Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

topic posted Sat, February 17, 2007 - 6:26 AM by  Bryan
My house has soke detectors that are wired into the electrical system and also have a battery backup. About a month ago I was cooking and the oven got a little smoky and the smoke detectors went off. Ever since then they will go off at random times for twenty seconds or so. It happens about once a week. This morning they all went off. There was no fire, no smoke, nothing. I had to unhook them all from the wiring to get them to stop. Any ideas why they are going off like this, or how to fix them?
posted by:
  • Unsu...

    Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

    Sat, February 17, 2007 - 7:04 AM
    Sometimes they go off like that to let you know the batteries need replacing (the batteries are a backup incase of a power loss) and other times (depending on the brand) they need to be cleaned.

    If you don't have the manual for them, google up the manufacturer and then look for the model number (you might have to take one apart to get all of the pertinent info) - the manual will tell all.

  • Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

    Mon, February 19, 2007 - 5:53 AM
    You probably have the first generation of hard wired smoke detectors. The first generation smoke detectors had batteries that where builtin and cannot be replaced. The batteries assured that the detectors would work when the power was off. However after a number of years the batteries wore out and when they did the alarm went off to signal that the detector no longer had backup power.

    The only thing that can be done now is to replace them. The new er hard wired detectors have replaceable batteries so this is no longer a problem.

    One funny thing though rather annoying is that if several detectors werer installed in a house at the same time they will often burnout at the same time and all go off at once - once had a client where this happened - all five at the same time.

    Good luck.

    • Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

      Mon, February 19, 2007 - 10:41 AM
      When I worked for a state college in the summer we would go around with compressed air tank (not a can) and blow all the shmootz and dust out of it. This was to keep them from going off regularly. It may be they are first gen, it may be there some stuff in there, or they may be possessed.
      • Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

        Wed, February 28, 2007 - 1:14 AM
        low batteries can be a cause

        poor air circulation can be a cause

        exposure to soot or grease or smoke (even candles or oil lamps or ear candles....)

        placement too close to cooking stoves/ovens, fireplaces, wood stoves--in rare cases strong drafts with dramatic change in temperature
        • Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

          Thu, March 1, 2007 - 6:18 PM
          wow looks like NO one can really read here

          this is some kind of hard wired system with a backup battery

          odds of a rechargable backup battery being worn- low but a possible cause.

          more likely the whole system needs to be reset somehow, once you triggered it, it's electronics got weird for lack of an intelligent sounding answer

          it mgiht get worse- a friend recently moved from a place with a hard wired system that basically went off for a few seconds every 15 minutes or so - for months, and these idiots basically put up with it
          • Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

            Thu, March 1, 2007 - 6:20 PM
            ok Charley did read it.

            id look for some sort of central control anyway
            • Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

              Fri, March 2, 2007 - 7:08 AM
              um,.,,Chris kan reed 2.

              Hey is jackass two words or three??
              • Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

                Fri, March 9, 2007 - 7:34 PM
                sorry Chris, didnt see yers earlier-
                just remember what a thorn will do to your finger...........
                • Unsu...

                  Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

                  Sat, March 10, 2007 - 2:11 AM
                  I've worked with hard wired smoke detectors with battery back ups for a number of years now and those batteries loose their juice more frequently than one might think. I would start the troubleshoot with replacing all the batteries.

                  Dirty smoke detectors usually become overly sensitive to airborne contaminants.......smoke from the toaster, steam from the shower, that sort of thing. Can't say I've ever run into a circumstance where that caused them to go off randomly.

                  Good luck with it!
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    I would replace the detectors

                    Sun, January 16, 2011 - 5:26 PM
                    I would replace the detectors. There is nothing worse than uncertainty with something as important as safety.

                    • Unsu...

                      Re: I would replace the detectors

                      Tue, January 18, 2011 - 6:22 AM
                      I'm going to offer something that threw me off once. My new detector allows you to aim your TV remote at it to check its battery. I've accidently set mine off a time or two when I mis-aimed my remote in a room right next to the hallway where the detector is. Is there a chance that you might have been using a remote when this was going on?

                      Just a thought.
  • Re: Smoke Detectors Going off for no reason

    Sat, January 22, 2011 - 1:22 PM
    Bryan- I've had a lot of experience with this type of smoke detector in some of my units. Here's what I've learned about them:

    1: They need to be cleaned and RESET a few times a year. Resetting a smoke detector can be achieved by holding the test button down for as long as 20 seconds. Clean with canned air.

    2: They shouldn't be installed within 10 feet of a kitchen. Even right outside the kitchen doorway is too close.

    3: Hardwired smoke detectors tell you when they need batteries, which, if you use good ones, isn't very often. Don't forget to reset when you do this.

Recent topics in "DIY - do it yourself"

Topic Author Replies Last Post
Car Signal Possessed? Azeeza 2 January 17, 2016
Jumping a Car Azeeza 8 January 17, 2016
Tempered Glass Douglas 5 December 11, 2015
Hot Water Heater Azeeza 10 October 13, 2015