May 16, 2012

Beeping & Chirping Smoke Detector – Replace Battery

If you hear beeping or chirping you may need to change your smoke detector battery.

First off, let’s get the lingo straight: what are commonly referred to as smoke detectors, are actually smoke alarms. Usually battery-powered, sometimes hard-wired, a smoke alarm unit emits its own signals.

By contrast, a smoke detector is a device that is hardwired into a fully-integrated fire alarm system. It sends a signal to the fire alarm panel, which then activates an alarm.

However, because the two words have become pretty much interchangeable, we’ll let this picky distinction slide for now. If a smoke alarm or smoke detector in your building is chirping or beeping, it’s usually a sign of a low battery or a tripped breaker.

With a battery-powered smoke alarm, 9-volt batteries are standard and need to be replaced every six months. Less-common lithium batteries need to be replaced every ten years.

Although we check batteries whenever we do an annual inspection, battery failure can occur in the interim. For many smoke alarms and detectors, a battery replacement is a fairly easy task if you follow these simple steps:

How to Replace Your Smoke Detector | Alarm Batteries In a Few Easy Steps

  • Depending on the type of unit, either pull it off or turn it counter-clockwise to remove it from the ceiling.
  • Disengage the unit from the wiring that attaches it to the ceiling.
  • Open the battery-housing and replace the battery, ensuring that the positive and negative charges are in their correct position.
  • Reattach the wire that goes from the unit into the ceiling & twist the unit back on.
  • Test the unit to make sure it is working properly.

Smoke detectors or smoke alarms in most public buildings are hard-wired. If they are beeping or chirping, this usually indicates a problem with the fuse or breaker. Check the circuit panel to ensure a breaker hasn’t tripped or a fuse hasn’t blown. If the fuses and breakers are intact, it could be faulty wiring or your detector could simply have reached the end of its life. In those instances, you may need an expert to troubleshoot the system.

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Smoke detectors and smoke alarms are key to saving lives and minimizing property damage in the event of a fire; but only if they’re fully functioning. If one or more of the devices in your system is still beeping or chirping even after you’ve changed batteries and checked breakers, contact us and we’ll find a solution!

Contact us today via our form to the left or call 604-590-0149.