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Help! My smoke alarm keeps going off!!


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#1 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 02:31 PM

My smoke alarm keeps going off. We have no candles lit, nothing in the toaster, the oven/stove are off, there is no smoke that I can see anywhere. I checked all the rooms carefully and there's nothing that I can see. I do not smell anything either. I went under the house into the crawlspace to see if it might be the HVAC system - nothing there either.

We did have all our windows open because it is almost 70 degrees here today and I wanted to air out the house. Dh said to shut them all and see if anything changed. So far, nothing - it keeps going off.

Dd11 is standing directly under it waving a magazine at it each time it goes off and it then it stops. It starts up again after about 20 seconds.

Any ideas????

Oh, and I tried disengaging it - it is hardwired to the house and I am not one for messing with wires. I do not know which breaker it is conncected to - probably the one connected to the fridge.:tongue_smilie:

We have high winds and fire warnings in our county right now, so I'm wondering if there is a fire nearby that it is sensing, but I don't see or smell any smoke.

#2 Parrothead

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 02:34 PM

Take the battery out. Go buy a new battery. If it isn't battery operated, turn off the power and remove it. Go buy a battery operated smoke detector to replace it.

#3 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 02:43 PM

Take the battery out. Go buy a new battery. If it isn't battery operated, turn off the power and remove it. Go buy a battery operated smoke detector to replace it.


It doesn't have a battery, but the next one will definitely be battery operated. This thing is LOUD!!!

#4 secular_mom

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 02:46 PM

Is there a bug in there near the censor?

#5 Parrothead

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 02:52 PM

Can you take the cover off and vacuum it out?

Find the breaker. The SD might have a short. In that case it is setting itself off every time the short arcs.

#6 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 02:56 PM

Can you take the cover off and vacuum it out?

Find the breaker. The SD might have a short. In that case it is setting itself off every time the short arcs.


Hmmm..that sounds ominous. Ok, then, I'm off to figure out which breaker switch it is. Thanks.:)

#7 Parrothead

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 02:59 PM

Hmmm..that sounds ominous. Ok, then, I'm off to figure out which breaker switch it is. Thanks.:)

Better safe and all that.

I don't know about you but I'm the type of person that the Fates enjoy playing pranks on. The headline:

FIREFIGHTERS' LOOSE HOUSE TO FIRE CAUSED BY SMOKE DETECTOR SHORT

#8 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:08 PM

Better safe and all that.

I don't know about you but I'm the type of person that the Fates enjoy playing pranks on. The headline:

FIREFIGHTERS' LOOSE HOUSE TO FIRE CAUSED BY SMOKE DETECTOR SHORT


Yup.:) OK, before I figured out which breaker switch it was, it just stopped. I had shut the windows so now I'm wondering what's going on outside that's causing it to go off. I called the non-emergency number for the fire department because my back yard backs up to 40 acres of woods, but they said they won't send anyone out unless I can see or smell smoke (or flames, I suppose). So, at least it's not blaring in my ear, but now I'm paranoid that the woods behind my house are going to go up in flames and we will have to evacuate and my house will burn down and can you tell I'm a bit of a worrier?:D

#9 Susan C.

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:29 PM

Ours did that a long time ago. Woke us up, I walked across the water bed heading out the door. The fire dept. came, but nothing. We vacuumed them out, they were dusty. Ours now (different house) will chirp when one of the batteries is low. The only solution is to turn the breaker off, replace all of the batteries in all of them, then turn the breaker back on and reset each of them. Fun!

#10 *Jessica*

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:50 PM

Is it also a carbon monoxide detector?

#11 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:54 PM

Is it also a carbon monoxide detector?


No - we are all electric. But thanks for checking.:)

#12 *Jessica*

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:02 PM

No - we are all electric. But thanks for checking.:)

Good! I was starting to worry about you. I hope there isn't a fire nearby and it's just dust or something.

#13 Barry Goldwater

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:12 PM

Smoke is basically a collection of particles...smoke detectors are 'really' particle detectors. So...if you get a build up of dust in the detector, you can get a false alarm. Try vacuuming out the sensors. This info came directly from KIDDE customer service, when I had the same problem with by basement (unfinished, dirt floor) alarms, where it is VERY dusty:tongue_smilie:

#14 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:13 PM

No - we are all electric. But thanks for checking.:)


Does it have a back-up battery? In one house we had I had to replace the back-up battery to the *house alarm* after a power outage. It was the smoke detectors going off that alerted me to the problem. Our last house had electric detectors, but also had back-up batteries in each detector, they would go off if the battery was low.

But, if you had windows open, then dust or something could have been setting it off. I agree with vacuuming it out.

#15 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:17 PM

Ok, I'm going to vacuum it out. I decided to open the windows again because I just can't waste this gorgeous fresh air and it started going off again - not as often or as long as before - but still, it is rather loud. Thanks for the advice. Oh, and if there is a battery in it I can't find it anywhere. I twisted the cover off and there doesn't seem to be anything but wires - the cover is sealed all around; no place for a battery to be removed.

#16 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:19 PM

Ok, I'm going to vacuum it out. I decided to open the windows again because I just can't waste this gorgeous fresh air and it started going off again - not as often or as long as before - but still, it is rather loud. Thanks for the advice. Oh, and if there is a battery in it I can't find it anywhere. I twisted the cover off and there doesn't seem to be anything but wires - the cover is sealed all around; no place for a battery to be removed.


Do they connect to your house alarm? Most electric smoke detectors do. Does your alarm system tell you anything when you look at it?

