What to Do If Your Smoke Detector Keeps Chirping

We’ve all heard them. High pitched, excruciating beeps that happen every few minutes, like clockwork. No, you likely don’t have a cricket loose in your condo. Those ear-splitting chirps are coming from your smoke detector. Smoke detectors in condos can emanate these noises for a variety of reasons.

One of the first things you’ll want to consider is the difference between smoke alarms vs. smoke detectors. Smoke detectors are the devices that are used in facilities like condos and hospitals. These devices are required hardware that helps keep you and the people you’re surrounded by safe.

While the shrill chirp of an alarm or smoke detector is annoying, it’s important to remember that they’re designed that way. They are purposely made to grab your attention and make you do something about the situation.

With their tendency to beep in the night, these devices can sometimes feel like they’re causing more strain than help. We’ve compiled a few ways to help you address your chirping smoke detector and finally get some sleep.

Ways to Address Your Beeping Smoke Detector

1. Check the Smoke Detector’s Batteries

One of the most common reasons your smoke detector is chirping is because the batteries are beginning to age. These pieces of hardware are designed to alert residents to the fact that the batteries need to be replaced.

The insurance agency Allstate recommends changing your smoke detector’s batteries every six months, even if they seem to be in working order. One way to check whether your batteries are functioning is to use its “test” feature.

Smoke detectors have a test button on them that allows you to determine whether the device is functioning properly. Holding the button down for a few seconds should cause the device to begin sounding the alarm.

You should take out the battery and replace it with a new one if any of these conditions occur:

  • If you don’t hear a sound
  • If the sound is too quiet
  • If the alarm sounds distorted

Even if the battery is hardwired, it’s important to replace the backup battery. Sometimes, dust or other items may be interfering with the battery’s connection, which could be the reason for the chirp, as well. You can clean your machine with compressed air to blow out debris.

2. Remove the “Residual Charge” in Your Device

If you’ve replaced the batteries in your smoke detector but are still hearing those persistent beeps, your device may still have what’s called a residual charge. The residual charge from the replaced battery could be still causing your device to seemingly malfunction.

You can address this issue by:

  • Taking out the new battery
  • Holding the test button down for about half a minute
  • Put in the new battery again
  • Press the test button once again

When you retest the device, your alarm should go off in a very loud, high-pitched tone. If you don’t hear a sound or if it seems muffled, you likely still have an issue.

A common problem, in this case, is that your batteries may not actually be as “new” as you think. If the batteries were stored in especially cold temperatures, they may have lost their charge faster than you thought.

Batteries have expiration dates on their packaging, and it is always a good idea to inspect their date when purchasing them from a store. Keep extras in your home so you’re always prepared.

3. How to Disable a Condo Fire Alarm

You may be tempted to try to disable your condo’s fire alarm when the noise won’t stop. While you don’t want to actually disable the alarm as it is a lifesaving device, you should still inspect the product to make sure that it is functioning properly.

If you feel that the product is actually defective, you should call your property owner if you’re a tenant. Fire alarms do expire after a few years (around eight to 10 years on average), so it may be that your device is simply past its prime.

If you’re the property owner, it’s worthwhile to have your local fire department come to your condos and inspect all of the devices. Fire departments are a free source of fire safety information, and they are the perfect resource for giving you tips on the best fire prevention devices on the market.

Do you own a unit at Catalyst Condo Management properties? Do you have questions about what to do when your smoke detector begins to chirp? Reach out to us today. We can help answer any questions!