Intermittent Smoke Detector Beeping: Why It Happens and How to Make It Stop

Posted on: July 30, 2015

Smoke alarms are an important safety measure to protect your family and home from fire. You should have at least one installed on every floor. Unfortunately, a smoke detector beeping intermittently is a major irritant, disturbing your sleep and alarming your children and pets.

However, you should never permanently disconnect a smoke alarm to stop it from beeping. Instead, figure out the cause behind a beeping smoke detector and work to solve the problem. We can help!

Common Reasons for Constant Smoke Detector Beeping

  • Low battery: This is the most common reason for a smoke detector to beep, but luckily there’s an easy and affordable solution. Simply replace the old battery and carefully install a new one. You can avoid the beeping altogether if you make it a habit to change the batteries once a year, such as on January 1 or at the start of a new school year. Note that rechargeable batteries don’t work well in smoke detectors.
  • Dust or cobwebs: Smoke alarms are sensitive instruments, and debris can block smoke-detecting sensors. Intermittent smoke detector beeping occurs to alert you to the problem. Use a handheld blower—the kind used to clean computer keyboards—to blow dust and cobwebs off the smoke detector. A vacuum with a brush attachment will also work well to suck up debris.
  • Temperature fluctuations: Some smoke detectors are liable to go off if they come in contact with steam from a hot shower or food cooking on the stove. To avoid these false alarms, have your smoke detectors installed away from the kitchen and bathroom.

When Is It Time for a Smoke Detector Replacement?

If you just cleaned your fire alarm and replaced the battery yet the intermittent beeping continues, this could be a sign it’s time for a smoke detector replacement. These devices typically only last 8 to 10 years. If you’re not sure how old your smoke detector is, remove it from the wall or ceiling and check the manufacturing date on the reverse side to see if old age could be the cause of the malfunction.

If you just moved into an older home in Florida and start to hear intermittent smoke detector beeping, we recommend replacing it immediately. Contact Hoffman Electrical to get a high-quality smoke detector expertly installed by our licensed electricians, serving the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas since 1989.