Fire Alarm Keeps Going Off? Here’s What To Do - AlfredCamera Blog (2023)

Picture the scene: you’re totally knocked out in bed after a long day. Suddenly, a loud beeping shocks you out of your sleep. It’s the hideous tones of a fire alarm going off at 3am.

Your immediate thought is to get out of the house, but, bleary-eyed and buzzed on adrenaline, you notice that there is no fire.

A phantom fire alarm going off randomly at night is a pain we’ve all experienced. Worse still, when they start, they don’t seem to want to stop.

Thankfully for you, it’s a nightmare you won’t be experiencing much more of anytime soon. Find out all you need to know about fire alarms, including how to turn off smoke alarms, how to check and replace a fire alarm battery, and what to do when a carbon monoxide detector is going off.

Table of Contents

How to Turn off Fire Alarm

If there’s clearly no smoke, a smoke detector chirping or flashing red is a sign of a false alarm. How you turn it off depends on the model.

The vast majority, however, will feature a single button on the front panel, regardless of whether it is a standalone (battery powered) model or a hardwired model.

Step 1

Press and hold the hush button on the front panel of the alarm for at least 10 seconds. For most models on the market, it will be the only visible button on the system and may be labeled ‘test’ or ‘silencer’.

(Video) Ethical hacker shows us how easily smart devices can be hacked and give access to your personal info

Holding this single button for different time periods can have different functions depending on the model, so consult the instruction manual of your model if you still have it. But, generally, this is how to reset a smoke alarm.

Step 2

The alarm should silence unless there is smoke. If it continues to beep, quickly investigate the surrounding area and evacuate your home safely should you notice a fire.

The only object you should consider bringing with you is a phone, so that you can call the fire brigade from a safe space, but do not hunt for it; if it isn’t on your person at the time, it’s better to have a neighbor call emergency services.

Step 3

The alarm will reset itself after a period of five to ten minutes depending on the model. During the hush period, check the area for smoke, debris, or other compounds nearby that might be causing a false alarm.

Opening nearby windows and blowing out any candles can help to ventilate the area.

Under no circumstances should you ever remove the fire alarm battery or cut the power source to it. Even if you suspect false alarms or a faulty model, having smoke detectors in your home is vital—even a faulty model is better than none at all.

If your fire alarm keeps going off, consider some of the possible reasons for false alarms below.

5 Most Common Reasons for False Alarms

1. Dead fire alarm battery

Contrary to what you might imagine, fire alarms function by emitting a constant electric current to a sensor. When smoke obscures that current, the alarm will sound. Given how they function, the most common reason for a false alarm is a dead or almost-dead smoke detector battery.

Without holding it, press the button on the front of the panel to test the battery; if the alarm sounds loudly and clearly, it’s good to go. If there is no sound, or the alarm is quiet, slurred, or bending in pitch, it’s time to replace the battery. Every 6 months is a logical replacement period to make a habit of.

(Video) Turn Old Smartphones into Security Cameras with Motion Detection FREE Alfred

2. Too close to the kitchen

A conundrum that continues to plague fire safety in the home is that the kitchen is by far the most likely place for a fire to break out, yet it isn’t advisable to have a smoke detector in there because cooking will regularly set off false alarms.

Don’t fit them in kitchens or bathrooms,’ says Mark Hazelton, Group Manager for Community Safety with the London Fire Bridge. ‘Do fit a heat detector in your kitchen.’

Whether you’re prone to burning your toast or not, it’s not wise to have a smoke detector in the kitchen. A heat detector can be a great way to get around the issue.

Rather than sounding when smoke cuts the electrical current, heat alarms sound when the temperature they detect goes beyond a set threshold. Likewise, carbon monoxide detectors should also be installed in kitchens. Heat detectors, however, must only be used as part of a system rather than standalone. They will not suffice without smoke alarms elsewhere.

3. Too close to the bathroom

Having a smoke detector installed either in the bathroom or right outside isn’t a wise idea either, especially if you enjoy a long shower. Rising steam from hot water will easily trigger the alarm, regardless of how well ventilated the bathroom is.

