When you hear the smoke detector beeping, it can be the most scaring thing. Being calm and doing the right thing could save your life. Of course if you have invested in the best type of smoke detector, then the smoke detector beeping most likely happens when there is real fire since it has the capability of suppressing false alarms for example on cooking areas where there may be occasional smoke.
However, it is possible that the smoke alarm beeps and there is no fire. This is very irritating especially when it interrupts your sleep or causes your children or pets to panic.
Fire experts claim that there is an average of 3 minutes for you to evacuate from the time you get to hear an alarm.
It is important we differentiate smoke detector beeping and chirping. Beeping of the smoke alarm is loud and meant to alert you of fire or presence of smoke. Chirping of the smoke or carbon monoxide detector means that the battery is low and needs replacement.
Other reasons include:
- It could be a different device or appliance such as a security system, monitor, carbon monoxide alarm, or other device which has a similar low battery or alert signal chirping. It sounds crazy but it is good to confirm that the chirping actually comes from your smoke detector and not from other devices. Some prepaid electricity meters also chirp. Do not be too quick to conclude it is your smoke detector!
- If an incompatible device or auxiliary device is wired in series to hard wired smoke alarms, it may cause the system to inadvertently chirp or beep.
- Elements such as dust, moisture ingress or insects getting inside the device housing can affect the proper functionality of the detector hence causing unwanted alarms. Also power interruptions in hardwired alarms can result in intermittent alarms.
- The wiring on hardwired smoke detectors may be improper. Hard wired smoke detectors will chirp every 5 seconds if the interconnect wire is grounded. The orange interconnect wire should NEVER be connected to earth; it should only be used to interconnect other smoke alarms or compatible devices.
- It is possible that the smoke detector has finished its life cycle. A smoke detector will normally not exceed ten years. Kindly confirm at the back of your device when it was manufactured and when it is due for replacement.
However, the battery may be new and the chirping continues and none of the above factors is in effect.
Smoke detectors have internal processors that store errors. Low battery is a common error and the processor may fail to clear the error even after the old battery is replaced. Therefore to clear this error you need to reset the smoke detector.
Please perform the following 6 steps:
- Disconnect the smoke detector from any source of power by removing batteries and switching off the mains circuit breaker if your smoke detector is hard wired.
- Remove the detector from its mounting bracket.
- With the source of power removed, press and hold the test button for 15-20 seconds.
- Replace the new battery in the detector.
- Reattach the breaker to mounting bracket.
- Restore power to the circuit breaker.
Never ignore when you find your smoke detector beeping. Try to locate the fire first before doing anything else.
If none of the above works and the smoke detector still chirps or beeps when there is no threat, we recommend that you consider replacing your smoke detector. We hope you can consider wireless smoke detectors.