Safety Tools

What To Do When Your Smoke Detectors Won’t Stop Beeping

Have you been having problems with stopping the beeping sound from your smoke detectors? You can smile now, as, in this guide, we are going to show you what to do when your smoke detectors won’t stop beeping.

The continuous beeping of smoke detectors can get so frustrating, what’s worse is that it mostly begins after you’ve just figured out how to get to sleep. The chirping starts for no apparent reason, scaring you out of that hard-earned sleep. And just when you think it’s stopped and safe to go back to bed, the incessant beeps start up again. It’s enough to make you lose your mind.

When that happens most people would go the extra mile to see that the beeping sound is stopped, some might even go as far as damaging the smoke detector.

It is important to note that smoke detectors, like any equipment, might malfunction once in a while. However, this malfunction can be fixed, you don’t necessarily have to damage the smoke detector.

But smoke detectors do save lives, so interrupted sleep aside, you want to make sure they are working properly. The good news is that your smoke alarm is pretty vocal when it’s malfunctioning. It may be annoying, but better safe than sorry.

The better news is that most of the time there’s an easy solution—no professional help necessary. The answer isn’t as easy as hitting your alarm with a broomstick or bat until it stops, but we do have some helpful ideas that should do the trick.

Why Your House Alarm Keeps Beeping

Whether your alarm system is beeping after a power outage or due to a low battery, you should fix it immediately. Until you take care of it, you won’t be able to depend on your system to function.

How many different smoke alarms are there?

There are three different smoke alarms. The difference between them is their power source:

The first (and worst) smoke alarms use replaceable batteries.

Other smoke alarms use long-lasting lithium batteries (better, but never #1)

And then there’s the best smoke alarm: the smoke alarm that’s hard-wired and uses 120-volt power. This is the smoke alarm gold medalist – soon to be on a box of cereal – and by far the best choice when it comes to smoke alarms.

Why do smoke alarms beep in the first place?

They want to get your attention. Well, okay, smoke alarms are wires, plastic, electronics, and circuits. They really can’t “want” anything. But they are built to get your attention in case:

  • there’s a fire
  • the battery needs replacing
  • there’s an error in the processor
  • the wiring is screwed up

Other reasons your smoke alarm is beeping:

  • Make sure you removed the battery pull-tab.
  • Be positive the battery drawer is totally closed.
  • Check that the battery is making complete contact with the terminals in the alarm.
  • If the thermostat is set at a very high or low temperature, the smoke alarm may detect it and issue an alert.
  • The alarm may also chirp if it detects hot air coming from the kitchen or bathroom. One way to avoid this is to move the alarm away from the kitchen or bathroom door.

Always assume a beeping smoke alarm means there’s a fire. You have a ton of resources to keep your family safe, but saving your life is not our job here.

Why Your House Alarm Keeps Beeping

Whether your alarm system is beeping after a low battery, you should fix it immediately. Until you take care of it, you won’t be able to depend on your system to function.

The “chirp” is usually caused by issues related to the battery or miss-wiring. However, don’t confuse the chirp with an intermittent alarm. A “chirp” sounds like a higher-pitched tone and sound in equal intervals about once every minute. An intermittent alarm is usually a random sound for several seconds and has a lower-pitched tone.

Common Reasons for Smoke Alarms Chirping:

  • Battery Pull-tab is Still in the Alarm

The battery pull-tab should be removed after AC power is provided to the device.

  • The Battery Drawer is Open

The battery drawer should be totally closed for the battery to make contact with the terminals.

  • Low Battery

As the battery in a smoke alarm gets weak, the smoke alarm will “chirp” about once a minute to let you know that the battery needs to be replaced. Note: Only the device with a low battery will chirp. The other interconnected alarms should be silent.

  • The battery is There but Part of the Terminal is Obstructed

The battery may not be completely making contact with the terminals in the alarm. Check to ensure the battery pull-tab or any other obstruction is completely removed.

  • Another Device or Appliance

Security systems, monitors, carbon monoxide alarms, and other devices have comparable low battery or alert sounds.

