The age-old saying, “prevention is better than cure”, stands true especially when it’s about your smoke detectors! Most house fire accidents can be prevented if you have your smoke detectors properly installed and maintained. They also deem inexpensive as opposed to the damages.
But that does not mean you tolerate the incessant chirping of your smoke detector. Here are some reasons why they chirp and how to stop smoke detectors from chirping – it’s time to make amends with your little protectors!
8 reasons why your smoke detector is chirping
Dust and dirt can get accumulated on the smoke detectors over time which might lead to unnecessary chirping or even set it off at odd hours. Compressed air is a handy tool for getting dust out of places a vacuum or wipe can’t reach.
- Open battery draw
An open battery draw is something that would probably occur when the draw is not shut properly while installation. Ensure the battery draw is closed once the batteries are checked.
- Low battery
Like with any other battery-operated device, low battery is one of the most common reasons your smoke detector is chirping. You could simply call an electrician to come and replace your batteries or replace them yourself by opening the battery tray.
- Outdated or expired
The average lifespan of a smoke detector is about 6-8 years from the date of manufacture. It is advised to get your smoke detector checked at proper intervals to gauge its lifespan and/or other underlying issues.
- Faulty alarm
Accumulated dust to insects, and increased humidity levels to steam from bathrooms or laundry rooms, are common causes of a faulty alarm. Several smoke alarms come with a ‘silence button’, but it is advised to do so only upon a real necessity as you never know when an emergency might occur.
- Battery pull-tab
Battery pull tabs are installed from the factory to ensure there is no battery drain in the unit. Upon installation, the pull tab is removed to ensure the device is working, a neglected installation might lead to improper removal of the pull tab resulting in the device not functioning properly. Ensure your smoke detectors are installed by experts to ensure unnecessary hassles.
- Tripped circuit breaker
This is usually the case in hardwired smoke detectors. In event of a tripped circuit breaker, the smoke detector switches to its backup battery until AC power is restored. Check all the breakers in your panel box. If one of the breakers is tripped, reset it or call your 24/7 electrician to help you.
- Changes in temperature
This is mostly when there is a drastic temperature drop outside or there is a burst of steam coming from a bathroom or a laundry room. These sudden changes in the temperature can trip off your smoke detector due to condensation in the detection chamber since these are largely particle-sensing devices.
How to stop smoke detector from chirping
- Ensure you clean your smoke alarms at regular intervals to keep dust, dirt and insects at bay.
- Resetting your smoke detector will drain any residual charge in the device causing periodic chirping. The steps vary depending on battery-operated or hardwired smoke detectors.
- A faulty alarm could lead to a chirping smoke detector. Contact your neighbourhood electrician and get your alarm replaced.
- Check all the breakers in your panel box. If one of the breakers is tripped, reset it or call your electrician to help you or reset any tripped circuit breakers in your panel box.
- Open the battery tray and replace the drained batteries in your smoke detector to stop the chirping triggered by the low battery. Ensure the battery tray is installed back correctly to avoid further chirping.
How long does it take for a smoke alarm to stop chirping?
In most cases, depending on the cause, a smoke detector will continue to chirp for at least 7 days after its battery has died.
Why is my hardwired smoke detector beeping?
Most of the hard-wired smoke detectors come pre-installed with a 10-volt backup battery. In cases when there is a voltage drop or a tripped circuit breaker, the smoke detector switches to battery power. And if the battery power is drained or running low, the device starts beeping or chirping.
Why does the alarm go off when you change the battery?
Most smoke detectors are hardwired and come fitted with a battery. When you change the battery, the device switches to power, which might lead to the alarm going off. In other rare cases, the alarm might be part of interconnected smoke detectors which are all linked to a circuit – malfunctioning of one might lead to triggering an alarm in the others. If your smoke detector is not hardwired, underlying issues with the battery from low quality to improper installation can trigger the alarm.
Why does the alarm go off in the middle of the night?
Most homes are coolest between 1 AM and 4 AM. This sudden temperature drop increases battery resistance, impacting the battery’s ability to deliver the necessary power to operate, hence making a low-sounding chirp. This will automatically recede when the home warms up a little. But if you do not want the chirping, get your batteries replaced or checked at regular intervals to ensure it has proper resistance.