#17 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:22 PM

Do they connect to your house alarm? Most electric smoke detectors do. Does your alarm system tell you anything when you look at it?


We don't have a house alarm.

I vacuumed it just now - there was some dust build-up, but not much. It went off while I was dusting and I nearly fell off the chair!:tongue_smilie: Anyway, I'll let you know if that did the trick.

ETA: Nope - that didn't work - it's still going off. I'm off to amazon.com to see if I can buy some more nerves.

#18 Mrs Mungo

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:29 PM

We don't have a house alarm.

I vacuumed it just now - there was some dust build-up, but not much. It went off while I was dusting and I nearly fell off the chair!:tongue_smilie: Anyway, I'll let you know if that did the trick.

ETA: Nope - that didn't work - it's still going off. I'm off to amazon.com to see if I can buy some more nerves.


:lol:

Is there a name brand or model number on there?

Here's an answer I found on another site (I am not an electrician and do not play one on tv):

There are three wires connected to each detector. The black and white are power. Undo the pigtail to the third wire and the smoke detectors operate independantly. Then you can isolate and replace the culprit!!


So, this guy is claiming they are interconnected and if one is bad, it will cause another one to go off. Maybe that is the problem?

#19 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:34 PM

:lol:

Is there a name brand or model number on there?

Here's an answer I found on another site (I am not an electrician and do not play one on tv):


So, this guy is claiming they are interconnected and if one is bad, it will cause another one to go off. Maybe that is the problem?


Sounds reasonable. I'm thinking I will call my electrician friend. I don't have the courage to mess with wires. Thanks for your help.:)

#20 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:47 PM

I did find out that it is a FireX Model G-6 smoke alarm. Had to get back on the chair and use a magnifying glass to read the label. Of course, it went off while I was up there!!! Have I mentioned this thing is LOUD?

The description says:

This alarm uses ionization sensing technology. Ionization sensing alarms may detect invisible fire particles (associated with flaming fires) sooner than photoelectric alarms. Photoelectric sensing alarms may detect visible particles (associated with smoldering fires) sooner than ionization alarms.

Something about detecting invisible fire particles from flaming fires makes me feel, well, edgy. I keep looking out the back window but no fires so far. The wind is whipping and the 50-foot oak trees are swaying big time. Maybe I should be more concerned about them.:D

#21 LizzyBee

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:58 PM

Ours do that when the batteries need changed.

#22 Tammyla

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:18 PM

:grouphug:

How old is it? We had a carbon monoxide detector that just decided to go off and keep going off. It wasn't that old, but needed to be replaced. The alarm was really, really unnerving.

Ok, I'm going to vacuum it out. I decided to open the windows again because I just can't waste this gorgeous fresh air and it started going off again - not as often or as long as before - but still, it is rather loud. Thanks for the advice. Oh, and if there is a battery in it I can't find it anywhere. I twisted the cover off and there doesn't seem to be anything but wires - the cover is sealed all around; no place for a battery to be removed.



#23 MaryAnn

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:22 PM

You said the wind was blowing. Our smoke alarms go off when the wind is blowing hard. It just happened to us a couple of weeks ago and in years past when the wind was blowing hard. Wish it wouldn't happen because we are not as panicked when it goes off. Good luck.

#24 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:36 PM

You said the wind was blowing. Our smoke alarms go off when the wind is blowing hard. It just happened to us a couple of weeks ago and in years past when the wind was blowing hard. Wish it wouldn't happen because we are not as panicked when it goes off. Good luck.


Now that's interesting - I'll be that's all it is. It's stopped for now. We shut the windows again - the temperature is dropping so we're all snug for the night. I do think we will replace it, though, as it came with the house and it is now 20 years old.

#25 StephanieZ

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 05:56 PM

It doesn't have a battery, but the next one will definitely be battery operated. This thing is LOUD!!!


Are you SURE? I think all the hard wired alarms I have seen include a battery back up. Otherwise, they wouldn't work if there was an electrical fire that impacted the circuit, etc.

#26 nukeswife

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 06:02 PM

Just a thought. I also live in VA and have had this happen to mine, turns out it was because of the sudden temperature change. The one by the garage door still does this all the time in the winter if the kids leave the door open when going out to get something from the freezer.

#27 Kathleen in VA

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 06:03 PM

Are you SURE? I think all the hard wired alarms I have seen include a battery back up. Otherwise, they wouldn't work if there was an electrical fire that impacted the circuit, etc.


There is a warning on the cover that says it will not work during a power outage which I think means there is no battery back-up. There really isn't any place for a battery to go. It doesn't come apart. There are just wires coming out from the center going into the ceiling. Remember, this thing is 20 years old - maybe they hadn't gotten that far in technology back then.

#28 kand

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 06:04 PM

Are you SURE? I think all the hard wired alarms I have seen include a battery back up. Otherwise, they wouldn't work if there was an electrical fire that impacted the circuit, etc.

:iagree: ours are hard wired, but have batteries for backup. When the battery goes out in one, it chirps loudly and obnoxiously. And always in the middle of the night. In a bedroom. :blink:

ETA: posting at the same time. Sounds like that's not your issue.

#29 Sharpie

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 08:03 PM

We had two in the house that would periodically do this. Ours are all hard wired in and it had nothing to do with batteries needing to be replaced. We called our electrician who told us they do fail. Ours were about 11 years old. He came out, inspected them & replaced them. They no longer go off in the middle of the night.


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