Not to mention, fire alarms aren’t generally waterproofed, and moisture from steam can damage the circuitry. Thankfully, bathrooms aren’t exactly known for having fires break out in them, but if you are the type that likes a romantic candle-lit bath, make sure to never leave a flame unattended.

4. Chemical compounds, insects, and dust

Although less common (and therefore much harder to deal with), there are certain airborne chemical compounds that could trigger a false alarm. Fire alarms have come a long way in terms of functionality, so this is highly unlikely to be the case. But if you have recently painted, there’s a chance the compounds used to keep the paint wet could be causing the electrical current to break.

(Video) WEIRDEST THINGS CAUGHT ON SECURITY CAMERAS!

Similarly, if the opening to the chamber is wide enough for bugs to crawl inside, they probably will. Insects and accumulations of dust can interfere with both photoelectric and ionization detectors, so consider opening the cover to take a look inside—it may just need a little cleaning!

5. Faulty product

If even after replacing the battery and moving the alarm your fire alarm keeps going off, it may be time to buy a new one.

While fire alarms should, in theory, undergo rigorous testing before being released to the market, there’s a chance you could have bought a faulty one with a weak electrical current, thus making it impossible to turn the alarm off.

If your alarm is more than ten years old, its sensitivity is likely indicative of its age.

Now that you know why there might be false alarms, it’s time to know how these products work.

How Do Smoke Alarms Work?

There are two main types of smoke alarm: ionization detectors and photoelectric detectors. What are the differences, and how do they work?

Ionization Detectors

Ionization detectors, the older and more common alarm, use a small piece of radioactive material that ionizes (charges) the air between two plates. This creates a current that constantly flows. Particles entering the alarm will cause the current to weaken; the presence of smoke will reduce it below a threshold, essentially breaking the current and causing the alarm to sound.

Photoelectric Detectors

Photoelectric technology is newer and growing in popularity. Though it doesn’t use radioactive material, the premise is similar. A light beam is shone inside the sensing chamber, which won’t strike the detector should the chamber be free of particles. If smoke is present, the amount of light reflected onto the detector will pass a threshold, causing the alarm to sound.

(Video) Raspberry Pi Surveillance Monitor v2

Which Should I Use?

The NFPA actually recommends installing both types of alarm for maximum protection because, thanks to their different technologies, they have different strengths.

Ionization Detectors are more responsive to flaming fires (i.e. fires with lots of black soot, which will quickly disrupt the current), while Photoelectric Detectors are more responsive to smoldering fires, which produce larger, lighter colored (i.e. more reflective) particles than flaming fires.

Both will work just fine in both circumstances, but since there is evidence to suggest they have these different strengths, a combination of alarms would be ideal if possible.

Affordable Alarms Available on Amazon

Kidde Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detector

Fire Alarm Keeps Going Off? Here’s What To Do - AlfredCamera Blog (1)

A battery-powered smoke and CO detector, this failsafe option from well-regarded alarm experts Kidde is affordable and robust. Its alarm is a little unusual, with a voice stating either ‘Fire! Fire’, ‘Warning! Carbon Monoxide!’, or ‘Low Battery!’. Well, at least there won’t be any confusion as to what it’s trying to communicate!

Ecoey Smoke Alarm

Fire Alarm Keeps Going Off? Here’s What To Do - AlfredCamera Blog (2)

This simple to use photoelectric smoke alarm comes with up to 8 alarms, allowing for maximum coverage of even the largest of properties. Batteries means you don’t need to worry about a power outage in the event of a fire. Alarms are smaller than the average alarm on the market, making them a little less unsightly, and the alarm sounds loudly, clocking in at 85db.

X-Sense Wireless Interconnected Smoke Detector

Fire Alarm Keeps Going Off? Here’s What To Do - AlfredCamera Blog (3)

Though it’s a little pricier than the average fire alarm, the modern features that this model has make it easy to see why. Available in packs with up to 12 alarms, X-Sense’s palm-sized wireless smoke alarms are linked out of the box, so that when one alarm detects smoke, all of them will sound. They feature a modern design that’s insect proof.

