Tech Tip: Smoke Detector Interface

smokeAs many of our clients are aware, we have products that interface to an existing homes smoke detectors that were previously installed by the electricians. To my knowledge, we are the only company in town that has the technical know-how to do it. The big advantage is this:

For the same price as 1 smoke detector, we can connect ALL of the smoke alarms in the home. It also means that we won’t have 2 smoke detectors side-by-side (ours and theirs).

Unfortunately, there are several drawbacks to this solution:

1)       This only works on newer houses (newer than 1999) where all smokes are interconnected

2)       We are dependant on the integrity of a system that we cannot supervise

3)       If the electrician smoke detector messes up, we get the call about our system failure

4)       Because the relay version is connected to the electrical circuit in the house, this has been a source of lightening hitting the panel.

5)       If programmed as a standard fire alarm zone with instant response, a power surge could cause a false alarm.

6)       If using a relay, it must match the brand of smoke alarms in the house.

7)       This is one of the more difficult devices to install.

 

So why do we install them at all? Of course if we had our druthers, we would prefer that every customer pay an additional $1500 (ballpark) for a new smoke system per code, but in reality one that we can add at no additional charge for our clients gives a pretty good outcome.

These tech tips are intended to provide insights to small nuances to help with many different products we offer. It is the small attention to detail that separates an outstanding job from an OK one. Although these apply primarily to technicians, they will help others gain insight to what the technicians do – in small doses.