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#42758 - 09/25/04 12:17 PM Outlet on smoke detector circuit
tim87529 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/14/04
Posts: 9
Is it legal to put an electric outlet on a circuit that feeds smoke detectors (which have batteries for power outages)? I was asked to do so for a neighbour who removed one of the detectors since there was another around the corner, about 3' away, and he needed an extra outlet.

Any thoughts?

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#42759 - 09/25/04 12:49 PM Re: Outlet on smoke detector circuit
NJ Wireman Offline

Registered: 08/26/04
Posts: 179
Loc: New Jersey (South Jersey)
I would not do it, i know they would fail it here in jersey. Smokes get a deadicated circuit and must be marked in the panel. Im sure there has gotta be something else close by to hit up. A switch , another outlet on the other side of the wall? what exactly is your situation as far as lay out?

#42760 - 09/25/04 01:38 PM Re: Outlet on smoke detector circuit
cpal Offline

Registered: 05/17/04
Posts: 165
Loc: Cohasset MA
The NEC appears silent regarding the diversity of equipment that can be connected to the same branch circuit as smoke detectors. I do not believe this would be a violation. I would be concerned with the removal of an existing detection device, are you sure it is not required for area coverage??

Building Codes may contain requirements for circuits that supply 120V Smokes such as you described. But that is ususally another code compliance issue!!

The most controversial issue regarding hard wired smokes concerns the AFCI over-current protection in the bedroom circuits.

#42761 - 09/25/04 01:42 PM Re: Outlet on smoke detector circuit
Sandro Offline

Registered: 12/30/01
Posts: 449
Loc: Stoney Creek, ON, Canada Canada we are REQUIRED to put the smokes on a lighting/receptacle circuit.

#42762 - 09/25/04 04:59 PM Re: Outlet on smoke detector circuit
Active 1 Offline

Registered: 02/22/03
Posts: 684
Loc: Grayslake IL, USA
A few places asked for a dedicated pipe and circuit for smoke detectors. I know another place the is the other way. They figure if you hook the smokes to the lighting you will notice if the circuit is out sooner.

We did it dedicated pipe and circuit for new construction and dedicated circuit for a lot of remodels.

If the smokes are required to be on an ark fault breaker I think you will find most EC putting them on the bedroom circuit.


#42763 - 09/25/04 06:07 PM Re: Outlet on smoke detector circuit
ga.sparky56 Offline

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 582
Loc: young harris georgia usa
We've been putting smokes on with the bedroom ckt for a couple years now. Never had a problem or failed an inspection.


#42764 - 09/26/04 10:58 AM Re: Outlet on smoke detector circuit
tim87529 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/14/04
Posts: 9
The reason for this is actually due to incompetence of the builders. When the house was built they covered up the outlet with sheetrock and as a result there is none in the location it's needed.

The HO's don't want to pay $$$ for an electrician to try and locate the box, cut a hole in the sheetrock and install an outlet in it.

The circuit the smoke detectors are on is a dedicated circuit. Since the proposed outlet will only power a TV and VCR, I thought it might not be too much of a load.

I live in an 'unincorporated' part of Texas - part of a county but not a city. Would there be any exepmtions from electrical inspections as a result?



#42765 - 09/26/04 11:07 AM Re: Outlet on smoke detector circuit
capt al Offline

Registered: 06/20/04
Posts: 203
Loc: Norton, Ma USA
The HO's don't want to pay $$$ to locate an existing box in the wall, but are willing to pay $$$ for a new outlet tapped off the smoke detector circuit? Wouldn't it be safer to find this covered up box that may have live conductors in it, probably not capped off.

#42766 - 09/26/04 02:45 PM Re: Outlet on smoke detector circuit
LK Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1721
Loc: New Jersey
Are these smokes all interconnected?

#42767 - 09/27/04 09:08 AM Re: Outlet on smoke detector circuit
royta Offline

Registered: 09/03/04
Posts: 136
Loc: CA
At best it should take a couple hours to find the box, cut the hole, and install the outlet and plate. Take a long straight edge, or level, and place it on the wall at outlet height. The sheetrock will bow out where it is covering the box. At least that's the case if the box is sticking out from the stud a 1/2 inch. It's surprising the EC didn't find the box while trimming out.

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