What to Do if My Smoke Detector Keeps Beeping? Is it My Security System?
Hearing repeated beeping from your smoke detector is both alarming and bothersome. One of the biggest confusions around smoke detectors is where the beeping is coming from and how you make it stop. Many households today include a smoke detector in every room, and if a security system is installed, may include both Monitored and Unmonitored smoke detectors. Both tools make beeping noises to let you know something within the device needs attention. So, if your security keypad isn’t making a noise, it’s most likely coming from the smoke detector. But, how do you tell which one is the problem? We've got your answers below.
Your Smoke Detector is Probably Not Attached to Your Security System
The security system is a genius. It’s compatible with different security devices for added layers of protection. From HD video cameras to motion sensors, a range of products exist to keep you and your families safe. But, more than likely your smoke detector isn't connected to your security keypad. That means, if your smoke detector starts to beep, your alarm company won't have the option to make it stop. Let's take a look at how smoke detectors operate.
How Smoke Detectors Protect You From Fire
Maybe one of the most inexpensive pieces of security equipment, smoke detectors save thousands of lives each year. They are so effective at doing their job; it's recommended that every home has at least one on every floor.
Two types of alarms exist: ionization detectors and photoelectric detectors. Inside the ionization detectors are a chamber, two plates, and a source for ionizing radiation. We'll spare you the boring science of positive and negative charges radiating isotopes from the oxygen and nitrogen atoms that pass through the chamber to create a constant, ionized current. What’s important is this current creates a harmonious balance that is only disrupted when smoke enters the chamber. The current between the two plates lowers and triggers the alarm when smoke is present.
Your other choice of detector is photoelectric. Again, we have a lot more science that includes light transmission across a T-shaped chamber. As long as the beam of light can pass over the T-shaped chamber and into the base, your perfectly safe. But, smoke will scatter the light across the chamber. An electrical current is triggered setting off the alarm to warn you smoke is present.
All of these actions happen independently from your security system. Smoke detectors are an individual unit designed to operate on their own. If you're experiencing some beeping, the issue is concentrated to the sensor itself unless you paid to have monitored sensors installed.
Different Kinds of Smoke Detector Beeping
Your smoke alarm has a few different beeping sounds. Here's what each one might mean.
Loud and Continuous
Traditionally, the loud and continuous is indicative of smoke present. It's effectively in alarm mode and will continue until the smoke has cleared. In the event it's activated under a false alarm, these might be the issues:
The battery is loose
The sensor or chamber is loose/dirty
Steam from cooking or humidity from a shower is triggering the alarm
A disruption in electricity has set off the alarm
The detector needs to be replaced
The most common reason for low-sounding chirping is the battery needs replacing. Most alarms will beep every 30 to 60 seconds for about seven days unless you change the battery beforehand. If there is a fresh battery check:
It's not malfunctioning
The Hush feature. Usually, it will beep every 30-40 seconds for about seven minutes if there is something wrong with the Hush feature
There isn't interference with another system nearby
The battery might be loose
The battery is not installed properly
Steam and humidity from the house is entering the chamber
The chamber is dirty and needs cleaning
Electrical issues within the home are causing it to beep
The alarm is reaching the end of its life
How Do I Know if My Smoke Detector is Monitored or Unmonitored?
You can usually tell by the appearance and where the notifications are coming from. The standard, unmonitored smoke detector is either wired to your home’s electricity, is battery powered or both, but IS NOT connected to your home's security keypad. If your unmonitored smoke detector is experiencing issues, you will be notified by the device itself. Additionally, if your unmonitored smoke detector is chirping, you’ve replaced the backup battery and the device is also wired to your home’s electrical circuit, you will need to contact an electrician. If you own a monitored smoke detector, your security keypad will notify you when there is an issue. In both situations, a back-up battery is sometimes installed in case it’s main power source begins to fail. Once again, unmonitored smoke detectors come with your home. So unless you’ve paid your alarm company to install monitored smoke detectors, it is more likely that only unmonitored smoke detectors are present.
Interested in the benefits of a monitored system? Contact NCA Alarms to see how you can protect your loved ones.