Smoke alarms are a life saver…literally. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 3 in 5 fire deaths happen in homes with no smoke alarms or no properly working smoke alarms. For this, and a myriad of other reasons, you should check your smoke alarm regularly to ensure proper operation in the event of an emergency.
One common issue homeowners face is a beeping smoke alarm. Most often, this is due to a battery that requires replacement. But, if you’ve changed the battery in your smoke detector and it still continues to beep, try troubleshooting using some of these tips:
Check that Batteries are Properly Installed
- Make sure you’ve used the correct battery type.
- Check that the battery is snapped completely in place.
- If your smoke alarm has a battery compartment door, check that it is closed completely.
Check for Environmental Conditions Near the Smoke Alarm
- Look for humidity, steam and condensation.
- Check for excess air flow near the smoke detector, for example, a cooling/heating unit, a ceiling fan, or an open window within three feet of the smoke detector.
- Check the temperature of the room. Smoke alarms operate best at 40 degrees to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clear Residual Charge
Some smoke alarms have processors that will retain error codes or residual battery charge, even after you’ve inserted a new battery. Try to clear the residual charge by following these steps:
- Unmount the alarm.
- Take out the battery.
- Press and hold the test button for 15-30 seconds. This should fully reset the smoke alarm and drain any charge left inside.
- Replace the battery.
- Clean the unit with a microfiber cloth or a can of compressed air. Vacuum the outside of the smoke alarm to remove dust and debris.
- Press the test button again. You should hear a loud beep to let you know the alarm is working properly.
Reset Your Smoke Alarm
For electric smoke detectors with a battery backup:
- Turn off your home’s main circuit breaker.
- Unmount the alarm and disconnect the power cable connected to it.
- Remove the battery, press the test button for 15 seconds. An alarm will sound briefly, then the alarm will silence.
- Reinsert the battery, reconnect the power cable and put the smoke detector back on its mounting bracket. Turn the breaker on. The detector will chirp one time to indicate power was restored to the unit.
For battery-powered smoke detectors:
- Remove the battery.
- Press the test button for 15 seconds. An alarm will sound briefly, then the alarm will silence.
- Put the battery back in the smoke detector. The detector will chirp one time to indicate the battery is connected.
Other Possible Causes of Chirps
When all else fails, it might be time to buy a new detector. Check the date of manufacture printed on the back of your alarm to confirm it's not expired. Most alarms expire 7-10 years after the manufacture date.
If these steps don’t yield results, contact your security provider.