smoke alarm going off for no reason?

radioguy4everOctober 17, 2007

so there i am, rubbing down the swedish bowling cheerleaders with oil when one looks at me and says...

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

smoke alarm going off. i jump out of bed, and by the time i got into the hallway, they stopped. checked all the rooms, no smoke, no fire.

they went off for a total of about 30-45 seconds. any idea why then would have gone off like that for no reason??

on a related note, with regards to a co2 detector, how would you know if it was a false alarm or not? we currently do NOT have one, so i know thats not what set the alarms off...

any ideas?

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radioguy4ever

ETA: these are hard wired smokes, there are a total of 6... 4 bedrooms, 1 upstairs hallway and 1 on the 1st floor.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 6:38AM
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ccoombs1

I can relate (well, except for the part about the cheerleaders)!!! Our last house had the same problem. They were hard-wired together and only went off for maybe 5 seconds, but always in the middle of the night. They did it at least once a month for as long as we lived in that house and we never did figure out why. Let me tell you.....5 seconds of that ear-splitting noise will roust you from dreamland to full alert FAST!!!!

Cindy

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 8:00AM
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normel

They may require cleaning to remove a buildup of dust and spider webs. Vacuum each one to remove the dirt. If the detectors are more than 10 years old, you should think about replacing them.
It's a CO detector (not CO2). If one goes off in the summer when nothing is running that produces combustion gases, you could assume it is a false alarm. In the winter, or if you have a gas water heater or stove, treat it as a true alarm.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:21AM
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radioguy4ever

normel, the smokes are only a few MONTHS old...

in our house, we dont have anything gas... water is elec, stove is elec and furnace is fuel oil. is it safe to assume the only thing that would produce carbon monixide is the furnace? i dont have a co detector now, but will be adding one soon. but my primary concern is why the smokes went off...

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:29AM
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daft_punk

Look around your neighborhood; See any antennas? I've seen HAM base-station transmitters trigger wired smoke detectors. The control wiring among the detectors acts like a big receiving antenna.
Mobile police CB or HAM transmitters could also set off smoke alarms. They'll trigger motion detector lights, as well. Perhaps a night security guard chats on a CB in his car to keep awake on the graveyard shift. Many CBs have been illegally modified to transmit more than the allowed power.

CB also uses AM (amplitude modulation), or sometimes SSB (single sideband) modes of transmission. Both are more likely to cause interference than FM (frequency modulation), which police, fire and most mobile HAM radios use.

A mobile-phone tower might cause problems. Yet the power output is relatively low, so it's much less likely.

Good luck!

Marco

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 10:58AM
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beacher003

You may have just one bad smoke alarm but if they are hard wired and interconnected it sends the alarm to all.
You can try removing them one at a time until you find the defective unit. Try cleaning it with a vaccume or compressed air or replace it.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 1:40PM
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brickeyee

"...the smokes are only a few MONTHS old..."

New house? Vacuum the dust out of the things.

If you have not done any remodeling that created dust then try the 'one by one' approach to see if one is defective.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:09PM
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radioguy4ever

brickeye, how can i tell if one is defective?

i just added them as we were doing some remodeling and the code officer said because we remodeled more than 80% of the house a interconnected had to be added.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2007 at 9:33PM
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kbpipe

If your hard wired smoke detectors are like mine, they also have a battery in them. When the battery is low the alarm beeps until you change the battery. And once you do change the battery the alarm will contine to beep until it kind of resets itself.
Take down the smoke detector and look at the bottom, there should be a battery compartment. Open and replace with new battery.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 1:22PM
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radioguy4ever

kbpipe, this was not what you describe. the smokes actually went off, continuosly... not a chirp but full beeping.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 1:27PM
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brickeyee

"how can i tell if one is defective?"

No easy way if it is going off when it should not.
When you disconnect the bad one the problem will stop.

