The Top 5 Reasons Why Your Smoke Alarm Is Beeping

Sep 20, 2019

Chirp. Chirp. Chirp. Do you hear a faint chirping noise coming from the back hallway or the basement? Don’t ignore it. It might be your smoke detector.

Smoke detectors are designed to chirp or beep when they need servicing.
 

Common Reasons for Smoke Alarm to Beep

When the battery in your smoke alarm is starting to get weak, the alarm is designed to warn you to change the battery by emitting an intermittent chirp or beep
 

The Battery Needs Changing

When the battery in your smoke alarm is starting to get weak, the alarm is designed to warn you to change the battery by emitting an intermittent chirp or beep. The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) recommends homeowners change the battery in their smoke alarm once a year. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s instructions in case they specify that a specific brand or model or battery must be used. If you have a smoke alarm with a non-replaceable, 10-year battery and it starts to beep, replace the entire smoke alarm right away.
 

Other Battery-Related Issues

If the battery is not making complete contacts with the terminals in the alarm or if the battery cover is not fully closed, the smoke alarm may continue to beep. For smoke alarms with a battery back-up, there is a pull-tab that needs to be removed after AC power is provided to the device. If the smoke alarm is still beeping, make sure the pull-tab has been removed. If that doesn’t work, try manually resetting your smoke alarm to clear the error. If the batteries you have installed in the smoke detector have been sitting in a drawer for a long time or stored in a cold area, they may not work. Try another battery.
 

Environmental Factors

Dirt, humidity, steam, or a drastic temperature fluctuation can sometimes trigger beeping or chirping. So can interference from another similar system nearby. The NFPA recommends smoke alarms are never installed near windows, doors, or ducts where drafts might interfere with their operation. Smoke alarms should never be painted or decorated either. Check your manufacturer’s instructions, but you can usually clean the interior of your smoke alarm with a vacuum or wipe it down with a damp cloth.
 

Dirt, humidity, steam, or a drastic temperature fluctuation can sometimes trigger beeping or chirping.

Electrical Issues

A power outage or power surge can cause an issue with your smoke alarm. Does the chirping always occur when you turn on another appliance in your home? Perhaps the alarm needs to be moved onto another circuit. You may need to call an electrician to investigate if you have hardwired smoke alarms.
 

No Longer Works

Smoke alarms have an average life expectancy of about ten years. The NFPA recommends homeowners replace their smoke detectors every ten years. If your alarm is beeping and you can’t figure out why take it down and check the manufacturer’s date on the back. If it is nearing ten years old, replace it.

Smoke detectors save lives. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke detectors or no working smoke detectors, according to data from the NFPA. If your smoke alarm is not working for some reason or beeping and driving you crazy, it’s critical to figure it out right away.

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