Residential smoke detector requirements in NJ

jjhoward

Senior Member
Location
Northern NJ
Working with a homeowner selling their house that was built in the 1940s. 3 bedrooms; 2 on 1st floor, 1 on the 2nd floor, an oil fired boiler in the basement.
There are presently 2 interconnected AC powered detectors on the 1st floor; outside of the 2 bedrooms.
Local fire inspector says we must wire the 2nd floor bedroom with an interconnected smoke detector, but he cannot provide a code reference. He explains that if there is any AC powered detectors in a house, you must maintain that type of detector throughout. He reference the "International Fire Code " (maybe he meant National?)
NJ edition.
Is there a code reference that explains this?
I see DCA states that as of Jan 1 2019, any house built prior to 1977 can have wireless, 10 yr sealed battery detectors. Inspector claims the presence of any AC powered detectors requires all detectors to be wired regardless of the age of the house. A code reference would be great.
Thank you.
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
Requirements are in the building code not NEC. NEC simply says proper wiring methods.
I think his comment relates to the ability for every detector to be activated by a single detector sensing an issue. An option if wiring is an issue they make a wireless that will interconnect to the other wired devices wirelessly via a wifi signal. One of the wired units would need to be changed to become a master that creates the wifi signal for the companion wireless detectors.
 

jjhoward

Senior Member
Location
Northern NJ
Requirements are in the building code not NEC. NEC simply says proper wiring methods.
I think his comment relates to the ability for every detector to be activated by a single detector sensing an issue. An option if wiring is an issue they make a wireless that will interconnect to the other wired devices wirelessly via a wifi signal. One of the wired units would need to be changed to become a master that creates the wifi signal for the companion wireless detectors.
Hi Fred; Yes I agree with you 100%. However, the fire inspector claims your solution is not acceptable. That it MUST be hardwired since there are hardwired detectors presently there. I am looking for any code reference that would support his requirement.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
Was the second floor bedroom an addition, or conversion of another space? In NJ, if it doesn't have a closet, it isn't a bedroom, even if there are beds in it. However, I recall some verbiage regarding "sleeping areas" which might cover that gap.

In any event, if the second floor bedroom is a later add, a stand-alone combo detector would be fine. Make the inspector find the rule if he's going to be that way.
 

SceneryDriver

Senior Member
Location
NJ
Occupation
Electrical and Automation Designer
Remove the AC powered detectors, and install (3) wirelessly connected battery-operated detectors. Dumb solution, but easy enough.


SceneryDriver
 

Electromatic

Senior Member
Location
Virginia
Occupation
Master Electrician
Section 314 of the IRC (International Residential Code) addresses smoke alarms. There are requirements for interconnection and for hard-wiring, but there are also exceptions that allow for battery devices and non-physical interconnection. I cannot speak to NJ requirements specifically.
 

FionaZuppa

Senior Member
Location
AZ
In US, from what I see, most AHJ's combine IRC R314 and R315 with NFPA 72, along with any AHJ amendments.

The IRC appears to allow a mix of wired and non-wired alarms for non-new homes (dated).

There are many types of detectors and ways to install them, not fully clear to me which ones can be mingled.
Hardwire w/ hard interconnect, can be installed w/ or w/o interconnect
Hardwire w/o interconnect
Batt w/ wireless interconnect
Batt w/o interconnect

Having mixed units is an issue for interconnect.
 

jjhoward

Senior Member
Location
Northern NJ
There are wireless units intended to "extend" the hard wired interconnected alarms to wireless. The problem in NJ (from my perspective) is that there is also the NJ rehab code AND the IRC and the NFPA. I think I will contact the NJ state provided "code assistance" folks to possibly get a code reference regarding what is required to pass the fire inspection.
Thank you.
 

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
Smoke alarm requirements are largely dependent on when the house was built. This is a re-print of a NJ CCC article summer of 2019. I've added page 3 to the article. Hope this helps.
 

