Electric Smoke Detector Won't Stop Beeping

It can drive you to distraction, the constant unexplainable beeping of an electric smoke detector. Often it just needs the battery replaced but it may be a signal that it needs greater attention. This is a page about troubleshooting ideas when an electric smoke detector won't stop beeping.

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July 1, 2015

I had the same issue. My detector beeped loudly once a minute; and another one beeped once a minute, so beeps were heard every 30 seconds from 2 detectors. I vacuumed the units, turned off circuit breaker, disconnected wire unit from detectors, replaced batteries, held test button with battery out and then with battery in. None of this helped. All detectors had green solid light. I tried to solve all day and got a headache of course.

Finally (and this is noted by others too), I checked my plug-in (stand alone, not connected/wired to house or to smoke detectors) carbon monoxide detector (Kiddie brand, bought about 3 years ago; smoke detectors came with new house, now about 8 years old). I had just quickly plugged the carbon detector units into outlets and forgot about them. The carbon monoxide detector was going off! It had a red light flashing. My second carbon monoxide detector (Kiddie, same as this one) was NOT alarming and had steady green light! I unplugged the flashing carbon detector and INSTANTLY all smoke detectors were quiet Yikes! There was no carbon monoxide, I'm not sure why it went off.

So I'd suggest if you have wired/electrical smoke detectors to try unplugging various other things; sensor lights, alarms, small appliances, anything recently plugged in, etc. It might not make sense but it's an easy quick thing to try before trying complicated or expensive solutions, and to avoid headaches! Good luck!

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58 Questions

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March 31, 2011

I have detached the smoke detector from the ceiling electrical contact, but the chirping continues without stopping.

By andria batarseh from San Diego, CA


December 27, 20084 found this helpful
Best Answer

There are two "types" of smoke detectors. One type detects smoke and the other type "sees" fire. Either of these 2 units do not have a long life span only about 5-7 years. Just because the smoke detectors "beeps" does NOT prove the smoke detectors are in functioning order. The only way to test the smoke detectors is going outside and lighting a fire (log, newspaper etc.) away from any buildings and then slowing bring the smoke detector near the smoke and flame to hear if the smoke detector alarms. If no alarm sounds the smoke detector must be thrown away and a new one purchased, usually less than $10.00. More than 5,000 people die each year in house fires, most could be avoided if the smoke detector worked. PLEASE check all of the detectors in our house. Your life is worth more than a few bucks.

P.S. Where is your fire extinguisher? It should be placed near the exit of your house or work. NOT IN THE KITCHEN! If the fire is in the kitchen how would you reach the fire extinguisher? As you are exiting the building and the fire extinguisher is near the exit and you believe you can put the fire out then use the fire extinguisher at hand. Remember this acronym - PPS Pull the pin, Point the nozzle, Pull the handle, Sweep the base of the fire. If the fire is not contained get the heck out of the building, NOTHING in the building is worth your life.

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By Karen (Guest Post)
January 7, 20093 found this helpful
Best Answer

Here is some detailed help for those of us who are "mechanically challenged."

First, check your carbon monoxide (CO2) detector, if you have one, to make sure it is not the one beeping. (If it is, open windows to air out the house and get some help to fix the problem.)

Second, make sure the temperature in your home is within the tolerable range for your detector. (Mine has to be above 40 degrees F, and below 100 degrees.)

Third, change the battery. (Some steps below may not apply to your smoke detector, but hopefully this list will help anyway.)

How to change the battery:

Look where the alarm is attached to the wall, and remove the little plastic "stick" that is stopping the alarm from being turned, if present. (Mine had one in a slot on the right side. It just pulled off.)

Turn alarm in the direction of the arrows on the front of smoke detector. (Mine only turned a tiny bit, clockwise, then I had to pull the alarm straight away from the wall.)

It may be connected still by wires to the wall (or to a hole in the wall actually.) Squeeze both sides of the plastic piece where the wires come out of the back of the alarm and pull straight away from the alarm to remove the plastic "plug" holding the wires.

Now, hopefully, you can open the battery door to change the battery. My battery compartment had a piece of plastic (like a stick) on a spring that popped up when battery was removed. I had to push the plastic stick down into the battery compartment, then push the new battery on top of it so the battery door would close.

If it still beeps after you change the battery, try flipping the battery over. If it still beeps, try a different, new battery, and try it flipped over if needed.

If it still beeps then you may have to buy a can of compressed air to blow the dust out, OR buy a new smoke detector, whichever is cheaper/easier.

