Smoke Alarms Chirping
Nothing can can be more annoying than listening to the constant noise of your smoke alarms chirping emanating from your wall. Or is it in the ceiling? Where is that sound coming from? You wander around trying to identify the source and it is always just outside your grasp. It becomes more and more annoying.
Is that sound from an errant cricket or is it a warning? If your “cricket” chirps every 30 to 60 seconds, or so, on a regular basis I'll bet my bottom dollar it's your smoke detector making that noise.
Annoying isn't it?
Why do the manufacturers make such a system with such an intrusive sound incorporated? The answer is a simple one. They do it to annoy you.
To annoy you and to motivate you to service the unit by replacing the battery or taking other preventative maintenance measures.
Smoke detectors can be a life saver in the event of a fire and need to be freshly operating.
There are just three reasons for a smoke detector to chirp.
- There is low power supply from the battery, or no power supply from the primary electrical circuit in the case of those units that are hardwired.
- The smoke detector itself is broken.
- Theunit is dirty to the point that it cannot perorm its function. If doing the things listed below does not solve the chirping problem, then immediately replace the unit.
The preventative maintenance required for your detectors is easy and straight forward.
Twice a year, on the same dates every year, replace the battery. Make it a date you can remember every year. New Years day and your birthday, the Sunday you change to and or from Day Light Savings time, whenever. Just make it a part of your life and write it down on the calendar and do it.
Another thing to do on a specific day each month is to test every smoke detector to make sure it's working properly. Some times a detector will become run down and the battery will be low because the detector has sounded off due to several large smoke build ups that have triggered it.
The power from the battery is just sufficient to run the detector and permit it to sound off when an alarm situation is detected for just a few trigger events. If a smoke detector does not pass the test try replacing the battery.
Now does it work OK? If so good for you, you have just helped prevent what could have been a serious problem.
Even when you sometimes replace a battery in between regular scheduled replacement dates, when the scheduled date rolls around again, still go ahead and put in a new battery.
You do not want to find yourself in the situation where different smoke detectors need to have the battery replaced on different days. This becomes unwieldy and leads to missed replacement days.
The cost of a new battery is inexpensive considering the consequences of failing to have a fresh working system.
What about those detectors that are hardwired? All of them have a battery back up in case there is a loss of power in the house or apartment. Therefore, even if your system is hardwired you still need to chang the batteries regularly. Testing on a monthly basis is still required since batteries in these systems can also run down.
Another thing that is often overlooked is cleaning your smoke detector. Every month when you test the system also take the time to wipe off the detector point and make sure the grill on the cover is clean and free from obstruction.
In the event of a fire the smoke will eventually make its way into the detector and set if off. However, if it meets a blockage it could take longer to trigger the system alarm than you safely have time to react to.
The last, but not most common cause of smoke detector chirping, is temperature. Smoke detectors have been known to start chirping in chorus due to extreme heat and cold.
If the above actions do not cure the problem try adjusting the temperature up or down a few degrees.
If that fails, replace the unit.
So to summarize, test and clean monthly, replace low batteries as required (and on pre-determined dates), and monitor the temperature. Batteries are cheap, lives are not.
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