Attics And Smoke Detectors

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Floppyman, Apr 17, 2017.

  1. Floppyman

    Floppyman Administrator Staff Member

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    Hi all,

    What would be a good option for fire/smoke detection in an unfinished attic? Regular smoke detectors may not work because of the temperature extremes that can be experienced in attics. Are there smoke detectors that work in a wider temperature range? One other thing that I've read about is people installing heat detectors in the attic (perhaps especially ones that have temperature rate of rise alarm capability). What does everyone else think? What would be some good option for smoke/fire detection in an attic?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. reggie14

    reggie14

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    It seems like a good idea- I wonder why it isn't more common. You'd obviously need something that would withstand high temperatures. Something like this says it you can set it to trip at 194F.

    You presumably don't have wires going up to the attic. Would you try to install it yourself, or would you get an electrician? While this seems to be uncommon, it's probably no unheard of. Assuming you're going to get an electrician anyway, I'd try to find someone that has experience with them.
     
  3. Bob338

    Bob338

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    I had one in the previous house which I built in 2000, but I don't recall brand or anything. It was hooked into the burglar alarm/fire system and powered by that system. The burglar alarm installers, or electricians, may have some current ones that are good. Never had an alarm from it but did from the detectors in my kitchen, which were set off by the tiniest smoke in the kitchen, as from burnt toast or smoking grease.
     
  4. bob

    bob

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    I had a fire and some of the smoke detectors covers melted. They still work and I have one in my garage.
    FYI Fog will set some off.
     
  5. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    best use a heat sensor in attic/crawl spaces, even with a 200* smoke detector, the excessive dust build-up can prevent it from operating correctly, also you & your neighbors bbq/firepit can set them off (smoke through the vents, soffit/gable end)...
     
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  6. EzyStvy

    EzyStvy Computing Professor Staff Member

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    I think that odds are that most fires won't start up there and that by the time the smoke gets that high you should in theory already be out of the house.
     
  7. David M

    David M Techphile.

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    I'm sure in the smoke detectors specs it says the temperature or rate of temperature change that they sound.
     
  8. sdkfz

    sdkfz

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    There are two types of smoke detector tech- ionization and photo electric.

    Ionization uses small amount of americium-241 within an ionization chamber. They create an electric current between two metal plates, which sound an alarm when disrupted by smoke entering the chamber. Ionization smoke alarms can quickly detect the small amounts of smoke produced by fast flaming fires, such as cooking fires or fires fueled by paper or flammable liquids. These should NOT be used in a kitchen or near a bathroom as they nuisance trip for burning toast and shower steam.

    Photoelectric smoke detectors contain a light source in a light-sensitive electric sensor, which are positioned at 90-degree angles to one another. Normally, light from the light source shoots straight across and misses the sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, it scatters the light, which then hits the sensor and triggers the alarm. Photoelectric smoke detectors typically respond faster to a fire in its early, smoldering stage – before the source of the fire bursts into flames. These detectors are more sensitive to the large combustion particles that emanate during slow, smoldering fires, which usually occur at night when people are asleep.

    Before you decide to use a temp sensor in the attic I would get a very good idea as to what the normal high is up there so you can make sure to get one that will not trip just for a hot day. You cannot rely on what others use as a your dark shingle on a hot sunny day would be much hotter than your neighbor with a light gray shingle.

    If heat up there is an issue I would go for solving the heat issue instead of simply reporting on it. Solve by installing ridge and soffit vents.
     
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  9. SARGE

    SARGE The Preacher Man

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    You could have the detector in the attic but where will your siren or audible be so you can hear it if something should happen?? The attic is a long way off and sheet rock ceilings hide noises.
     
  10. David M

    David M Techphile.

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    I would hardwire any in the attic so that when they sound, at least one sounds in you living areas. Most new homes have hardwired smoke and CO detectors hardwired so that if one sounds they all sound.