BRK Heat Alarm

Fire Alarm Keeps Going Off? Here’s What To Do - AlfredCamera Blog (4)

Since a fire is more likely to start in the kitchen than any other room in the house, a heat alarm is the only way to monitor it without experiencing constant false alarms.

BRK’s will sound an 85db siren if it detects either a temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit or a temperature increase of more than 15 degrees Fahrenheit in under a minute—both of which strongly indicate the presence of a fire. It markets itself as hardwired, but will function solely on its battery backup.

Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detector

Fire Alarm Keeps Going Off? Here’s What To Do - AlfredCamera Blog (5)

Having a carbon monoxide detector in your home is just as important as having a smoke or heat alarm. Having all three makes for a much safer home. CO is a silent killer: you can’t see it, smell it, or hear it, so the only way to accurately detect dangerous levels of it is through a detector. This one plugs into the wall, but also features battery-backup for power failures.

FAQ

Why does my fire alarm keep going off?

False alarms can be caused by dead or dying batteries, poor placement (in or next to kitchens and bathrooms), or airborne chemical compounds, like those that are released from wet paint.

What to do if your fire alarm keeps going off?

Holding down the main button on the fire alarm for at least ten seconds should silence it, but this is only a temporary fix. It will reset after a few minutes. In that time, replace batteries or move the alarm to a new location, away from steam. Never remove the batteries for the purpose of silencing it.

Who to call if fire alarm keeps going off?

If your fire alarm is going off, there is, obviously, a chance of a fire–in which case, the fire brigade should be called immediately from a safe location outside the property. If false alarms are continuing to no avail, you can also call the fire brigade directly and arrange an assessment, or have a professional come round to take a look at the alarm. If it continuously goes off, it may be time to replace it.

Why is my smoke detector beeping?

The majority of smoke detectors function by sending a constant electrical current that prevents the alarm from sounding. As soon as that current is broken (presumably by smoke), the alarm will sound. Hence, dying batteries can cause a smoke alarm to beep, as well as objects like candles, steam from a bathroom, and other airborne chemical compounds.

(Video) Alfred DIY Security Camera

Conclusion

With more than a quarter of reported fires occurring in the home, fire safety in the home is of utmost importance when it comes to improving your overall home safety and security. Combining smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide alarms covers all your bases, so that you can feel more at ease in your home.

A fire alarm that keeps going off is a nuisance, but removing the battery outright is extremely ill-advised. Check for other causes of false alarms, which in most cases will be a dying battery; otherwise, replace the alarm itself. Never go without a fire alarm.

Recommended reading: Spotting Gas Leak Symptoms and Staying Safe

FAQs

What to do if my fire alarm keeps going off for no reason? ›

First, try the reset button on each smoke alarm. If that doesn't work, flipping the circuit breaker off and back on might stop the noise. If all of that fails, your ultimate solution may be to disconnect the smoke alarms and remove their batteries one by one.

What should you do when a continuous fire alarm is sound? ›

If there is a continuous fire alarm, evacuate to the fire as- sembly point as indicated on fire action notices. Do not re-enter the building unless told it is safe by the fire response team or fire and rescue service.

Why did my fire alarm go off in the middle of the night and then stop? ›

This battery characteristic can cause a smoke alarm to enter the low battery chirp mode when air temperatures drop. Most homes are the coolest between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. That's why the alarm may sound a low-battery chirp in the middle of the night, and then stop when the home warms up a few degrees.

How do you stop a hardwired smoke detector from going off? ›

To stop a smoke alarm, press and hold the reset button in the middle of the alarm. If you don't know which box triggered the alarm, hold the reset button on all of them. If that doesn't work, you'll need to disconnect its power source. For a hardwired alarm, turn off the main circuit breaker in your house.

