Why does my smoke alarm beep or go off for no reason?
I’m going to answer some questions here about why smoke alarms or smoke detectors may go off or beep for no apparent reason. Keep in mind here there is a difference between the smoke alarm actually going off and that annoying chirp or beep that sounds once every couple of minutes.
My smoke alarm is beeping for no reason.
My smoke alarm is going off for no reason.
My smoke alarm will not turn off.
There are two main culprits at work in this scenario. One possible cause is that there is dust or cobwebs on or within the smoke detector unit and this is causing it to false alarm. The fix here is to clean the smoke detector using the soft brush end of your vacuum cleaner. This should be part of you smoke detector maintenance routine for optimum performance. Check out my blog on maintaining your smoke detector here…..Maintaining Your Smoke Alarm
The other issue is that the smoke detector is actually faulty, in which case it will need to be replaced. There are some cheap smoke detectors available on the market and in hardware stores. From my own experiences I’ve found they seem to suffer from false alarms a lot more often than some of the well-known and supported brands.
My smoke alarm is chirping.
My smoke alarm chirps every couple of minutes.
If your smoke alarm is chirping or beeping once every minute or couple of minutes this is completely normal and a sign that the battery needs to be replaced. Smoke alarms and smoke detectors are designed to tell us that the battery is flat and needs to be changed. Just make sure the new battery is indeed a new battery and not something that has been in storage for years. Using a battery that has been in another appliance and working correctly doesn’t always work in a smoke alarm. While the voltage was sufficient to work in one appliance, the smoke alarm or smoke detector may chirp with a low battery alarm.
My smoke alarm chirps at night or in the middle of the night.
My smoke alarm chirps at night but works in the day.
My smoke alarm chirps when the air conditioner is on.
Smoke alarms chirping in the middle of the night are a nuisance! You’ve just gone to bed and hear that ‘chirp.’ Some of us wait in hope it shuts up, others tear the smoke alarm off the ceiling trying to prise the battery out in the dark.
Rest assured there is a reason for all this seemingly nonsensical occurrence. The 9 Volt battery inside the smoke alarm has a chemical reaction going on inside that produces a voltage. In this case 9 Volts. When air temperatures are warm (i.e. during the day, and it’s also warm up there on the ceiling) this aids a battery’s chemical reaction and keeps the voltage output at a level that the smoke alarm is happy with. As the temperature drops at night time, or with cooling air conditioning turned on, the battery’s chemical reaction slows and the voltage lowers. When the smoke alarm’s chirp sounds, the internal circuit of the smoke alarm has detected that the battery voltage is too low and must be replaced.
If you were to wait it out, there’s a good chance the smoke alarm’s chirping will cease once it has warmed up during the day or with heating air conditioning tuned on.
The fix here is to replace the battery with a good quality battery. You’re either on the cusp of the battery being flat or the battery is a cheap battery with poor life.
At Adelaide Electric we perform all sorts of smoke detector and smoke alarm electrical work within Adelaide. From rental inspections and compliance to smoke detector replacement, smoke detector expiry date checks and testing. If you need any help with your smoke detector issues, feel free to give us a call at Adelaide Electric on (08) 8367 9543.