Always in the Middle of the Night...

Fun2BHereFebruary 5, 2014

Why does it seem like emergencies are always in the middle of the night? During the summer, one of my smoke detectors went crazy and set off the alarm system, starting at 3 a.m. and continued until I finally ripped the wires out of the speaker because the repair person couldn't get to my house until late in the afternoon. Three months later, one of the door sensors set off the alarm at 4 a.m. while I was out of town, so the police were dispatched to check the house and woke up my neighbors. Last night at 1 a.m., the leak detection alarm jolted me out of bed as the pipe into the hot water heater had sprung a leak. I had to shut off the water supply to the tank, so we had no hot water until the plumber could get here and replace the piping.

I know I should be thankful that I'm not reporting major damage from fire, theft or water thanks to the alarms and I am, but I just wonder why these events seem to always happen when I'm dead asleep and not during normal business hours. Also to the positive, I think I've found a great plumber!

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and babies. Don't forget babies come in the middle of the night a lot!

the smoke alarms are the worst! I had to make an emergency trip to Walmart at 3 am one night to buy batteries, while the alarm went off all the while . . .

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 1:25PM
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And bladders! They always need attention in the middle of the night, sometimes even twice.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 6:43PM
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When my kids were little they always had medical emergencies after business hours and when DH was on overseas business trips!

I've also experienced the 2 am fire alarms and security alarms ... DH always seemed to be away for those too!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 7:22PM
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Oh, Violet, LOL, I can't even imagine trying to find something open at 3 a.m. in my area. I'd probably be smashing the darn thing with a broom handle or something.

Dedtired, sadly true. The older we get, it seems like the more our physical and sometimes mental selves resemble that of a toddler's.

Chispa, see...why DOES it happen like that? It's not like your kids (or your alarm systems) thought, "Hey, Dad's completely unavailable, let's scare Mom to death."

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 8:47PM
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Oh, we've had the smoke alarms happen twice in the middle of the night. Talk about a wake up call. Do they make ones that you can adjust the volume or tone? We're not light sleepers and are far from deaf. The piercing sound of the alarm makes one not be able to even think clear.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:25AM
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Fun2B, I know, what are the odds? The best one was the faulty alarm sensor in our previous house. We had just moved into the house 2 weeks before. DH was on a business trip. The security alarm went off around 2 am and the panel in the master bedroom said it was the family room sliders ... now I'm worried and have 2 little kids in the house ... who miraculously never heard the head splitting siren and slept on! Alarm company calls and they keep me on the phone while I start to do the rounds of the house, looking in every room, closet, etc. ... all 8K sq.ft. We didn't find any intruders and the family room doors were locked. Turned out to be the infamous faulty sensor, but I didn't know that at that moment and didn't sleep the rest of the night.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:51AM
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One of my biggest pet peeves is that in my old house, my smoke detectors went off in the middle of the night several times every summer. We could never figure out why. We changed batteries, we changed out the smoke detectors...and nothing mattered.

That ear splitting noise at 3 am is almost enough to give one PTSD. My poor dog ran into walls it was so painful for her.

I agree - I wish there was a way to lower the volume. I know this is going to make some people cringe, but we ended up taking all the smoke detectors out on the first floor every summer. We couldn't fix it, and I couldn't stand getting jolted out of bed a couple times a month like that.

Yes, I know - I risked life and limb and should probably just be shot. :) It was a calculated risk....but it was either that or lose all my hearing, develop PTSD, and watch my dog try to imitate a cartoon and make a dog-sized hole in our walls.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 9:42AM
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they need to make those smoke detectors more user friendly, definitely.

I was up there on the damn ladder frantically pressing buttons; then I was online trying to find the instructions, but there's no model number and somehow when I bought my house they neglected to give me the documentation, and all the models look alike at 3 in the morning when the alarm is going off. And of course they don't take regular batteries that I had lying around--nooooo. So very lucky there's a 24 hour Wallyworld 8 miles away.

Learned my lesson though -- always have those batteries on hand, and don't ignore the flashing lights!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 9:59AM
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Sheesharee, unfortunately, they don't make quieter ones because the whole idea is to make sure you wake up. That's why I finally had to rip the wires out of the speaker. I told the alarm rep. that if I were ever tortured for any reason, I would give up whatever information was being requested after just five minutes of the alarm screaming. Not only can I not think, I begin to feel nauseated after a time.

Oh, Chispa, your kids slept through it? Wow! Even my almost completely deaf mother was awakened by mine. Of course, she doesn't sleep as deeply as young children do. BTW, when my exterior door alarm was activated, the alarm tech. told me that since it is wireless, it was probably set off by a radio transmission using that frequency illegally. That's why it's better to have all wired sensors.

Patriceny, your poor dog...I say that while chuckling at the word picture you painted. I won't tell anyone about your secret disconnections if you will return the favor. In other houses, I have always disconnected those battery-powered smoke alarms that are too high for me to reach. I hate that intermittent beeping that they do when they need a new battery. In this house, the smoke alarms are hard wired into the security system. If you disconnect them without re-programming the system, the system will continue to scream at you.

Violet, I can just imagine your process and your frustration. You are lucky to have a 24-hour store nearby and you are lucky that they HAD the battery that you needed. Why do they make them with those non-standard batteries? Everything ought to use 9-volt, AA, AAA, C or D, don't you think?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:37PM
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mine use 9-volt -- not something I had around the house. then!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 2:41PM
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Fun2B, as far as the kids sleeping through the alarm, there was a report done by 20/20 or 60 Minutes a few years ago, about the fact that the smoke alarms DO NOT wake up most children (young and teens). Amazing! They had a test family/house and sure enough the kids slept right through the racket.

The solution was a special alarm with a recorded message by one of the parents that said something like "Kids, this is Mom, get up there is a fire". After the message repeated about 3-4 times the kids started to wake up.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 4:36PM
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Wow, Chispa, how interesting. I guess that also explains why they often don't hear their alarm clock.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 6:31PM
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You all know about this thing, right? Designed not to wake you up in the middle of the night with low-battery warnings, and also can send a message to your phone or iPad if you're not home, and wirelessly set off other alarms in your house if any one senses smoke (so smoke or a fire in the basement will ring the alarm in the upstairs bedroom even before any smoke reaches it). $129 for every smoke/CO alarm is steep, but may be worth it though given what's at stake.

Here is a link that might be useful: Nest Smart Smoke/CO Alarm

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 6:05AM
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