Why is My Smoke Alarm or Carbon Monoxide Alarm Beeping
How Can I Stop The Beeping?
Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are life saving devices and every home and business needs them to protect the occupants from fires or deadly carbon monoxide. But sometimes the smoke detector starts to make a beeping or chirping sound. The beeping is often every 30 to 60 seconds. These beeps and chirps are annoying and sometimes they happen in the middle of the night. They can go on for days if not tended to. What's the cause of the beeping and how do you stop it?
First of all, make sure it's not a real alarm! A smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector alarm will be loud and more continuous. Way more obnoxious than occasional beeping or chirping. If a smoke or carbon monoxide detector goes into alarm you need to get your family or employees to safety immediately. Smoke from a fire may be obvious but carbon monoxide is called the silent killer because you can't smell it. You probably have multiple detectors installed and they are normally interconnected so it's possible the cause of the alarm is from another room or floor. If you're not sure, you can call the local fire department and they will come to your home to perform a safety check.
One you're sure there's no danger, you can look into the situation more closely.
This article is aimed at battery powered detectors or those that are wired to AC power. It is not aimed at detectors connected to a burglar or fire alarm panel.
Why is my smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector beeping?
- Make sure you know which detector is beeping - sometimes the sound may bounce around making it hard to tell which detector is beeping. Also other devices in the home may make a similar beep so be sure it's actually the smoke detector. Normally the detector LED will flash when it beeps if it has one.
- Low battery or dead battery - Replace the battery - make sure the new battery is full and fresh. Sometimes batteries that sit around may lose their charge. No-name or off brand batteries may not work well. Use a good brand name.
- The battery drawer is open - make sure the battery is inserted correctly and the battery drawer is closed all the way.
- Battery pull-tab is still present - on a new detector there is likely a pull-tab that has to be removed to allow the battery to work.
- Loose connection - This is rare but a loose wire could be causing intermittent power to the detector. This chirping may be more intermittent without a pattern. You'll need to turn off power at the breaker, then remove it from the mount and check the connections. This should be performed by an electrician or a home owner knowledgeable in electrical wiring.
- Old detector or malfunctioning detector - Smoke detectors normally last about 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors normally last 5-7 years. If your detector is old it's time to replace it. This is a life saving device, don't be cheap.
Why is my smoke detector or carbon monoxide detector going off when there's no fire or CO?
- It's dirty from new construction, or from dust and dirt built up over time or insects in the chamber - You can gently vacuum smoke alarms regularly to remove build up and prevent false alarms or failures
- Power interruption or fluctuation - a smoke alarm may alarm briefly when power is restored
- Shared Circuit - Smoke detectors should not be in a circuit with other appliances. A larger load turning on may cause a power blip triggering a brief alarm.
- Furnace Turned On - If the furnace has been off for a long time, dust or residue may be blown around when it is first turned on.
REPLACE YOUR SMOKE OR CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR
If replacing the battery doesn't work, the wiring is sound and cleaning the smoke or carbon monoxide detector doesn't help, then you'll most likely need to replace it with a new one. If it's over 7 years you may as well replace all of them at the same time to make sure they're all in good working order. They may seem expensive but over the span of 7-10 years you'll spend way more on coffee or treats.
Aartech sells a variety of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors for delivery across Canada.
American Sensors and BRK/First Alert are some of the most popular builder brands. Learn how to replace american sensors smoke detectors.
HELP PAGES FROM THE MAJOR BRANDS
Dicon / American Sensors (this brand is no longer but some models continue from BRK)