can you unplug a hard wired smoke detector

Wondering can you unplug a hard wired smoke detector? Search no further!

The hard-wired smoke detectors do not have a cable to simply unplug from a power outlet, instead, they are connected to the building’s electrical installation.

However, the device can be disconnected from the power but users should be extremely cautious!

The hard-wired smoke detector wiring is live and carries 120V so to unplug the pin connector, users should flip the circuit breaker beforehand. When the pin connector is unplugged the detector will be disconnected from the power line.

About Hard-Wired Smoke Detectors

about hard wired smoke detectors

Unlike the wireless, battery-operated smoke detectors, the wired units are connected to the electrical installation of the building.

They also have a battery that serves as a backup whenever the power is out so the detector can continue a normal operation.

A wired smoke detector with a bad backup battery won’t beep while connected to the power. 

Even when the battery is in good condition, disconnecting a wired smoke detector will trigger the alarm mode of the device you’ll need to turn OFF manually.

Let’s next learn whether it’s possible to entirely disconnect a wired smoke detector:

Can I Disconnect A Hardwired Smoke Detector?

The wired smoke detectors are not connected to a power outlet, instead, they are hooked up to the electrical (AV line) via a pin connector.

The wiring then goes to the electrical box which is connected to the main electrical installation.

The hard-wired smoke detector can be disconnected from the AV line.

Sadly, there is no other way to turn OFF the alarm detector, besides silencing the device.

Do Wired Smoke Detectors Go OFF When Unplugged?

do smoke dtectors off when unplugged

Yes, the wired smoke detector will enter the Alarm Mode when the device is unplugged from the AC line by disconnecting the pin connector on the back.

That will happen only when the power is not interrupted prior to disconnecting the detector.

To stop the alarm, hold the Silence button for at least 15 seconds.

In contrast, when you remove the battery from the detector the alarm will not go off and you’ll be able to insert a fresh unit without extra steps.

In case the device starts beeping after it has been unplugged, you’ll need to replace the battery.

Note: The alarm won’t go OFF when the power is disconnected before the alarm.

How To Disconnect A Hard-Wired Smoke Detector?

disconnect smoke detectors

The hard-wired smoke detector is connected to the AV line via a pin-connector and it’s one connection that you need to unplug.

However, there are some precautions that you should undertake so the recommendation is to unconditionally follow the steps below.

Here’s how to disconnect a wired smoke detector.

1.   Turn Off The Power

To disconnect a smoke detector you should definitely turn off the power for the device’s room by flipping the circuit breaker.

If you don’t know where the breaker is you should ask somebody to do it for you, because it would be extremely dangerous to proceed.

The hard-wired smoke detectors have a backup battery and the green LED will still be on

2.   Dismount The Detector

To disconnect the detector you should first dismount the detector from the wall stand by twisting the top counterclockwise.

This should not require much force and the smoke alarm should detach from the stand.

3.   Disconnect The Pin Connector

disconnect pin connector

On the back of the detector, you will see the wires combining into one pin connector which is connected to the device.

When you’re confident that the power is out, you can unplug the pin connector from the detector to entirely disconnect the device.

Alert: Do not pull the wires from the wall since disconnecting them from the box could lead to a short circuit.

4.   Remove The Battery

The purpose of the backup battery in a wired smoke detector is to provide the current necessary for the device to function when the power is out.

This is why you should also take the battery out by pushing the flip and opening the battery compartment.

5.   Check The LED

To verify that the smoke detection device is OFF and disconnected, you should take a look at the green LED.

When the detector is not working the green LED should be off.

Tip: To install the detector back you’ll need to plug the pin detector into the port.

How To Replace A Hard-Wired Smoke Detector?

how to replace smoke detector

When your wired smoke detector is dying you’ll need to replace the device and there is an easy way to perform the operation safely.

The only important step to undertake is to turn OFF the power by flipping the circuit breaker so you can work confidently.

  1. Give your smoke detection device a twist to loosen the top part.
  2. Disconnect the wiring harness by unplugging the pin detector.
  3. Unscrew the mounting bracket from the wall/ceiling.
  4. Remove the mounting bracket.
  5. Install the new mounting bracket.
  6. Mount your new smoke detector by connecting the pin connector.

It’s important to perform a test by holding the TEST button for a few seconds and making sure that the detector is working before considering the job done.

Note: The alarm should be loud and piercing, otherwise the batteries are low.

Do You Need To Unplug When A Detector Is Beeping?

need to unplug

When your smoke alarm detector is constantly chirping or the alarm has been activated you should hold the Mute/Silence button for 10-15 seconds until the alarm stops.

The reason for the constant chirping could be a low backup battery which has to be replaced.

You don’t need to unplug the detector from the AC to replace the battery!

The backup battery is located on the side and you can take the unit out of the detector by pushing a switch/handle upwards for the compartment to come out.

Tip: When replacing the battery you don’t need to remove the device from the mounting bracket.

Why Is Smoke Detector Not Turning OFF?

why smoke detector not turning off

Once the battery is removed from the compartment on your smoke detection device but the green light is still ON, that could mean only one thing.

You’ve got a wired smoke detector, which is connected directly to the power.

In contrast, the wireless smoke detectors will completely turn OFF when the battery is out and LEDs should not be lit.

To disconnect a wired smoke detector, use the steps above.

Tip: You can reset a smoke detector/alarm by holding the Protect button, if there.

Are All Wired Smoke Detectors The Same?

all smoke detectors the same

No, not all smoke detectors are the same. Most of the units have similarities, such as the pin connector connecting them to the electrical installation.

However, on some models, you would need to replace the cable harness coming from the electrical box and the detector.

In that regard, when you’re replacing a smoke detector, make sure to get one from the same brand as you already have installed.

This might save you some money and the necessity of an electrician coming to assist.

Alert: When you have multiple (linked) smoke detectors you would need to replace faulty units with devices from the same brand.

Quick Recap:

Hence, to disconnect a hard-wired smoke detector you need to remove the device in front of the mountain bracket and unplug the pin connector from the back of the device. To turn off the detector completely you’ll also need to take the battery out.

Last Thoughts – Can You Unplug A Hard Wired Smoke Detector?

Now that you know can you unplug a hard wired smoke detector the only question remains whether you need to do so.

Keep in mind that the smoke alarm backup battery compartment remains on the side where you won’t need to disconnect the device when replacing the battery.

The only occasion where you’ll need to disconnect the power line is when replacing the entire device.

Nicole B