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Stop Your Smoke Detector From Chirping or Beeping

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Smoke alarms are an amazing and life-saving piece of technology. They signal you in case of danger, giving you ample time to either deal with the fire or contact the fire department and evacuate.

However, one big problem that seems to plague many homeowners is the seemingly random beeping or chirping from smoke alarms.

Here’s how to stop a smoke alarm from chirping:

  1. Replace the battery.
  2. Clean out dust and moisture.
  3. Reset the alarm.

A constantly chirping smoke alarm is annoying at best and life-threatening at worst. While it might not seem like that big of an issue at first glance, smoke alarms are designed to save lives, and having one malfunction is a significant enough problem that you should address it immediately.

Due to how important this is, the rest of this article will go into significantly more detail about why your smoke alarm won't stop beeping and how to stop it.

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Why Do Smoke Alarms Chirp?

Regardless of how long you've had it, a smoke alarm that suddenly begins to beep either needs to be replaced or fixed. While it might seem like disconnecting is the best option, fixing it is a far better option and could potentially save your life down the line.

Usually, the reason for the chirping sound is easily identifiable and fixable.  Smoke alarms chirp because of a bad battery or dust. Of course, the final option would be that there’s an actual fire in your home, which you should check for, but once you've ruled this out, dust or bad batteries are the most likely culprit.

Identifying the problem is the first step to fixing it. While the process is largely painless, understanding the underlying cause will go a long way in making the process even easier.

Types of Beeps

Before anything else, the first thing to do is to identify the type of sounds you're hearing from your smoke alarm and what each type could mean. The sounds will usually be one of three types, and understanding each will help figure out what to do next.

Long Continuous Beep

A long continuous beep with no breaks is the universal sign that your smoke alarm has detected smoke. There is usually no smoke without fire, so you should do all that you can to locate the cause.

This situation is a very serious issue and should be solved as soon as possible.  Usually, the smoke source is easily detectable and can sometimes be solved yourself if you have a fire extinguisher handy.

Otherwise, you should evacuate as fast as possible and call the fire department.

Single Intermittent Chirps

This type of sound is the most common scenario and is usually used to signify that the batteries in your smoke detector need to be changed.

Smoke detectors come in two types: battery-powered and wired. While it might seem counterintuitive, both types use batteries.

The older battery-powered detectors are usually the culprit here as they rely heavily on their battery and will begin the chirp when they’re at the end of their lifespan.

The wired detectors surprisingly also use batteries. They get most of their power from electrical wiring in your house, but batteries are there to supplement in case of a power outage.

Multiple Beeps

Multiple beeps from your smoke detector can mean a wide range of things.

Some detectors forgo the single chirps and use these intermittent beeps to indicate a poor battery. Separate from that, they can also represent a gas leak if your smoke detector doubles as a gas detector.

This beep can indicate anything from water damage to dust buildup and also it could be that your smoke detector is reaching the end of its lifespan.

Usually, the manual for your detector will have a more comprehensive list of each type of beep and what they indicate, and if you don't have access to this, a google search with the name of your alarm followed by "beep types" should give you some solutions.

For example, "XX smoke alarm beep types." 

How to Stop a Smoke Detector From Chirping

Generally, there are three major things to try to solve the problem. What you try will depend on what you think the problem is, depending on the sound you hear from your smoke detector.

1. Change the Battery

Changing the battery is the best solution for a smoke detector with a flagging battery. Most modern smoke alarms will use AA batteries, although some older models might use 9V batteries.

These Duracell - CopperTop AA Alkaline Batteries from Amazon are great value for money and very long-lasting.

Follow these steps to replace the batteries:

  1. Locate where the batteries are stored. Depending on the brand of your smoke alarm, this could be in different places on it, but the user manual should help with finding this.
  2. Once you've found the battery slot, take out the old one(s) and replace it with the newer battery, ensuring that the positive and negative signs align. 
  3. Close the battery compartment and wait for about two minutes to see if you hear the beep again. 

If you don't hear the beep, your problem is solved, but if you do, move on to the next step.

2. Reset the Alarm

Sometimes resetting the alarm does the trick and can fix the beep you're hearing. For a battery-powered alarm, simply follow the same steps for replacing the battery but hold the reset button down for 15 to 20 seconds before replacing the battery.

For a wired alarm, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the power to the house from the circuit breaker.
  2. Disconnect the smoke alarm from power and remove the batteries.
  3. Press down the test button to ensure it is completely drained of any lingering charge.
  4. Replace the battery and remount the alarm. 
  5. Turn on the circuit breaker and wait for a minute or two.

3. Cleaning out Dust and Moisture

Sometimes dust and moisture could be the culprit with a faulty smoke alarm. To solve this, simply open up the alarm gently. Take care if anything needs to be unscrewed to get it open, and do this carefully, keeping the screws to the side so you can replace them.

Once you have the alarm open, you can wipe gently with a cloth, use a can of compressed air or a vacuum to clear debris from the alarm.

If the problem still isn't solved at this point, then your best option would be to have a technician come to take a look at it. Usually, a technician will recommend a viable solution or possible replacement.

Quick Recap

Solving a chirping smoke alarm can be very frustrating. However, the importance of doing it as soon as possible cannot be overstated. Although they might seem like an innocuous piece of tech, they can save your life. 

When trying to solve the problem, it is best to start from the most likely problem and work your way up. Understandably the process can be time-consuming, so if you would rather not do it yourself, hiring a technician to come in and take a look at it is always a good second option.

SimpliSafe

Simplisafe is for homes of all sizes and is built with unprecedented safeguards to keep your home protected against power outages, downed Wi-Fi, cut landlines, and physical attacks from hammers, bats, and more.

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