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laurenkem's avatar

Why won't my smoke detector stop intermittently beeping?

Asked by laurenkem (3408points) April 21st, 2012

I have a smoke detector that is actually hard wired; however, it still has a 9-volt battery for backup in case of electrical failure. Originally, it went off to indicate that the 9-volt needed to be replaced; I did so. This solved the problem, temporarily. Unfortunately, most mornings I now wake up at 6:00 because the alarm starts with a loud beep every 30 seconds or so. This thing is driving me crazy! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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16 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

That sounds like it’s not getting power from the hard wired source. The battery may be low again. Change the battery. If it stops beeping, you probably need an electrician to check the wiring. And welcome to fluther. Oh, and does it only beep in the morning?

laurenkem's avatar

Yes, usually early in the morning to wake me up, almost like an alarm clock! When I get up and turn off the A/C, though, it stops within 20 minutes. Weird.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@laurenkem That is wacked. If it stops, my idea is wrong. Could the A/C be pulling something into the house?

laurenkem's avatar

Well, I tried that because I originally “googled” this months ago and someone had suggested that temperature changes and/or the A/C vent blowing directly toward the detector could cause the alarm to sound. Weirdly enough, it does work to shut the A/C off, but I live on the beach in FL and not using the A/C is not an option for me.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@laurenkem I’m stumped. I’ll check with a HACV guy I know to see if he has any ideas..

ETpro's avatar

@laurenkem It sounds like the A/C is starving it for power then. That’s a truly bizarre set of behaviors for a smoke alarm. Or hey, maybe it’s become self aware and that’s the sound it makes when it shivers. :-)

Best have an electrician take a look at it, and measure power levels when the AC is on versus off. If the AC is sapping its power, something is seriously amiss in the wall wiring.

laurenkem's avatar

Wow, I hope that is not the case! Sounds seriously expensive to fix. I might just have to learn to sweat it out :)

BosM's avatar

This has happened to me in the past when dust gets into the unit at or around the sensor. Blow out the unit with a can of air and cleaning should take care of this issue. If not, contact an electrician.

laurenkem's avatar

Hmm, dust, huh? Well, anything fairly inexpensive is worth a try. Thanks for the advice! I’ll let you know if it works. :)

cazzie's avatar

I used to work for the New Zealand fire service and we used to get calls like this all the time. Usually it was a matter of just telling people, ‘Your 9volt battery needs changing.’ but sometimes it is dust on the sensors. Does your detector also have a CO2 sensor on it? Get some canned air, open up the sucker and blow it out.

As for the timing of the alarm, is the unit in a place where the sun currently comes up at about 6am and hit it?

laurenkem's avatar

@cazzie , already changed the 9-volt and that stopped the incessant screaching; however, it is still doing the intermittent “burps” every morning. The sun does not touch the unit; however, I will check on the dust issue and report back. Thanks everyone for your help!

SpatzieLover's avatar

My bet is on dust or humidity.

To solve the issue do as instructed above. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to invest in a new detector.

laurenkem's avatar

Wow, I have a strange update. This afternoon, I went in my bedroom to take a nap. On my way, I shut all the doors and windows (due to noise, not heat) and turned on the A/C (set to 74). I woke up an hour and a half later to a very quiet house, but I was cold. I then turned the A/C off and opened all the doors and windows again. Five minutes later, that crazy thing started intermittently burping out its song – lasted for about ½ an hour and then quit. I’m starting to think the damn thing is possessed!

boxer3's avatar

Do you live in a house or an apartment? Perhaps a landlord could be of assistance if option 2 applies.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I then turned the A/C off and opened all the doors and windows again. Five minutes later, that crazy thing started intermittently burping out its song – lasted for about ½ an hour and then quit.

Sounds like humidity is causing it to go off. It may be the censor is covered with dust, then.

laurenkem's avatar

@SpatzieLover , humidity never occurred to me. But wait, that doesn’t work either, because it usually goes off in the early morning when the A/C is on. It doesn’t seem to care if it’s hot or cold or whatever. I’m betting on the dust factor and will blow it out in the morning. Seriously, the thing is possessed, anyone know a good priest?

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