Having them not go off is a lot easier to check.
A good dose of smoke from a cigarette will trip most of them, and there are cans of 'smoke' to spray on them also.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 7:07PM
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beacher003

I know if I test mine the one I test sounds off first and then the others one or two seconds later. When your detectors go off try pulling the first one that sounds, if you can determine which it is.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2007 at 8:04PM
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radioguy4ever

brickeye, its funny that you say that, because i just quit smoking!

well, heres the latest. yesterday afternoon there was 1 detector that started going off, but not the other ones. is it safe to assume that is the culprit? i dicsonnected it and brought it back to HD and they gave me another.

this is pretty scary though, not knowing of they are going to work properly if (god forbid) they ACTUALLY NEED TO BE USED...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 6:57AM
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stinkytiger

Hi,

It happened to me, Went off for like 40 seconds. Looked around no fire or smoke. Checked each one and saw that one had an LED blinking. Indicates it is the one that went off. Two feet to the side a spider scurrying away. So in my case it was a spider. Has not happened again.

Best, Mike.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2007 at 7:27AM
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loisleone_gmail_com

Who knows what is the cause and what to do about this awful problem. I have 6 wired in alarms, all changed 2 weeks ago and the noise they produce is ear splitting. They go off randomly and like to wake me up in shock in the middle of the night. I don't want to hear more stories, I want to hear causes and solutions.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 8:35AM
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rasumill_verizon_net

Our smoke alarm is just beeping every few minutes, it is hard wired in, we have tried to do the test, and then the button to turn that off, turned off breaker, still does the beeping. Can you help? It is not a full blown alarm sound.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 3:02PM
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twane1_aol_com

Issue:
Our smoke alarm is just beeping every few minutes, it is hard wired in, we have tried to do the test, and then the button to turn that off, turned off breaker, still does the beeping.
Answer Start twisting off the unit until you find the bad one and replace it at Lowe or Home Depot. Crazy thing will beep all night until you remove it.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 3:53AM
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mark40511_windstream_net

OMG!!!!!!

This just now happened to me and its 4 am!!!!! Scared me and this has never happened. I have 5 smokes in my house (all electric and all wired (each also have a battery) occasionally they will beep when battery is low, but that's it. This was a mind numbing screeching loud throughout the house unlike anything I've ever heard.....I found the one in the hall was blinking red so unplugged it and all the others stopped.....I changed the battery, plugged it back in, and every alarm started going off again.......I'm afraid to plug this one back in.....and Now I'm paranoid that there is fire somewhere.....

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 4:14AM
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mentormintor_yahoo_com

It's now 2:40 and 2nd round of random smoke detector screaming ended...glad I read this (hubby killed a spider near alarm).
Hoping for sleep now

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 2:54AM
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Hfurbish_aol_com

Ok..I have 6 hard wired w/battery backup detectors. Basement, first floor, 3 bedrooms, and upstairs hallway. Was just woken up by the one in the hallway and first floor going off. Only went off for 15-20 seconds. Grabbed my 14 year old daughter and ran downstairs...no fire, no smoke, no smell or visible problem. We have NOTHING that uses gas in our home. Just fuel oil. (Furnace is only heating the hot water this time of year) and I don't even think any of them are CO detectors anyway. Called hubby at work and he has no idea. This is the first time this has happened, and I'm kinda wondering, if the are hard wired together, why didn't ALL of them go off?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 5:57AM
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ryabread_yahoo_com

I live in a very new, 3 br house. Its after 3 am and I a
am alone in the house with my infant. The smoke alarm
in my bedroom went off for just about 5 seconds and woke me up. There was even an accompanying voice that said "fire" and then it just stopped. I jumped up out of bed and went into the hallway. No smoke, no further beeping. I wonder why it did that. None of the other ones went off and it stopped right away.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 3:48AM
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eshannon04_yahoo_com

It's 1 am & my alarm just went off for about 20 min. Also kept saying fire, fire over & over. I'm also alone with a 6 month old & freaked out. My fire alarms are also co detectors. So I'm scared that might be it. They finally stopped & I opened a window. Reading these posts makes me feel better. I know I'm not alone & this has happened before. Still wondering what I can do to fix this, though.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 1:39AM
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mkandmj_msn_com

