“Why is my smoke alarm beeping when there’s no fire?” Unexplained beeping is irritating, but there’s usually a good reason your smoke alarm is making a sound. It tells you that it’s detected something, or it needs something. Either way, it’s doing its job!
5 reasons your smoke alarm might be chirping
Most irregular smoke alarm sounds fall into two categories: either your alarm chirps at regular intervals, or it goes off all the time and you can’t work out why. Here are the 5 most common reasons for unexpected smoke alarm beeping.
Issue: My smoke alarm is beeping or chirping occasionally. What’s it trying to tell me?
Your smoke alarm might be alerting you that it needs some attention—think of this as smoke alarm self-care! Smoke alarms typically have an end of battery/end of life warning built-in. Check the battery: is it running low? Check the expiry date: is it time to reinstall and update your hardware? Smoke alarms are only guaranteed to last 10 years, so be mindful of the date of installation. Organise for regular smoke alarm maintenance by a qualified provider, who should keep your alarms up to date and working so you don’t have this problem again.
Where is your smoke alarm located? Dust, debris and even insects and spiders can work their way into the alarm and disrupt its normal operation. Any intrusions can interfere with the battery and cause your smoke alarm to beep. Make sure your smoke alarms and the areas around them are cleaned regularly, and keep creepy crawlies away. Once a year, your smoke alarm hardware should be thoroughly vacuumed as part of an annual service.
Get it sorted: If you’re a tenant, speak to your landlord about whether your home is enrolled in a regular service program. If you’re a landlord, you’re responsible for organising regular checks and services and ensuring continued compliance for the smoke alarms in your rental properties. Property Managers have a duty of care to ensure their landlords understand their obligations and maintain ongoing compliance.
Issue: My smoke alarm keeps going off at the drop of a hat. What could be causing it?
Never ignore a beeping smoke alarm! Even if you can’t see it or smell it, there could still be a fire. Smoke alarms can sense things that you can’t, which is why it’s so crucial to keep them in regular working order. If nothing else can explain the beeping, there could be an electrical or hidden fire that you can’t quite pick up. Be prepared to act in case of fire: Here’s a great guide to creating your home fire escape plan.
Smoke alarms are designed to detect the slightest interference. A properly-working alarm is so sensitive that steam or even humidity can set it off! Use bathroom fans when taking a shower, and open windows or use a ventilation fan when cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
5. Something Burning
Detecting smoke is the smoke alarm’s job, so it’s no surprise that it goes off at overdone toast, burnt cooking or your neighbours’ wood fire. At least you know it’s working properly in the event of a real fire! Ventilate the area and the sound will stop when the smoke has cleared.
How to keep your smoke alarms happy: enrol in a ‘set and forget’ safety program
The easiest way to keep smoke alarms working properly is to enrol in a watertight professional program for peace of mind. Detector Inspector’s ‘set and forget’ system automatically maintains annual service appointments, sends entry notifications to tenants, and keeps a detailed digital audit trail for landlords and property managers to fall back on in case of an incident. It’s too easy.
Not clear on what you need to do? You can read up on the responsibilities of tenants and landlords here. The regulations surrounding smoke alarms are complex, which is why you need a professional maintenance service to make sure you’ve covered everything.