My house has eight smoke detectors; one in the basement, one in an upstairs bonus room, and six on the main floor. The main floor is "T" shaped; the bedroom area forms the top of the "T", and the rest of the rooms are in the "stem" of the "T", connected by a hallway. All of the smoke detectors are in the bedroom area. Here's a rough layout (the dots are the smoke detectors):
As shown in the diagram, the main floor has no smoke detectors except the ones in the bedroom area (which are audible on the rest of the floor). Each bedroom or potential bedroom has one just inside the doorway, and there is another in the hallway just outside each doorway. I'm thinking of making the following changes:
Master BR: There is no door between the MBR and the adjoining hallway. The MBR has an 11 ft ceiling, so I need to drag a huge ladder from the garage at the other end of the house, and navigate it through doorways and hallways past breakable stuff to access this unit. Since there is one right outside this room with no intervening barriers, which also serves the MBth, I would remove the one inside the MBR.
Bedroom: I would leave the one inside the bedroom and remove the one in the hallway immediately outside it, which doesn't seem to serve any purpose.
Office: With smoke detectors located in areas on either side of this room and in the hallway immediately outside, the one in the room seems redundant. Also, the one in the hallway is unobstructed to the rest of the main floor, so it serves that area. If I removed the hallway unit and left the office unit, all of the alarms could potentially be behind closed doors and less audible in the rest of the house (which is an open floor plan).
So I would remove the one inside the office and cover the electrical box with a plate. If a future owner wants to turn it into a bedroom and a smoke alarm is required inside the room, it would be trivial to put one back.
Question: Do these changes sound reasonable, or are all of the existing smoke detectors required by code (in Virginia)?
Impetus for change: At 3AM this morning, we were awakened to all eight alarms going off (they are interconnected, so they all sound if any one is triggered). It turned out that they are all 12 years old and one had an age failure (smoke detectors are supposed to be replaced after 10 years but the manufacture dates were hidden on the backs of the units).
So there will be the expense of replacement and then an ongoing requirement to periodically drag in a ladder, test each one, and replace batteries. There are also three extra sources of potential false alarms, and it is a long, nerve-wracking task to identify the source when all are blaring -- every unit needs to be removed from its wiring harness. I don't have an issue if each one serves a purpose, but it seems like the builder went nuts with smoke detectors and installed three more than apparently are needed.