How to Fix a Smoke Detector Alarm Chirp

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Chirping smoke detectors require immediate attention.
Chirping smoke detectors require immediate attention. (Image: Smoke image by peter Hires Images from Fotolia.com)

Smoke detectors are essential in every home. They are the first alert to you that there is a fire and give you and your family plenty of time to get to safety. One complaint many people have is that the smoke detector begins to chirp for no apparent reason. The cause for the chirping can vary, but are usually quickly remedied. Fixing a smoke detector alarm chirp may be as simple as a battery replacement or whole unit replacement. Many manufacturers now have expiration dates on smoke detectors and the chirping indicates that the unit is past its life and requires replacement.

Things You'll Need

  • Stepladder
  • Batteries (AA, AAA or 9-volt )
  • Feather duster
  • Replacement smoke detector

Position a stepladder under the smoke detector. Locate the battery compartment door on the unit. Some have a narrow door on the side that you push with your finger to open. Other smoke detectors have a snap-on cover that you simply pull off to access the battery door.

Remove the batteries from the smoke detector and install new batteries. Depending upon the smoke detector you might need AA batteries, AAA batteries or a 9-volt battery.

Dust around the smoke detector with a feather duster to remove any dust build up that may interfere with the operation of the smoke detector.

Remove the smoke detector from the mounting plate, if the chirping does not stop after using the previous methods. Most detectors only require that you turn them a quarter-turn counterclockwise to remove them from the base.

Pull the wire connectors out of the top of the smoke detector, if you have a smoke detector that is hardwired to the house electrical system. The wires use simple plug-in connectors. Look for an expiration date on the side or top of the smoke detector. Chances are that the expiration date has passed, requiring that the smoke detector be replaced.

Take the battery out of the smoke detector, if it is a hard wired unit. The battery is a back-up and the alarm will sound if the battery is left in the unit.

Replace smoke detectors with the same model, especially when you replace hardwired units. This will enable you to remount the smoke detector without having to perform any electrical work.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some detectors have reset buttons. Simply push in the button to reset the detector after you have changed the bateries.
  • Never take down a smoke detector without replacing it. Many homeowner insurance policies, as local fire laws, require smoke detectors.

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