You probably have been awakened in the middle of the night by Kidde smoke alarm beeping. It is very annoying to lose your sleep due to a faulty fire alarm that goes off from time to time for no apparent reason. But why? Well, there are several things that can cause this.
Kidde Smoke Alarm Beeping, What's Going On?
In the newer buildings, all the fire alarms in the house are connected to a single 110-volt AC electrical wiring. If any of the fire alarms in such a connection goes off, other alarm units in the house will go off as well. In such a circuit connection, a tripped circuit breaker will trigger Kidde fire alarm beeping. The alarms will continue to beep while running on their backup battery until the power is restored.
What to do: When this happens, you should check all the circuit breakers in the panel box and reset the one that has tripped. This should stop the alarm. However, if the circuit breaker keeps on tripping every now and then, you should have it replaced.
A loose connection in the wiring system can also cause wired smoke detectors to go off. If this is the problem, you should have the wiring of the smoke detectors inspected by a qualified electrician.
Water and Steam
Water is another common cause of Kidde smoke alarm beeping. After taking a hot shower, the steam may rise and get to the smoke detectors. This will be detected as smoke and trigger the fire alarms to go off. However, this problem should not persist for long; the water vapor disperses quickly, hence resetting the alarm. However, there are other types of smoke alarms that will require you to enter a reset command on the keypad for the beeping to stop.
If the roof above where the fire alarm is installed is leaking, the water may get into the alarm and cause damage and corrosion to the detector, hence triggering a false alarm.
What to do: In most cases, this problem can only be solved by replacing the fire alarm system.
Over the years, smoke from cooking food, such as burnt popcorn, has been proven to cause Kidde smoke detector beeping. If this smoke gets to the smoke detectors, it will trigger the alarms to go off. Additionally, the smoke may leave a residue on the unit, hence necessitating a replacement after some time.
What to do: If burnt food has triggered the fire alarms, you should open all the windows and run the fans to ventilate the house and get rid of the smoke. Once this is done, the standard 110-volt detectors will stop beeping. If the smoke alarms are connected to the house security system, you may need to enter the security code using the keypad to silence them. If this problem occurs too often, then your smoke detectors may be located too close to the kitchen and you may need to have them relocated.
In some cases, the false alarm may be triggered by certain paints or using bug sprays too close to the smoke detectors. If some pest control chemicals or paints containing volatile carriers are used too close to the smoke detectors, they may as well trigger the fire alarms to go off.
What to do: If paint or chemical pest control methods are the ones triggering the alarms to go off, you should first ventilate the room to get rid of the fumes and then reset the alarm system using the keypad if they are linked to the house security system.
Poorly Installed or Loose Battery
If the battery connections are not making good contact with the battery, the alarm may go off. This can happen when the battery is shaken loose. If you experience Kidde smoke alarm beeping, but there is no fire, you should also check whether the alarm battery is installed properly and whether it is making a good contact with the contacts.
What to do: To solve the problem, you should remove and then reconnect the battery properly. If the alarm unit has a front-load battery, you should also ensure that the battery compartment is properly closed.
Dirt on the Smoke Alarm Cover
With time, dust and small insects may collect inside the alarm unit, especially within the sensing chamber. Accumulation of this dirt may cause the unit to malfunction, thus triggering a false alarm.
What to do: If this is the problem, the solution would be to clean the chamber. Additionally, the alarm chamber should be cleaned every time the battery is removed to prevent this problem from occurring.
Other Ways to Stop Kidde Smoke Alarm Beeping
Replace the Batteries
To prevent Kidde smoke detector beeping falsely, you should consider changing the batteries in the unit regularly. Basically, it is advisable to replace the batteries with the fresh alkaline cell batteries, rather than the rechargeable type. This is an easy procedure, which you can easily accomplish by yourself. The battery you use on these units should be capable of holding charge for a long period.
Regular Cleaning of the Alarm Units
It is advisable to detach the unit from the wall from time to time and clean it using a vacuum cleaner. While cleaning the unit, you should pay special attention to the space between the back plate and the front cover of the unit. Again, you should be careful not to damage the sensors while cleaning the unit.
Reset the Alarm
Some of the modern models of fire alarms retain certain error conditions. As such, it is advisable to reset the unit every time you carry out a maintenance procedure, such as replacing the battery, on it.
To reset an AC fire alarm unit that has a battery backup, you should:
Cut off the power supply to the unit using the circuit breaker
Disconnect the power cables to the unit and detach it from the wall brackets
Remove the battery and hold the reset button for not less than 15 seconds. This may set off the alarm, but it should go silent in a few seconds.
Reconnect the power cables and reinstall the battery to the unit. The unit will beep once after the battery is properly installed and then go silent.
If the unit is DC only, you should follow the following procedure to reset it:
Remove the battery
Press and hold the reset button for not less than 15 seconds. This may set the alarm off, but it should go silent in a few seconds.
Reinstall the battery properly. The unit may beep once and then go silent.
Replace the Alarm Unit
If none of the remedies mentioned above is restoring the unit to its functional state, the unit may be broken. In such a case, replacing the unit may be the only solution. It is strongly recommended to replace these units every 10 years.