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Author Topic: Crazy smoke detector problem.  (Read 815 times)

Debbie Dunkley

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Crazy smoke detector problem.
« on: October 05, 2017, 09:53:28 am »

I am lost here and not sure what else to do without bringing in an electrician.

So, 4 days ago, one of my smoke detectors started chirping. No problem I thought and popped in a new battery.
Still chirped.
So I pulled the detector from the connector gave it a blast of air. Ceiling chirped.
I pulled breaker, pressed and held test button on device for 15 seconds with battery out, replaced battery and connected detector into ceiling. Breaker back on - Still chirped.
So I ordered brand new replacement smoke detectors online - got the exact same model for easy replacement. 11 year old house so it was overdue anyway. (I have a couple of back up detectors linked to my house alarm so it  not as bad as it sounds)
They arrived yesterday after 3 days of going mad with chirping. Replaced every detector in the house. All brand new batteries. Continued the chirp throughout the process till we replaced the last one and held the test button to set them all off. Then it stopped - YAY!

Till 2.00am this morning. WHAT IN THE WORLD??????

Checked battery - full capacity - but switched out anyway...still chirps...

So basically the ceiling chirps when detector is removed and breaker is off... yep.

Any ideas?





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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2017, 09:55:29 am »

Is your house on fire?

JR
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2017, 09:59:58 am »

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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2017, 10:12:50 am »

I read somewhere that sometimes other devices, remote controls etc can affect smoke detectors. Yesterday I moved everything I could think of away from that part of the room.......Went back up there - looked around and realized behind a photo on a dresser was one of my carbon monoxide detectors.  I simply moved it to the other side of the room and the chirping has stopped. Now all I hear is crickets.
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2017, 10:33:58 am »

one of my carbon monoxide detectors.

... that's a pretty crude way to refer to your canary...
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2017, 10:35:33 am »

... that's a pretty crude way to refer to your canary...

you guys.....
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2017, 10:56:49 am »

I had a chirper last winter. In the middle of the night in the unheated part of my house the ambient temp dropped enough that the battery voltage sagged enough to chirp. The voltage threshold is pretty high so the battery will still have enough energy to work until replaced.

It was annoying because in the middle of the night I just unplugged the battery and went back to sleep. The next morning the battery didn't chirp, because it was warmer.

JR
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Craig Hauber

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2017, 11:05:45 am »

So basically the ceiling chirps when detector is removed and breaker is off... yep.

Any ideas?

You had removed the detector from ceiling - and also pulled the battery from the detector and there was still a chirping sound coming from the ceiling?

I've installed enough of those to know that it's just a plastic mounting-ring on the ceiling with no active components in that ring.

-would there be one in the attic above too?
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Will Knight

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2017, 11:10:56 am »

I read somewhere that sometimes other devices, remote controls etc can affect smoke detectors. Yesterday I moved everything I could think of away from that part of the room.......Went back up there - looked around and realized behind a photo on a dresser was one of my carbon monoxide detectors.  I simply moved it to the other side of the room and the chirping has stopped. Now all I hear is crickets.

Just from a personal safety standpoint Deb, you may want to move the CM detector back to the original spot where you discovered it and see if it starts chirping again.  If it does, you may have a hidden leakage somewhere that should be checked.  Is the room where the detector was discovered above the garage maybe?
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2017, 11:20:31 am »

You had removed the detector from ceiling - and also pulled the battery from the detector and there was still a chirping sound coming from the ceiling?

I've installed enough of those to know that it's just a plastic mounting-ring on the ceiling with no active components in that ring.

-would there be one in the attic above too?

I know it sounds crazy Craig but it happened.
Here is an article where someone else experienced the same thing. Read down about 8 paragraphs.

https://www.bobvila.com/posts/80332-please-help-with-hard-wired-smoke-detector-issue?page=1#.WdZNRGUw0UE

No detectors in the attic.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 11:28:43 am by Debbie Dunkley »
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2017, 11:24:20 am »

Just from a personal safety standpoint Deb, you may want to move the CM detector back to the original spot where you discovered it and see if it starts chirping again.  If it does, you may have a hidden leakage somewhere that should be checked.  Is the room where the detector was discovered above the garage maybe?

Mmmm....... interesting. Yes above the garage. but Chris and I both stood directly underneath the smoke detector and  it wasn't the CM detector that was chirping. It was definitely the SD. I have checked the CM detector and it tests fine.

