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-   -   How can I replace an old electric smoke detector ? (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f9/how-can-i-replace-old-electric-smoke-detector-7662/)

Sunny H 10-01-2009 05:20 PM

How can I replace an old electric smoke detector ?
 
I want to learn how to replace my old and probably non working electric smoke detectors. I can't afford the $150 the last electrician charged for changing over one I supplied. Somehow, that seems like an awful lot for less than 15 minutes work. I know he's skilled, etc. but cheesh ... I can't afford that sort of bill.

I tried searching this site first for information, but couldn't find any. Sorry if I missed any threads about it, but "replace/ing smoke detector" only turned up suggestions to change the batteries twice a year.

Clearly I have to flip the breaker off, but how do I locate which one a ceiling detector is on? Would it definitely be on the same circuit as the high hat near it? How can I be sure?

Should I cut the whole house off to be certain? And, what problems might that cause? With the heating system and alarm system, etc. Thanks.

JoeD 10-01-2009 05:37 PM

Smoke detectors have 4 connections.
power - black wire
neutral - white wire
Ground - bare or green wire
interconnect wire - usually red wire - this is wire that sets off all the smokes if one them goes off. If you only have one smke then his wire is not used.

speedy petey 10-01-2009 08:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sunny H (Post 35202)
Somehow, that seems like an awful lot for less than 15 minutes work. I know he's skilled, etc. but cheesh ... I can't afford that sort of bill.

I want to touch on this.

Yours is a common misconception.
There is way more to it than the 15 minutes he was actually working. The overhead to run a legitimate contracting business is incredible. The vehicle alone that he drove up in is probably a $35,000+ work truck with probably that much inside of tools, material, ladders, safety equipment, etc.
Then there is insurance, which you being on LI I don't think I have to explain to you. Also fuel, licensing, lost time, traffic, and on and on.

So you see, a real contractor has to charge a certain amount for a service call just to pull up in your driveway.

I find it funny that folks never complain about the $80-$100 an hour that auto dealers charge for service, yet for a skilled tradesman to make a house call with probably $75,000 worth of equipment folks gripe. :rolleyes:

dodge2000 10-04-2009 05:09 PM

Don't shoot yourself in the foot
 
I know I am a new member to this forum.

Joe D, I hope your feelings where not hurt by speedy petey.
But he was right to correct your error in judgement, in my opinion.

And I do hope you got your smoke detector installed and working.

Now a word of caution to all thread starters. One should never
complain about any trade that does in home repairs.

I believe this forum is about asking questions that are D.I.Y. in
nature. So don't start it going off about this or that guy, be
direct and to the point when asking for help with your D.I.Y. project.

travelover 10-04-2009 06:05 PM

You can change out a smoke detector yourself. Instructions will be in the box and probably also on the website of the manufacturer as a PDF file.

If you don't know which breaker to shut off, shut off the main breaker, swap out the detector and then switch it back on.

JoeD 10-05-2009 09:10 AM

I don't think Speedy's remarks were direct towards myself. I agree with what he said.
My comments were just a bit of direction to the OP as to what he will encounter when trying the change the detector himself.

dodge2000 10-07-2009 07:55 AM

My mistake, for which I offer you my apology.

ohmy 03-09-2010 02:55 PM

Be sure to turn the power back on BEFORE connecting the battery.

Wuzzat? 03-10-2010 03:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by speedy petey (Post 35208)
I find it funny that folks never complain about the $80-$100 an hour that auto dealers charge for service, yet for a skilled tradesman to make a house call with probably $75,000 worth of equipment folks gripe. :rolleyes:

IMO, calling the electrician is a necessary evil and you're buying safety. Keeping your wheels in shape is probably a vanity item, and vanity is very important today.

branover 06-07-2010 03:12 PM

I agree with Wuzzat. You're buying piece of mind and safety. Cutting costs or trying to save a few bucks is not worth the danger of electrical work done wrong and/or unsafe. Its really a small price to pay to have it done right and by code.

I also agree with Speedy. Aside from all the unseen costs he listed there is also travel time and gas. Also, lets not forget the risk involved. Electrical installers are in the top 10 most dangerous jobs list year after year. Something to ponder.

Los Angeles Electrician
Branover Contractors, Inc


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