Does a fire alarm go off for carbon monoxide? ›

Some smoke alarms also double as carbon monoxide detectors.

Can hot air set off smoke detector? ›

Temperature. Certain fire alarms are sensitive to heat and will go off if they sense a change in temperature (in fact, most fire alarms are a combination of heat- and smoke-activated).

What actions should you take on hearing an intermittent alarm? ›

Intermittent Fire Alarm

you will need to evacuate. Evacuation may be required from this area.

What does a continues fire alarm mean? ›

Continuous. If the alarm is continuous then the. activation is in your area. Get to the fire panel and check the area investigate to see if it is a real fire or not. Page 10.

Is setting off a fire alarm a criminal Offence? ›

Tampering with fire alarm systems is a criminal offence and the fire authorities may decide to prosecute you.

What causes false fire alarm in house? ›

But most smoke detectors are instead designed to go off when their electrical current goes down. That's because smoke in the air will reduce the current. If your battery is dying, the current that's flowing through your sensor also goes down. And so you can get a false positive.

Why are all my hard wired smoke alarms going off? ›

Dust or other debris on the sensor. Spiders or insects taking refuge inside the alarm (Ugh) Humidity, including steam from your shower (And you thought a middle-of-the-night malfunction was bad!) Electrical system malfunctions or dead batteries.

How do you detect carbon monoxide? ›

The best method of detection is to use a carbon monoxide detector in your home. A carbon monoxide detector is a device very similar to a smoke alarm. It monitors the air for carbon monoxide and sounds an alarm if a specific level is detected.

Can you unplug a hard wired smoke detector? ›

Many people consider it a difficult job to do. Most people ask themselves, “can I remove a hardwired smoke detector?” The answer is you can! If you have to stop the hard-wired smoke detectors from beeping, you must unplug them from the clip and remove the battery.

Where is the hush button on a smoke detector? ›

In most cases, you can find the 'hush' button on the smoke detector's cover.

Where is the reset button on a hard wired smoke detector? ›

How to reset smoke detector & make it stop beeping & chirping ... - YouTube

What are two warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning? ›

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you.

How can you tell if there is carbon monoxide in your house? ›

Carbon monoxide gas is colourless and does not smell, so you cannot tell if it is around you.
...
Check if you have carbon monoxide poisoning
  • headache.
  • dizziness.
  • feeling sick or being sick.
  • feeling weak.
  • confusion.
  • chest and muscle pain.
  • shortness of breath.

How do I know if my fire alarm detects carbon monoxide? ›

Emergency carbon monoxide (CO) alarm: 4 loud beeps, repeating.

Why does my smoke alarm keep going off early in the morning? ›

Power interruptions are common in areas where utility companies switch grids in the early hours of the morning. In AC or AC/DC smoke alarms, a loose hot wire connection can intermittently disconnect power to the smoke alarm. The effect is the same as a power failure. When power is restored, the units may alarm briefly.

How long does a smoke alarm go off for? ›

The smoke alarm will automatically reset after approximately 8 minutes unless particles of combustion are still present. The “Hush” feature can be used repeatedly until the air has been cleared of the condition causing the alarm. Pushing the Test/Hush button on the alarm will end the hush period.

What should you do when you hear a fire alarm during lab put the following steps in order? ›

What to do if you hear the fire alarm
  1. Evacuate the building immediately see university policy 851.03.01.
  2. Follow the directions of the Fire Wardens for your building.
  3. Notify other occupants to leave the building.
  4. Close all doors behind you if it is safe to do so.
  5. Do not use any elevators.

When should you dial 2222 in relation to fire alarm activations? ›

If a fire is reported to you – you MUST ring 2222 immediately and notify the Security staff of this so that they can inform the Fire and Rescue Service. Failure to do so will mean the Fire and Rescue Service are delayed in arriving at the building.

What can set off a fire alarm? ›

To help you better understand how smoke alarms work, here are the top causes of smoke detector false alarms.
  • Burnt Food. Sometimes your cooking may produce smoke, which activates the smoke alarm. ...
  • Fireplaces. ...
  • High Humidity and Steam. ...
  • Insects. ...
  • Dust, Dirt and Environmental Smoke. ...
  • Low Batteries or Time to Replace.

