| 10 MAY 2017
When installing a fire alarm system, it is important that you install at least one of each of the available types: ionization alarms that are triggered by flaming fires, and photoelectric alarms that are triggered by smoldering fires.
As useful as fire alarm systems may be, they may cause you to panic or lose sleep due to chirping when there is no smoke or fire. It can be quite annoying to have a fire alarm that goes off randomly for no reason. So, what could be the problem, and how do you fix it?
- Retaining Error Conditions
When your alarm begins to chirp randomly without any specific pattern, you should try changing the batteries in the smoke detectors. However, this may not stop the chirping, especially if the detector operates by low-voltage electrical wiring, and only uses the battery for power backup.
These detectors come with an internal processor that stores error codes. If weak batteries trigger the alarm, the error code may be retained even after changing the batteries, causing it to chirp. To fix the problem, you should clear the error by resetting the smoke detector as follows:
- Turn off the electrical power at the circuit breaker
- Unplug the power supply from the detector and remove the battery
- With no source of power, press and hold the test button for 15 to 20 seconds
- Replace the battery and plug in the power supply
- Restore electric power
When power is restored, it should chirp once, but the low-battery sound should have disappeared. To avoid this error in future, make sure to replace old batteries every six months before the low-battery warning.
- Loose or Poorly Installed Batteries
A loose neutral (white) wire can cause an echoing chirp between the units. Loose batteries can also cause problems. So, ensure that your new batteries have a use by date that is four or five years in the future and are properly installed, and make sure the battery compartment door is properly closed. If the detector has been in use for more than 10 years, replace it.
- Dirty Sensing Chamber
Accumulation of dust and insects hiding in the sensing chamber can cause it to chirp. It is good practice to clean the unit every time you change the batteries to reduce the risk of static electricity causing false alarms. The sensing chamber should be cleaned with compressed air or a vacuum cleaner hose, while the outside can be wiped down with a damp cloth.
Chirping consistently at regular intervals may be due to power surges, or interference from other devices in the home that share the same circuit. In the latter case, you should plug the device triggering the chirp into a different wall outlet. Alternatively, you can ask an electrician to change the power line to the smoke detector so it uses a dedicated circuit.