  • Temperature Fluctuations in the Home:

Another reason for a smoke alarm beeping or chirping erratically could be temperature fluctuations in the house. If you set the thermostat at an unusual very high or low temperature, the smoke alarm detects this and issues a sounding alert. Another reason why the smoke alarm chirps could be if it detects hot air coming from the kitchen or bathroom. This could happen when you are cooking at high heat or someone opens the bathroom door soon after taking a hot shower.

To avoid this kind of false alarms it is best to either move the smoke alarms close to the kitchen or bathroom door or use another means to ensure that the hot air does not reach the alarm vents.

  • Its Life has Ended

Another reason for a smoke alarm beeping is that it has reached the end of its lifetime. Smoke alarms usually last for between eight and ten years. Take the smoke alarm off and check the date of manufacturing on the back. If it is more than eight years old, you would need to replace the smoke alarm as soon as possible.

Any of these reasons can cause your smoke alarm low battery chirp:

Does your smoke alarm have a separate silence push button? If so, the button could have been pressed by accident. The alarm will then  “chirp” once every minute for up to 15 minutes.

Make sure it’s the smoke alarm. Other devices have comparable low battery chirps or warning sounds. The reason for a single chirp is often hard to pinpoint. Check devices like carbon monoxides alarms in use.

Sometimes “new” batteries may not be fresh. If batteries are kept in cold areas they can lose their charge more quickly. Be sure to check the freshness date listed on the package when purchasing new batteries.

What do I do if the smoke alarm keeps beeping?

Okay, so the smoke alarm just won’t. stop. beeping. You’re afraid that if it goes on much longer, you won’t be able to take it any longer. The first thing to just press and hold the reset button. If that doesn’t work and the infernal beeping continues, you should replace the batteries or battery.

Side note: instead of writing “batteries or battery” all the time, we’re going to go with batteries. If there’s only one, you’ll figure it out.

Replacing batteries might be the solution to your problem, even if your smoke alarm is hard-wired. Hard-wired smoke alarms use batteries as a back-up. When those back-up batteries need replacing, the alarm will tell you. In the most annoying way possible. Remove the batteries and replace them with long-lasting batteries.

Actually, we suggest replacing your batteries regularly. You shouldn’t wait until you have to deal with the beeping. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests you put fresh batteries in your alarms whenever you set your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.

Why is this so important? Because, every year, about 2,200 people die in home fires because their smoke alarm wasn’t working.

If you can’t replace your batteries

On that somber note, if your smoke alarm has lithium batteries you won’t be able to replace them. You’re going to have to replace the entire smoke alarm. Take some solace in the fact the batteries and the smoke alarm probably lasted ten years.

Of course, the problem with a smoke alarm that has lithium batteries is that the beeping will continue. Figure out a way to muffle the noise until it stops or you can safely dispose of the alarm.

Hardwired smoke alarms are all connected. If one of them goes bad, they all might beep on you. You’ll have to figure out the culprit to make the beeping stop.

It’s kind of like finding the bad light on a string of Christmas lights. Resetting every single smoke alarm should do the trick. If it doesn’t, try flipping the circuit breaker off and back on. That might stop the noise.

The Last Resort

Your last shot at shutting up the *beeping* beeping is disconnecting your smoke alarms and remove their batteries. Be sure to unclip the small connector at the back of each alarm to safely remove it from the network.

If that still doesn’t work, sorry. You need new smoke alarms. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever.

Smoke detectors usually last eight to 10 years. Look on the backside of the smoke alarm to find the date it was manufactured. Even if your detectors aren’t that old, however, you may have to replace them if they begin malfunctioning. If you’ve tried everything listed here and they still won’t stop beeping, then it’s time to bite the bullet.

‌Annoying as it may be, at the end of the day this is all a small price to pay for functional fire alarms.

CONCLUSION

If you have gone through the above guide, you should have an idea of how to stop the beeping sound. You can always refer to this guide whenever you have a beeping sound issue on your smoke alarm.