Ours just did the same thing. It is not batteries needing replaced. I replaced all the batteries even though they weren't chirping and they are all still going off every couple of minutes. My 3 yr old is hysterical.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 8:27AM
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ilsaz_excite_com

Glad I read this thread. For a half hour the alarms were going on and off where I am staying alone with many dogs. Not totally sure, but I did notice emergency vehicles on the rural road nearby and suspect it may have been police CBs as one of the posters suggested. They've stayed quiet for a while now and I think I've calmed down enough to go back to sleep.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 6:28AM
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m11473_gmail_com

My alarms just went off. For 30 min and have stopped now.

Went all the way to basement no fire.

I have a separate co detector it is queit.

not sure if I should call fire department.

If it goes off again i am going to call 911.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 5:43AM
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sheila_raleigh_gmail_com

So glad to know we are not alone! The BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! with the FIRE! FIRE! FIRE! were driving me crazy. Lasted about 10 minutes. My husband (an electrician) can not figure out why they were going off. He flipped the breaker and then realized they were battery backup. He started disconnecting each one. On the third one, it finally stopped. Crazy and very alarming, just so thankful it wasn't a real fire!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 3:06AM
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tom_bsm_yahoo_com

I have had this issue and some explained i needed to get my house checked for the unknown. It turned out it was a spirit passing by and the spirit triggered off the alarm.after doing so.e spiritual cleansing on the house it stopped completly.Pls don't just sit back. It actually means you are not alone in that house. You cannot see them but they can see you...

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 3:47AM
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sharma101

This is the second time it happened. Loud alarm noise at 3AM with frequent intervals of 15 min. All the SA's are hardwired and with new batteries. Will be calling the maker of SA tomorrow to figure out the acual cause. Glad to know that there are others who have experienced it as well. Leaving the hallway lights open did avoid the alarm from triggering again. Going back to sleep again

    Bookmark   September 15, 2011 at 5:41AM
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Cristine_Mason_utb_edu

Sheila can you specifically email what your husband did? I am having similar experience and feel I need to bring in an electrician in and figure out why the one of five goes off. There is no light to note it is the one with the trouble. It also appears to sound off intermittently for about ten minutes one to three beeps or on other evenings just once at about the same hour of the evening between midnight and three am. This is most unusual and frustrating.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 1:48AM
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Almaut

I just moved to an apartment that's been remodeled over 80% and having the same issue. And to be frank I'm about to hire a electrician and get him to cut the wires, I'm losing sleep over this and its starting to affect my work performance. Either that or the mossberg 500 is gonna take action lol

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 9:30PM
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Almaut

I just moved to an apartment that's been remodeled over 80% and having the same issue. And to be frank I'm about to hire a electrician and get him to cut the wires, I'm losing sleep over this and its starting to affect my work performance. Either that or the mossberg 500 is gonna take action lol

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 10:38PM
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jreagan_gw

Is there a question? Many things can cause SD to go off. High humidity, dust inside, age of SD, etc.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 7:41AM
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Ron Natalie

I've seen this happen when one unit detects some fault ( other than the battery) dying. Check to see that all their covers are firmly seated, etc....

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 9:10AM
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Alohakido

I had this happen frequently. To solve it immediately rotate the alarm take down and push the battery compartment, it'll pop open, remove the battery. You may have to do this to all until you find the culprit. Chances are there's dust, battery dead or a tiny bug can set these damn things off. Now, how to make sure it doesn't happen again? If your alarm has an i or I in the model number get rid of them. They're detecting ions, if you live near the beach like I do, just the waves crashing will set them off. Great huh? These are old technology cheap units apparently. Get upgraded with photoelectric units. Once I did this it no longer woke me out of a sound sleep.

Here is a link that might be useful: If You Have These Smoke Alarms, Get Rid Of Them!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 10:04PM
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