When should you shout a fire alarm NHS? ›

If you discover or even suspect a fire, then you need to raise the alarm immediately. This is so that everyone can get to safety before the fire escalates in seriousness.

What responsibilities do all staff have during a fire incident? ›

They should make sure that their escape route is never compromised by the fire, as well as ensuring they are confident that they understand the fire type and adjacent risks. Similarly, they should retreat if, despite their best efforts, the fire continues to grow.

How much is the fine for setting off a fire alarm? ›

LFB said the £290 fine would not affect domestic properties or care homes. During the last financial year there were 25,550 attendances to false alarms at non-residential or other buildings, costing the brigade about £37m.

How much does the fire department charge for a false alarm UK? ›

The fines, implemented by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) will be set at £290 for over 10 false alarm call-outs and will not apply to domestic properties or care homes.

Which is least likely to trigger a smoke detector into creating a false alarm? ›

These new detectors involve three different sensing modes which act together to filter out false alarms from a real fire. They should not react to aerosols, steam, or dust particles for example.

Can humidity trigger smoke alarm? ›

High humidity levels, steam and condensation may cause false alarms.

How long does it take to show signs of carbon monoxide poisoning? ›

You may lose balance, vision and memory and even consciousness. This can happen within 2 hours if there's a lot of carbon monoxide in the air. The smaller an animal or person is, the faster they'll be affected. Pets are often the first to show symptoms.

How can I test my house for carbon monoxide without a detector? ›

You can check for carbon monoxide without a detector by looking for soot stains or yellow marks near appliances. Stale air may also be a sign. Carbon monoxide cannot be detected without a detector, but there are signs you might notice if it is accumulating indoors.

How long does it take to get carbon monoxide poisoning? ›

For instance, a concentration of 400 ppm will cause headaches in 1 to 2 hours. In 3 to 5 hours the same concentration can lead to unconsciousness and death.

Will taking the battery out of a smoke detector stop the beeping? ›

Will taking the battery out of a smoke alarm make it stop beeping? Taking the battery out of a smoke alarm will not make it stop beeping. Even after the battery has died, the detector maintains a residual charge that will keep the chirp going for at least seven days.

Do I need to turn off power to change smoke alarm? ›

In short yes. Hard-wired smoke detectors run directly from a circuit panel should be powered down to change. If they are run in series with other smoke detectors, all should be changed at the same for compatibility.

Will fire alarm go off if unplugged? ›

Based on the residential alarms we have, the individual alarm can still go off as it has an internal battery. Remove the battery after you take it down. It will not set off the rest of the alarm system once you unplug it.

What does a solid green light mean on a smoke detector? ›

Hardwired units will have a steady green LED light to show that it's receiving AC power. Battery-operated units will have a quick flash every 30-45 seconds.

What do you do if your fire alarm keeps going off? ›

First, try the reset button on each smoke alarm. If that doesn't work, flipping the circuit breaker off and back on might stop the noise. If all of that fails, your ultimate solution may be to disconnect the smoke alarms and remove their batteries one by one.

How do I temporarily silence my smoke detector? ›

How to temporarily silence your smoke alarm - YouTube

What happens when you press the test button on a smoke detector? ›

Press and hold the test button on the smoke detector. It can take a few seconds to begin, but a loud, ear-piercing siren should emanate from the smoke detector while the button is pressed. If the sound is weak or nonexistent, replace your batteries.

Do fire alarms go off for carbon monoxide? ›

The Carbon Monoxide Angle

However, the alarm might actually be signaling that something serious is happening. Some smoke alarms also double as carbon monoxide detectors.

Do I need to reset smoke detector after changing battery? ›

Remove the alarm from your ceiling or wall. Open the cover and take out the battery. Press and hold the test button for 15-30 seconds. This will fully reset the smoke alarm and drain any charge left inside.

