I often receive calls from homeowners with questions about their smoke detectors. Even though smoke detectors are one of the first lines of defense for our families, they are often pushed to the back of our minds – until one starts beeping. Below are a few questions that might help you next time you have a problem with your smoke detector.
WHAT is that chirping noise and HOW do I stop it?!
If you occasionally hear a chirping noise, or maybe you hear it all the time now, this is most likely a smoke detector reminding you to change the battery; it is recommended to change the battery approximately once a year. Other factors that may cause unwanted alarms are dust and insects in the detector or power interruptions in hardwired detectors. The detector is designed to chirp once a minute for seven days if the battery needs to be replaced.
Aren’t my smoke detectors wired in? Why do they have a battery?
True, they are wired in electrically; however they are backed by a battery to ensure that smoke detectors still function in the event that the electrical service is interrupted or fails.
Does it matter what battery I use?
Yes. Use a standard 9 Volt battery. Most detectors accept the following types as replacements: Duracell #MN1604, (Ultra) #MX1604; Eveready (Energizer) #522. Use quality batteries like lithium. Never use rechargeable batteries because they may not always provide a consistent charge. These batteries are available at many local retail stores.
How do I change the battery?
It will vary with different smoke detectors. The brand should be labeled on the face of the detector or on the inside, and the owner’s manual can be found online. Most brands will have a side or front load battery carrier.
For the brand Kiddie, press down on the battery carrier and then release to allow the carrier to pop open. The battery can then be pulled out of the carrier. When installing a new battery into the carrier, make sure the battery terminals are exposed and that the polarity matches the markings printed on the battery carrier. Completely press the battery carrier down into the alarm and release, the battery carrier will lock into the closed position.
For the brand First Alert, the battery has a side load drawer. If the battery compartment is locked, refer to the owner’s manual for directions to unlock and lock the battery compartment.
I have installed new batteries and the chirping persists. What do I do now?
Be sure to evaluate all smoke detectors, as they will most likely need battery replacement around the same time. If you have replaced the battery, and it is the same smoke detector, it may need to be replaced due to malfunction. Most smoke detectors can be purchased at local retail stores. Your Betenbough home warranty covers the smoke detector within one year of your closing date.
Will it void my warranty to replace the battery or replace the smoke detector completely?
No. It will not void your electrical warranty to replace the battery or the entire smoke detector. The electrical wiring will not be interrupted if you install a new smoke detector of the same brand on the compatible wall mount. Refer to the same brand and model number, which can be located on the smoke detector.