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#71031 - 10/20/06 09:16 AM Smokes chirping, bulbs blowing
leespark Offline
Registered: 01/17/04
Posts: 54
Loc: Massachusetts
We recently completed a residential family room addition in which we installed hardwired interconnected smoke detectors throughout the house.

The homeowner began complaining about false alarms with the new smoke detectors, sometimes ringing in alarm and sometimes chirping. We began trying to isolate the problem detctor and eventually gave up and replaced all of the smoke detectors with new units. After svereal days I began receiving complaints of the detectors chirping so I replaced all of the 9 volt batteries as well. The Firex tech service guy was unable to give me a logical explanation.

Now the complaint is light bulbs are blowing out quite often, the chirping continues and needless to say the homeowner is convinced it is a wiring problem.

These problems are occurring on different circuits in old and new parts of the house. My thought is there may be some surges coming from the street causing this and I am now considering installing a surge suppresor in the main panel.

The power company came out and said there was no problem on the outside. How can he tell if this is true?

Also, the service is a newer 200 amp service. I have checked all of the connections in the panels, meter socket etc. and eveything seems fine.

Please help!
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#71032 - 10/20/06 09:21 AM Re: Smokes chirping, bulbs blowing
sawdust454 Offline
Registered: 03/20/05
Posts: 20
Loc: Waynesboro, Va USA
Loose neutral on the poco side? maybe, is this and overhead service?
#71033 - 10/20/06 11:58 AM Re: Smokes chirping, bulbs blowing
Jps1006 Offline
Registered: 01/22/04
Posts: 615
Loc: Northern IL
Do you have a decent min/max tester that you could leave hooked up for a couple of days?

I would consider it possible that the bulb problem is a perceived problem. I have had customers insist there are wiring problems because the bulbs they bought were blowing prematurely, and nothing was wrong, either bad batch or they were stored in a place subject to vibration. Recommend long life or 130 volt bulbs. IT is possible it is a different problem form the smokes.

I have had problems with firex in the past, but the recent ones seem to not do this as much. Look for water condensation in the box. I have had water drop down from conduits and drip on the back of the unit and cause this problem. If it isn't conduit, maybe an opening in the box.
#71034 - 10/20/06 04:20 PM Re: Smokes chirping, bulbs blowing
ShockMe77 Offline
Registered: 06/11/05
Posts: 821
Loc: Rahway, New Jersey
Firex is a thing of the past around here. I don't know a single contractor that still uses them. I believe they had a HUGE recall on thier smoke detectors not too long ago too. We use BRK's now and they work nice with very little annoyances and call-backs.

As far as the reason why bulbs and smokes are both going out, I would do a voltage test at the mains first, than try changing the leg the circuit is on. Are the smokes and bulbs on same ckt?
#71035 - 10/20/06 04:54 PM Re: Smokes chirping, bulbs blowing
Check Pilot Offline
Registered: 11/25/05
Posts: 141
Loc: Edmonton Alberta Canada
I've done the "blown bulb boogie" about 3 times in the last year and after a reno was completed. I noticed on the third one that the carpenters were pounding the crap out of new studs, the plumbers were hammering on walls and the tin herders would bend ducting pipes into place.

All the vibration shook the begeepers out of the nearby light bulbs. They started blowing in a sort of concentric circle from the center of all the reno work and of course the HO would blame us for some sort of electrical problem. I went and bought a case of good 130 volt heavy duty bulbs and now just change the ones within about 30 feet of the reno work. the result---- no more complaints.

As to the smokies chirping - that's a new one on me since I haven't seen Firex here for a long time now.
#71036 - 10/20/06 05:49 PM Re: Smokes chirping, bulbs blowing
JoeTestingEngr Offline
Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 781
Loc: Chicago, Il.
That sounds like the classic floating neutral to me.
#71037 - 10/20/06 07:20 PM Re: Smokes chirping, bulbs blowing
Trick440 Offline
Registered: 08/15/05
Posts: 247
Loc: Waterford, MI, USA
We had a lady who swore her smokes where chirping throughout the night. We replaced smokes, batteries, re wired, asked about alarms systems... this was over a 1 month period, multiple trips to this ladys home.

Come to find out she had a carbonmonoxide detector pluged in under a desk that needed its batteries changed.
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#71038 - 10/23/06 09:31 PM Re: Smokes chirping, bulbs blowing
wis-sparky Offline
Registered: 07/14/05
Posts: 16
Loc: Wisconsin
I'd check for bugs blocking the airflow around the smokes. I had a duplex last spring that had smokes going off at odd times - both sides - separate services - The general wanted to save money when building and poured the basement floors over the straw in the winter - What happened was that millions of fungus gnats came up through the floor - thousands of them camped out in the basement smoke housing - Was a pain until I finally figured out the problem - they were Firex and then I put in Kidde - although I don't think it was Firex's fault - as far as the bulbs blowing (just in the basement keyless?) - could be too much vibration - I'd loosen the #8's a little and don't screw the bulb in real tight - I've seen cheap bulbs do that too- they get a lot brighter and then blow soon thereafter - just my 2 cents
#71039 - 10/24/06 04:34 AM Re: Smokes chirping, bulbs blowing
Happi_Man Offline
Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 206
Loc: Columbus, Ohio - USA
We have to return/replace at least one Firex Smoke or Smoke/CO2 every other house.

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