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Installing hardwired smoke detectors are as easy as twisting a wire. Follow these step by step instructions on how to do it yourself.

Step 1:

Purchase compatible smoke detectors.  It’s best to stick with the same brand.  It’s imperative that they use the same wiring.  Incompatible smoke detectors will not work with each other.  If there is a fire, one smoke alarm will go off  but will not trigger the other detectors, leaving some tenants unaware of the potential danger.  Incompatible smoke detectors will show a red glowing light.  They may also sound randomly and trigger the other alarms to do the same.  You may be able to silence it temporarily but they will continue like this until the incompatible detector is removed or replaced with one that’s compatible.

Step 2:

Pick a time of day to work when you know you get great light in the stairwell windows if there are any.  Bring a flash light if you need it.

Step 3:

Make sure your tenants are aware of the work being done.  Let them know they don’t need to be alarmed if detectors start going off during a certain period of the day.  You’ll need to test the alarms to make sure they’re working.  Since this is your first time you might want to do so more than once as you go.

Step 4:

Turn off the power to smoke detectors.  This will likely turn off the power in the stairwell as well.  The stairwell window light or flashlight will come in handy.

Step 5:

Remove smoke detectors and smoke detector mount from stairwell wall.  You may want to dispose of the old smoke detector, but if you should consider saving the newer ones that simple aren’t compatible with the detectors you are installing.  If you manage more than one property, you might be able to use them elsewhere. Hold on to all screws use to mount the detector.

Step 6:

Remove old smoke detector wiring. There will be 3 wires red, yellow and white connected to the other wires in the wall with caps on them not always indicating the color of the connecting wires.  Remove the caps and then unwind the wires until all 3 smoke detector wires are free. Replace this wire with the new smoke detector wires.  The white and black wire power the detector.  The red wire connects that smoke detector to others on the property.  If there are no other hardwired smoke detectors present connecting it may not be necessary. The red wire often comes with a covering for this reason.  Be sure to put caps back onto all the wiring.

Step 7:

Add new detector mount to the wall.  You should able to use the same screws from the older detector.  Mount the smoke detector, turn the power back on and your mission is complete. Well, depending on how many you have to install.

Step 8:

Take a look at the detectors and make sure they’re all glowing green after you’ve completed your work. If you want to check your work before installing all the new smokes, try detaching the older smokes and then turning back on the power.  If the newer smokes are glowing green and not sounding you know you did the job right. If they are glowing green, but still sounds there may be an older detector you’ve have not removed, possible in the basement or somewhere else you forgot to look.

This is easy work that just takes a little time and patience. Feel free to call me anytime with questions.  617-818-0408. I’m always happy to help where I can.  I’m your Boston Rental Property Specialist!