "Contact Us" link on the bottom of the page and ask Brian (who owns this site) to change your username to your real name - I am sure Brian will be glad to and it is simple for Brian to do.

    Thanks,

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  12. #12
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    To add to what Jim is saying ...

    This Article 760 only addresses Fire Alarm Systems defined as being within this article.

    Let's start here:

    From the 2008 NEC. (bold, underlining and red text are mine for highlighting)
    - ARTICLE 760 Fire Alarm Systems
    - - I. General
    - - - 760.1 Scope.
    - - - - This article covers the installation of wiring and equipment of fire alarm systems including all circuits controlled and powered by the fire alarm system.
    - - - - - FPN No. 1: Fire alarm systems include fire detection and alarm notification, guard’s tour, sprinkler water flow, and sprinkler supervisory systems. Circuits controlled and powered by the fire alarm system include circuits for the control of building systems safety functions, elevator capture, elevator shutdown, door release, smoke doors and damper control, fire doors and damper control and fan shutdown, but only where these circuits are powered by and controlled by the fire alarm system. For further information on the installation and monitoring for integrity requirements for fire alarm systems, refer to the NFPA 72®-2007, National Fire Alarm Code®.
    - - - - - - FPN No. 2: Class 1, 2, and 3 circuits are defined in Article 725.
    - - - 760.2 Definitions.
    - - - - Abandoned Fire Alarm Cable. Installed fire alarm cable that is not terminated at equipment other than a connector and not identified for future use with a tag.
    - - - - Fire Alarm Circuit. The portion of the wiring system between the load side of the overcurrent device or the power-limited supply and the connected equipment of all circuits powered and controlled by the fire alarm system. Fire alarm circuits are classified as either non–power-limited or power-limited.
    - - - - Fire Alarm Circuit Integrity (CI) Cable. Cable used in fire alarm systems to ensure continued operation of critical circuits during a specified time under fire conditions.
    - - - - Non–Power-Limited Fire Alarm Circuit (NPLFA). A fire alarm circuit powered by a source that complies with 760.41 and 760.43. (Jerry's note: The circuits within the dwelling units under discussion (one- and two-family and townhouses) do not comply with 760.41 and 760.43, thus those circuits are not covered by this section.)
    - - - - Power-Limited Fire Alarm Circuit (PLFA). A fire alarm circuit powered by a source that complies with 760.121.

    - - - 760.41 NPLFA Circuit Power Source Requirements.
    - - - - (A) Power Source. The power source of non–power-limited fire alarm circuits shall comply with Chapters 1 through 4, and the output voltage shall be not more than 600 volts, nominal.
    - - - - (B) Branch Circuit. An individual branch circuit shall be required for the supply of the power source. This branch circuit shall not be supplied through ground-fault circuit interrupters or arc-fault circuit interrupters.
    - - - - - FPN: See 210.8(A)(5), Exception, for receptacles in dwelling-unit unfinished basements that supply power for fire alarm systems.
    - - - 760.43 NPLFA Circuit Overcurrent Protection.
    - - - - Overcurrent protection for conductors 14 AWG and larger shall be provided in accordance with the conductor ampacity without applying the derating factors of 310.15 to the ampacity calculation. Overcurrent protection shall not exceed 7 amperes for 18 AWG conductors and 10 amperes for 16 AWG conductors.
    - - - - Exception: Where other articles of this Code permit or require other overcurrent protection.

    Now, and however, *IF* you had a receptacle taking advantage of the following (referenced in the FPN above in bold) *AND* if there was a fire alarm system plugged into it, then, yes, I could see this working back toward where you coming from.

    - - - 210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel.
    - - - - FPN: See 215.9 for ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel on feeders.
    - - - - (A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in (1) through (8) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.
    - - - - - (5) Unfinished basements — for purposes of this section, unfinished basements are defined as portions or areas of the basement not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and the like
    - - - - - - Exception to (5): A receptacle supplying only a permanently installed fire alarm or burglar alarm system shall not be required to have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection.
    - - - - - - - FPN: See 760.41(B) and 760.121(B) for power supply requirements for fire alarm systems.

    If there is a permanently installed fire alarm system plugged into that receptacle and that exception is being used AND the circuit met the referenced 760.41(B) and 760.121(B) requirements for power supply to and for fire alarm systems, then I could see going in the direction you are going, however, that is not the case with the circuits under discussion, so the Article you reference is not applicable. I have seen some high end residences where that may be applicable now.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  13. #13
    Bill Kriegh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    If 2008 NEC rules apply, in new residential construction and new installations a fire alarm circuit can't be on a GFCI or AFCI protected circuit. However, the fire alarm cicuit has to be a metallic type wireway with metal J-boxes and device boxes. Specifically RMC, IMC, EMT, or steel armored AC type cable are required.

    In pre 2008 rules non metallic methods would be permitted with no GFCI or AFCI protection.

    Pre 2005 NEC adoption, smoke detectors can be on any general circuit. If 2005 NEC rules apply, smoke detectors must be on an AFCI if they are installed in bedrooms.

    There are numerous jurisdictions with exceptions or changes to the NEC regarding AFCI requirements. Some of these forbid smoke detectors on an AFCI circuit.


  14. #14
    Jerry Peck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke alarm on GFCI?

    Bill,

    Other than the numbers changing, that part is the same in both the 2002, 2005 and 2008 NEC. Not until you get back to the 1999 NEC does that part change.

    2008 NEC
    760.41 NPLFA Circuit Power Source Requirements.
    (A) Power Source. The power source of non–power-limited fire alarm circuits shall comply with Chapters 1 through 4, and the output voltage shall be not more than 600 volts, nominal.
    (B) Branch Circuit. An individual branch circuit shall be required for the supply of the power source. This branch circuit shall not be supplied through ground-fault circuit interrupters or arc-fault circuit interrupters.
    FPN: See 210.8(A)(5), Exception, for receptacles in dwelling-unit unfinished basements that supply power for fire alarm systems.

    2005 NEC
    760.21 NPLFA Circuit Power Source Requirements.
    The power source of non–power-limited fire alarm circuits shall comply with Chapters 1 through 4, and the output voltage shall not be more than 600 volts, nominal. These circuits shall not be supplied through ground-fault circuit interrupters or arc-fault circuit interrupters.
    FPN: See 210.8(A)(5), Exception No. 3, for receptacles in dwelling-unit unfinished basements that supply power for fire alarm systems.

    2002 NEC
    760.21 NPLFA Circuit Power Source Requirements.
    The power source of non–power-limited fire alarm circuits shall comply with Chapters 1 through 4, and the output voltage shall not be more than 600 volts, nominal. These circuits shall not be supplied through ground-fault circuit interrupters.
    FPN: See 210.8(A)(5), Exception No. 3 for receptacles in dwelling-unit unfinished basements that supply power for fire alarm systems.

    1999 NEC
    760-21. NPLFA Circuit Power Source Requirements
    The power source of nonpower-limited fire alarm circuits shall comply with Chapters 1 through 4, and the output voltage shall not be more than 600 volts, nominal. (that part is not here)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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