Smoke Alarm Keeps Going Off - Why

Pooh BearNovember 8, 2012

Since yesterday, every few minutes, the smoke alarms go off and beep several times, then go quiet again. I took the batteries out and tested them with a multimeter. All above 9 volts. They are also hard wired to electric. We can't find any reason for them to be beeping.

Anyone here got any ideas about it?

Pooh Bear

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tjdabomb

Could be flawed electronics. Can you get the manufacturer name and contact them? It could be that the number of beeps and beep type (long, short, etc.) may tell you the issue with the unit.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 1:19AM
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Pooh Bear

I think this is the one we have. It is less than 6 months old.

Kidde AC-Hard-Wired 120-Volt Smoke Detector
Item #: 183814 : Model #: I12060

We have two of them interconnected. One is in the
laundry/mudroom and the other is in an unheated, uninsulated garage.
This was all a new addition this past summer.

They didn't go off much last night. But started early
this morning. Seems to be a series of 3 beeps 3 or 4 times.

Pooh Bear

Here is a link that might be useful: From the Lowes website

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:48AM
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tjdabomb

So the beeps happen at both alarms at the same time and beep the same?? How far apart are they??

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:22AM
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Pooh Bear

Distance wise they are about 6 feet apart, maybe a tad more.
One is in the garage and one is in the laundry/mudroom.
They are separated by a steel door (exterior type).
Both are ceiling mounted.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:59AM
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yosemitebill

In order to isolate the detector at fault, disconnect the interconnect (the red wire) from one of the alarms. Then, only the detector at fault will beep.
Did the multimeter you used to check the battery have a "battery test function" for testing 1.5 and 9 volt batteries? Reading the voltage on just the DC volt scale doesn't place a load on the battery and can give a false good reading. Also, cold weather, like in an unheated, uninsulated garage, will cause a drop in battery voltage.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:13PM
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tjdabomb

I have had detectors in cold areas (like unheated garages) act very different than their brethren installed in heated spaces.

For testing purposes, I'd disconnect the garage detector and see what the inside detector does.

Also "So the beeps happen at both alarms at the same time and beep the same??"

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:50PM
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alan_s_thefirst

Smoke detectors in a garage are generally a bad idea - if you're parking a vehicle in there, the products of combustion are going to trigger it every time. Since it's unheated, that could be an issue too.

I personally think some sort of fire detection in a garage is a great idea, but it needs to be a heat detector, preferably a rate-of-rise detector which means you need a burglar alarm (or dedicated fire panel) to connect it to.

Even sawdust might set a smokie off, although the new ones seem to be very good at distinguishing these days.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:18PM
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Pooh Bear

It's just the one in the laundry/mud room.
The one in the garage is not going off.
It is going off less and less. It just now beeped once.
It beeps a different pattern each time it goes off.
My wife took it down and blew on it to get dust out of it.
That seems to have helped. It's not going off every 10 minutes now.
The instructions say use a vacuum set up to blow air
to clean the dust out of it. Probably try that and see if it helps.

My VOM only tests voltage on batteries. No load testing ability.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 3:32PM
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weedmeister

Is this a detector that is also a particle detector? If so, lint/dust in the air will set it off.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 3:39PM
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tjdabomb

You wouldn't happen to have an exhaust duct on your dryer in the laundry room with a slight hole in it?? Could be dust/lint from the discharge hose clogging the detector?

I'd clean the crud out of the detector with a wet-dry vacuum, put a box fan in the laundry room blowing/excavating any particles from the room to outside/another room without a detector.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 5:50PM
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tjdabomb

.... for an hour or so. Then put all back to normal and listen for the beeps.

Strange/interesting that the beeping decreased and did more so after cleaning the detector - I think we are on the right path.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 6:06PM
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Pooh Bear

You wouldn't happen to have an exhaust duct on your dryer in the laundry room with a slight hole in it?? Could be dust/lint from the discharge hose clogging the detector?

It's all new construction (less than 6 months). The dryer
is new and the vent is 4 inch galvanized steel duct.
I'm not aware of any leaks in the duct work. (I should check)

The alarm hasn't went off in several hours now.
I think a good cleaning solved the problem.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:02AM
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tjdabomb

Yay!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 10:55AM
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alan_s_thefirst

Could have been drywall dust or even paint overspray if the builders were slack. Dust is a pain for smokies.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 5:56PM
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geoffrey_b

My wife know's when her dinner is done - the smoke alarm goes off!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 9:22AM
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Ron Natalie

I was happy when we got the smoke detectors with the snooze alarm feature.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 10:13AM
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