What causes false fire alarm in house? ›

Here are some other common causes of false smoke alarms: Smoke from burnt food or cooking. Fireplace smoke or outdoor campfires blowing indoors. Steam and High humidity.

What does carbon monoxide alarm sound like? ›

Here's a simple guide: Smoke alarms alert you with three beeps in a row. Carbon monoxide alarms alert you with four beeps. A single chirp means the battery is low or the detector should be replaced.

Why does my smoke detector keep beeping even after I change the battery? ›

When you change the batteries on your smoke detector, it may chirp for up to 10 seconds. This chirping is normal and signals that the device is receiving fresh power. The same thing may happen to hardwired alarms when you turn on the device's power.

What can set off a false fire alarm? ›

Here are seven of the most common causes of smoke alarm malfunction.
  1. Smoke detector placement. It doesn't take a lot of smoke to trigger the alarm. ...
  2. Overcooked food. ...
  3. Steam or high humidity. ...
  4. Pesky insects. ...
  5. A buildup of dust. ...
  6. Strong chemicals nearby. ...
  7. The batteries need to be changed.
4 Apr 2019

What is the most common cause of false alarms? ›

Excessive dust, spider webs, and loose sensors and detectors can all be the source of false alarms.

Why does my smoke alarm keep going off early in the morning? ›

Power interruptions are common in areas where utility companies switch grids in the early hours of the morning. In AC or AC/DC smoke alarms, a loose hot wire connection can intermittently disconnect power to the smoke alarm. The effect is the same as a power failure. When power is restored, the units may alarm briefly.

How long does it take to get carbon monoxide poisoning? ›

For instance, a concentration of 400 ppm will cause headaches in 1 to 2 hours. In 3 to 5 hours the same concentration can lead to unconsciousness and death.

What can falsely set off a carbon monoxide detector? ›

A carbon monoxide (CO) detector false alarm may be caused by a few things including its proximity to fuel-burning appliances, exposure to humidity, or the low quality of the device itself. As the detector works to keep you and your home safe, the slightest environmental changes may cause more worry than peace of mind.

How do I know if my smoke alarm detects carbon monoxide? ›

Emergency carbon monoxide (CO) alarm: 4 loud beeps, repeating.

Where is the hush button on a smoke detector? ›

In most cases, you can find the 'hush' button on the smoke detector's cover.

Will taking the battery out of a smoke detector stop the beeping? ›

Removing the battery will also stop it being a smoke alarm any longer, so your best course of action here would be to just change the battery while you're at it. If you have a wired smoke alarm, the chirping can be a sound of a low backup battery.

Can you unplug a hard wired smoke detector? ›

Many people consider it a difficult job to do. Most people ask themselves, “can I remove a hardwired smoke detector?” The answer is you can! If you have to stop the hard-wired smoke detectors from beeping, you must unplug them from the clip and remove the battery.

Videos

1. Turn Your Firestick Into A Home Surveillance System | Add your IP cameras to Your Firestick For Free
(Triple M)
2. How To use an old phone as a home security camera for free
(How To Do It All)
3. How to find hidden cameras in Hotel rooms and Airbnbns
(NoSpy)
4. How to view your Security Cameras on an Amazon Fire Stick
(Nelly's Security)
5. How To Use Your Smartphone to See Through Walls! Superman's X-ray Vision Challenge
(The Action Lab)
6. 4 Smartphone Spy Hacks YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW (Awesome Spy Apps)
(JLaservideo)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Neely Ledner

Last Updated: 01/22/2023

Views: 6012

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (42 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Neely Ledner

Birthday: 1998-06-09

Address: 443 Barrows Terrace, New Jodyberg, CO 57462-5329

Phone: +2433516856029

Job: Central Legal Facilitator

Hobby: Backpacking, Jogging, Magic, Driving, Macrame, Embroidery, Foraging

Introduction: My name is Neely Ledner, I am a bright, determined, beautiful, adventurous, adventurous, spotless, calm person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.