Attachments

  • Wireless_Smoke_Detection_Systems_CCC_Spring_2019.pdf
    1.4 MB · Views: 3

goldstar

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
In NJ, if it doesn't have a closet, it isn't a bedroom, even if there are beds in it. However, I recall some verbiage regarding "sleeping areas" which might cover that gap.
I used to believe that was accurate. Most of this thinking is driven by realtors. Attached are some opinions. I recall running into this in my town and the BI told me that if it was a certain size (I think it was 14' x 14') it would be considered a bedroom irrespective of whether it had a bedroom or not. Don't quote me on that.
 

Attachments

  • What_Makes_a_Bedroom_a_Bedroom.pdf
    109.4 KB · Views: 1
  • Does_a_Room_Need_a_Closet_to_Be_a_Bedroom.pdf
    88.7 KB · Views: 1

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
I believe the reasoning for inclusion of a interconnected smoke and CO detection within a bedroom not just outside of bedroom in common hallway is the ability to waken a child, the tonal output of a smoke while very aggravating to an adult has been noted to not disturbed and waken the child particularly when muffled through a closed door.
I believe that inclusion of an upgrade that incorporates some form of alarm within the sleeping area as well as in the hall can be warranted, but also believe interconnect via a wireless option should be allowed. But if during a renovation you simply neglected to add a wire it does not constitute an allowance to just use a wireless device (not as reliable, many reasons for failure to communicate). Not any different than using an inwall splice device that is allowed for adding on but not as a substitute for properly planning wiring.
 

jjhoward

Senior Member
Location
Northern NJ
Good points, I didn't know there was an in-wall splice device that is allowed?? I've seen many in-wall & in-ceiling splices definitely NOT allowed.
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
I believe the reasoning for inclusion of a interconnected smoke and CO detection within a bedroom not just outside of bedroom in common hallway is the ability to waken a child, the tonal output of a smoke while very aggravating to an adult has been noted to not disturbed and waken the child particularly when muffled through a closed door.
I believe that inclusion of an upgrade that incorporates some form of alarm within the sleeping area as well as in the hall can be warranted, but also believe interconnect via a wireless option should be allowed. But if during a renovation you simply neglected to add a wire it does not constitute an allowance to just use a wireless device (not as reliable, many reasons for failure to communicate). Not any different than using an inwall splice device that is allowed for adding on but not as a substitute for properly planning wiring.
One of the wired devices can be replaced with a wireless compatible unit and that will trigger the new wireless unit. You can get wireless combo smoke/CO units that has a prerecorded voice that says "Fire!, Fire" or "Carbon Monoxide". I have these units in my house.

 

jjhoward

Senior Member
Location
Northern NJ
One of the wired devices can be replaced with a wireless compatible unit and that will trigger the new wireless unit. You can get wireless combo smoke/CO units that has a prerecorded voice that says "Fire!, Fire" or "Carbon Monoxide". I have these units in my house.

Yup, I like this things...I need to convince our fire inspector that they are code complaint for this house!! He claims since there are wired AC powered detectors present in the house (built in the 40s) than ALL additional detectors MUST also be wired. I have asked him a number of times for a code reference, but got nothing so far......
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
Yup, I like this things...I need to convince our fire inspector that they are code complaint for this house!! He claims since there are wired AC powered detectors present in the house (built in the 40s) than ALL additional detectors MUST also be wired. I have asked him a number of times for a code reference, but got nothing so far......
Only times I've had AHJ insist on such is when a renovation that opened ceiling or new wiring that is being done in ceiling space so access is being already made. Otherwise allowed wireless.
 

Fred B

Senior Member
Location
Upstate, NY
Occupation
Electrician
I've seen those things used extensively in modular homes.
I believe that is where they got their start. They are now using boxless receptacle and switches in manufactured homes. Found one of those in a double wide the HO wanted to change the fan switch to put a speed controller switch and there was no box present, insufficient wire in wall to pull out and put on s standard box. Didn't know about the NM splice at that time.
 
Top