I hope this helps others to avoid the hassle I had to figure out how to change the stupid battery. Mine is still beeping so I'll try the compressed air or buy a new smoke detector once it is daylight.

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April 5, 2011

When you have put new batteries in your electric smoke alarms and they won't quit beeping who do you call for a problem like this? Or what can you do?

By Lynda Beyers from Bloomington, IN


April 5, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

Depending on the model, if the "test" button hasn't been used in 6 months to a year it will continually beep until you do the monthly test. I had this same problem a while back, and it worked like a charm!

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April 5, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

Are they older than 12 years? Most manufacturers say replace them after 10-12 years. Are the vents clean of all dust and bugs? If they are hardwired, you may need to reset your breaker (off and back on) or hit the reset button on the alarm. If all else fails, replace them. I am a firefighter, and too many times have heard people say they disconnected them instead of replacing them, sadly, they tell us as we are fighting their house fire.

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April 8, 20111 found this helpful
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My friend had that problem and had to call fire dept hers just went off in middle of the night it turned out it was the wiring, it did take the fireman quite a bit of time to figure that out and they said they learned from coming out to her home.
Good luck to you.

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January 30, 2014

My hardwired smoke detector is going off at the interval of every few hours. When one started the other two followed. All three are over 10 years old?

By Monica T.


January 30, 20141 found this helpful
Best Answer

All smoke detectors are supposed to be replaced about every 8-10 years, so you're due. New smoke detectors run about $5-$20, so it's not too bad, even for 3. I'm sure the fire department has a program to help if needed.

Some smoke detectors do take a 9-volt battery that can be replaced, but those usually chirp when the battery needs to be replaced - not go off. Even those should be swapped out every 10 years, so I'd still recommend replacement.

Another thing that can make some smoke detectors go off is if they get a lot of dust in them.

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January 30, 20142 found this helpful
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It is time to replace them. I am a fire fighter and depending on the type, they are to be replaced every 8-12 years.

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May 14, 2011

My hardwired smoke detector keeps beeping. I tried turning off all breakers, but it still beeps. I tried vacuuming the unit and wiping, that didn't help. It beeps about every 60 seconds. I disconnected the detector from the wiring, but it still beeps from the hardwired sensor. How can I get it to stop?

By Wayne L


May 16, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

Some hard wired smoke detectors have a battery in them for back up if there is a power failure. If the battery is running low the smoke detector will start making a chirping sound just as you described.

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August 6, 2012

I have a beeping smoke alarm without a battery. I want it to stop beeping, what do I do? I have turned the power off and I have disconnected the plug from the back of the alarm, but it still won't stop beeping. What can I do?

By B C


August 7, 20121 found this helpful
Best Answer

Fixed the same problem thanks to my volunteer fireman neighbor. Vacuum the works. It probably does not even look like it needs it. New battery and you should be rid of the problem.

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May 25, 2011

There's about 6 fire alarms in my house. One alarm started going off then, all the other ones went off for about 30min. Finally it all stopped, but then started again. Now that all the beeping stopped, one continues to beep every minute.

I changed the battery and it still beeps, so I flipped the battery figuring it was in backwards. The darn thing still beeps, I pushed the test button and that didn't work. I don't know what else to do, and I need some sleep. I'd cut the power, but it's my grandparents house so I don't want to do anything I'd get in trouble for. Any advice would help.

By Rose M.


May 25, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had the same problem with a fire alarm in our two bedroom apartment that continually beeped in our living room. One of the maintenance men had to remove the alarm and install another one.

It's not always the battery, maybe the alarms need to replaced with new ones. The alarms in your grandparents home are probably the original ones.

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April 25, 2011

My smoke alarm keeps beeping every 20 seconds. The battery cannot be changed for life of product. I have blown it out, but it still beeps, what more can I do?

By rick carrigan from Wales, UK


April 25, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

You need to clean it out with a dry wash cloth then find away to change the battery or get a new one.

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November 9, 2011

Do all hard wired smoke detectors have batteries? Mine was chirping on and off and when I went up to open and see there was no battery. Is that normal?

By Elly


November 10, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you don't have a user manual, use the manufacturer and model number. Go online and search their web site to see if/where the battery is. Also there may be a help line you can call.

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June 5, 2012

I have a hard wired smoke detector with battery backup. It starts beeping (not loud and not the same sound as the fire detector sound) every 24 hours. It goes on for about 30 beeps. Anyone know what's going on with it?

By Dave


June 6, 20121 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try changing the backup batteries. They are probably nearly dead and the beeping is the warning to change them.

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