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My builder hard wired the ceilings for smoke detectors, but…

Hi. My builder hard...

Hi. My builder hard wired the ceilings for smoke detectors, but there is only one white wire and one red wire. What does this mean?I'm trying to install a nest smoke/carbon monoxide detector and it looks like I should have a black wire too.

Contractor's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. How long have you been dealing with this?

My house is brand new and I think he may have wired incorrectly. To hard wire the alarm I need a black and a white wire, and there is only a white and red

Contractor's Assistant: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?

No

Contractor's Assistant: Anything else we should know to help you best?

I'm trying to figure out if this is wired for 120 volts

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Answered in 2 minutes by:
1/15/2018
Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 8,035
Experience: Proven Professional 49 years Experience
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Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be assisting you. Please stand by while I review your question.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you

You are correct. To be able to use interconnected detectors a black wire is required. The only option you have at this point is to install a First Alert battery interconnected detectors. I have used them and find that there are benefits. They talk to you not beep or alarm only. They tell all units where the alarm origination is and tell you when to change batteries. They are as effective as hardwired.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
the wiring he did is basically useless then?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Is it possible to add the black wire?
Is there any reason why he would not have run a black wire?

The detectors will work but won't interconnect. If the wiring method is conduit and wire, you should be able to add a wire. The only reason is he didn't pay attention to detail or had an apprentice wire the outlets.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The builder is an electrician so I cannot understand why he would have wasted his time hard wiring the detector if it cannot be connected to a smoke or co2 detector.
I'm confused as to whether he messed up or if there is some reason he would only run a red and a white wire and not a black one while he was at it.

That's a question to ask him.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
he hard wired for the new detectors, in every room in my new house.
what could be the point of him only running red and white and no black?

They will be hard wired but without the black wire they won't interconnect. If there is an alarm it would only sound in the room with the smoke or CO.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I did ask him and he said that there’s only supposed to be red & white. I’m not sure if he is lying, or just doesn’t know what he’s doing...
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
That’s what I’m really trying to figure out

The black, red and white are required. Why he says it only needs a red and white is a cop out

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
That’s what I thought. So should I have him add the black wires? Seems useless as is & since you’re saying black, red and white are required, should I expect him to add the black wire when I call him out?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Is it hard to add the black wire? There are like 12 of these in the ceilings all over my house. If they don’t interconnect, I won’t hear the alarm go off in the basement if there’s a fire down there & im on the 2nd floor in my bedroom, correct?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I just spent almost a thousand dollars on the Nest protect hard wired smoke/co2 detectors so I’m really annoyed that I cannot use them since they need the black wire.
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I live in Connecticut- do you think what he did is even up to code, with just white & Red and no black?

In conduit it can be done. If not, it's a problem and would mean opening walls and ceiling. You would be better off with the ones I suggested. Did he have the work inspected? An inspector would tell you the same thing I did.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
I’m not sure if it’s been inspected yet or not.
How do I know if conduit was used or not?

Send pictures of the inside of several boxes for my review.

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Non metallic boxes, not in conduit.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
there’s no way to add the black wire without ripping through every ceiling?
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Have you seen this type of wiring for the purpose of a smoke or co2 detector?
Is this an old way of wiring for this purpose?

He screwed up. Get the First Alert battery detectors. Not wired for interconnect. Wired for power only.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Since he doesn’t know how to wire smoke detectors,?o you believe I should be concerned about the wiring he did for Cameras, speakers & tv’s? All these are wired in the celings & walls with volume control wires on each rooms walls
Customer reply replied 1 month ago
He charged me $5,000 for these wires

The picture in the basement shows that the wires were not in a conduit and that is a violation. You need to have it permitted and inspected.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Oh my God. It needs a special permit now by a town inspector?

Anything electrical needs a permit and inspection. At $5,000 I wouldn't expect less.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Do those look the way they should? Thanks for your help. I’m questioning everything he did now :(

The alarm and camera cables look acceptable. My concern is with electrical wiring.

For my information, why were you installing detectors and not your contractor? thanks so

Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 8,035
Experience: Proven Professional 49 years Experience
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