Why is My Smoke Alarm Chirping?

Updated March 18th, 2020

There is nothing more irritating than a constant, monotonous, high-pitched noise that, while you lay in bed, wide awake, you know it is a noise you probably wont be able to get rid of easily. Well, one such noise that may be plaguing you is the constant chirping from your smoke alarm. “Why is my smoke alarm chirping?” You ask yourself over and over again as you toss and turn. Well, here are a couple of reasons it may be buzzing away at you.

Low Batteries

Most times this is the obvious reason. Its an intermittent chirp, generally every minute and will last for approximately 30 days before the batteries wear out completely. Now who can live with that for 30 days?  Not me!

working-smoke-detectorsIf your smoke alarm is AC powered with a battery backup, it will make a noise forever!  What?  No ways!  Yes ways!

So go check those batteries out and replace! But it is advisable to not use rechargeable batteries. They can also mess up the system.  Not a proven fact but original batteries are best in most systems. Now, if that doesn’t work, even after changing the batteries a few times, there may be another reason to make it continue chirping.

Getting Stuck

Smoke detector with smokeAfter a low battery issue the system can get stuck. So you will need to reset it. When you have undone everything and taken the batteries out, there is a test button you must hold for about 25 seconds. This should do the trick.

For future, change your batteries every 6 months to be safe. Its best the chirping noise doesn’t even start to avoid this palaver and irritation of trying to stop it.  And your family will thank you later.

If the smoke alarm is older than 10 years old, you should consider replacing the entire unit.  Their life-span is normally 10 years, depending on how often they are used and most times they are not used as often as you may think.  But to be safe invest every 10 years.

Dust, Debris and Temperature

These factors can also render your smoke alarm faulty, causing it to give off these odd chirps. Regular dusting and using a blower is a good idea.  Let your cleaner know to grab a ladder and get dusting.

Homeowners guide houseWhile you can’t control temperature too much you may want to check where the smoke alarm is situated. If it’s in the bathroom the steam from the showers and baths may affect it. If in the kitchen near the oven and constant temperature fluctuations, you may want to move the alarm. Near the doorways is best or open windows or even near an air-con unit.

Here is a little diagram to help you placing your smoke alarms throughout the house.  As you will see the bathroom isn’t even featured here but if you feel safer having one in there, place it near the door. So next time you ask yourself ‘Why is my smoke alarm chirping?’ –  consider trying these few options.

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