Security & Fire Protection Systems/Nortron AC8W-1 replacement
I purchased a house last year that is 23 years old, it has four Nortron AC8W-1 smoke alarms installed which I'm presuming are original to the house so I'd like to replace them. As I don't seem to be able to find Nortron smoke alarms I'd like to replace with a different brand although I've read that replacing smoke alarms with different brands can sometimes cause issues. I would like to go for a hard wired installation again but with a battery back up. Could you recommend a suitable replacement? Also would this be easy enough to replace ourselves or should we hire an electrician?
Hello Suzanne, and thanks for your questions.
Replacing all the smoke detectors with a different brand will not be an issue; it's when one mixes different brands in an installation that compatibility problems can occur.
If the Norton detectors are interconnected, then this could be a do-it-yourself project. What I'd like you to do is to take one detector down from the ceiling, and see how many wires are connected to it. If you see 3 wires (one black and one white for the AC power, and a third which might be yellow or orange) I'd say they are interconnected. In this case, any 120-volt detectors with battery backup will do, and the installation is relatively easy, following the instructions.
If you only see two wires for AC Power, then you'd be best off hiring an electrician to run the needed third wire and make the connections.
Here's an example of a 120-volt detector with battery backup:
Now, as I said, any detector with similar specifications will be fine, so shop around for the best pricing. I noted that you're in Canada, and I don't know whether it's an issue buying from a US distributor.
I hope this helps. And please, if you have follow-up questions, don't hesitate to write again.