EDIT - I have 2 CM detectors - one upstairs and one downstairs. Neither have alarmed since I got them. They are 2 years old. The CM detector was in a different part of that upstairs room until about 6 weeks ago when it got moved closer to the SD - it is the big bonus room now used for rehearsal.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2017, 11:28:23 am by Debbie Dunkley »
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2017, 11:36:04 am »

I had a chirper last winter. In the middle of the night in the unheated part of my house the ambient temp dropped enough that the battery voltage sagged enough to chirp. The voltage threshold is pretty high so the battery will still have enough energy to work until replaced.

It was annoying because in the middle of the night I just unplugged the battery and went back to sleep. The next morning the battery didn't chirp, because it was warmer.

JR

I've heard this and it is why the darn things always seem to go off in the middle of the night. The answer of course it to make sure to change out the batteries regularly whether they need it or not.  Going forward now I have started from scratch with all new batteries, I will switch them out once a year at this time.
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Ed Hall

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2017, 11:48:34 am »

- it is the big bonus room now used for rehearsal.

Blame the band! They were really smokin' that last rehearsal!
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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2017, 12:03:18 pm »

Code here says hard-wired detectors.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2017, 12:10:27 pm »

Code here says hard-wired detectors.
The house didn't come with CM detectors Dick - I added those so they are not hard wired. The smoke detectors are all hard wired.
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Debbie Dunkley

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2017, 12:14:46 pm »

Blame the band! They were really smokin' that last rehearsal!

 :D
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2017, 05:43:19 pm »

The house didn't come with CM detectors Dick - I added those so they are not hard wired. The smoke detectors are all hard wired.

You can get combination smoke/CO detectors that work with other smoke detectors (at least with some brands).  Here I am required to install dual sensor smoke detectors (typically photo and ion), hardwired iin every new home.  The combo CO/smokes also meet the dual sensor requirement, so when wiring rentals where a CO was required, sometimes we did one CO/smoke and rest normal dual sensor. 

May or may not be something you want to do-but the option is there.  They are more expensive-and harder to find.
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2017, 10:28:01 pm »

You can get combination smoke/CO detectors that work with other smoke detectors (at least with some brands).  Here I am required to install dual sensor smoke detectors (typically photo and ion), hardwired iin every new home.  The combo CO/smokes also meet the dual sensor requirement, so when wiring rentals where a CO was required, sometimes we did one CO/smoke and rest normal dual sensor. 

May or may not be something you want to do-but the option is there.  They are more expensive-and harder to find.

... but a combination smoke/CO detector is the worst possible idea. Mainly.... where the freak do you mount it? Smoke rises. CO settles. You either mount chest height (and have mediocre performance from both sides) or pick which one you want to actually be effective.

Not something I would EVER choose.

-Ray
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Ray Aberle

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2017, 10:33:07 pm »

(UNLESS it's a system where everything is connected, and you mount the dual-CO-Smoke unit down low, and if it goes off due to CO detection, it'll trigger all of the smoke detectors to go off as well.)
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Stephen Swaffer

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2017, 10:52:31 pm »

An unfinished basement with a gas appliance wouldn't be a terrible place-usually don't like to have too much power down low in case of flooding.
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2017, 07:37:52 pm »

... but a combination smoke/CO detector is the worst possible idea. Mainly.... where the freak do you mount it? Smoke rises. CO settles.

That's what I thought, too (about CO). But I wasn't sure, so I did some research (if you can believe the Internet) and found that CO actually tends to dissipate quickly rather than settling. It doesn't matter where you place the CO detector.

As for any detector, I've learned to blow them out every year to find off false alarms caused by dust or spiders.

EDIT: I used "credible" sources, not "fake news" sites.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 11:47:18 am by Jonathan Johnson »
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Rob Spence

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2017, 01:23:37 am »

That's what I thought, too (about CO). But I wasn't sure, so I did some research (if you can believe the Internet) and found that CO actually tends to dissipate quickly rather than settling. It doesn't matter where you place the CO detector.

As for any detector, I've learned to blow them out every year to find off false alarms caused by dust or spiders.

I have wired everything. I added battery CO detectors with displays so I could see the level if it goes off.


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Marc Sibilia

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Re: Crazy smoke detector problem.
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2017, 05:30:44 am »

That's what I thought, too (about CO). But I wasn't sure, so I did some research (if you can believe the Internet) and found that CO actually tends to dissipate quickly rather than settling. It doesn't matter where you place the CO detector.
Carbon monoxide has a molecular weight of 28.  Air has an effective molecular weight of 29.  CO is slightly lighter than air, but close enough that diffusion effectively keeps things well mixed.

(Sorry about being redundant.  I didn't read everything before I replied to Ray.)
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 05:37:27 am by Marc Sibilia »
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