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Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 179320 4-Sep-2015 01:11
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You are at home having a nice quiet afternoon when the smoke alarm goes off. Not the odd beep every now and then to let you know that the battery is on the way out but the full on screech.

You quickly ascertain that the house is not on fire and nobody has burned the toast. The neighbor's barbie is away in their shed and you can see nothing that can have set the alarm off but it keeps on howling.

This is a serious question, I'd like to know what you would do.


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  Reply # 1379464 4-Sep-2015 02:43
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I took out the battery and off to the shop to get another battery.

I might also take the opportunity to test the other alarms.





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  Reply # 1379465 4-Sep-2015 02:49
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Check its/their expiry date.

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  Reply # 1379482 4-Sep-2015 06:37
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That happened to one of mine. Turns out that some ants had decided to live in it (!)

My house has wooden walls so after replacing the alarm, I made a "moat" of that spray-on residual anti-ant stuff and haven't had the issue since.

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  Reply # 1379485 4-Sep-2015 07:06
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I would go and take it down. If there was anything obvious (like a ant farm etc living in it) then carry out some remedial work (like mentioned above with anti-ant stuff), then go and grab a new one (old one now a ant house can't be trusted I say), and reinstall. 
Job done - go back to enjoying my quiet afternoon of staring blankly at the wall in the lounge 

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  Reply # 1379486 4-Sep-2015 07:18
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We live in an old farmhouse and I have smoke alarms all over the place. We get false alerts all the time. Different things can cause that, like steam from the wetback or just wet weather. I just remove the offending unit, carefully check for smoke, then check the battery, and let it sit for a time. If I get multiple false alarms I replace the unit. 





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  Reply # 1379487 4-Sep-2015 07:20
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Who only has just one detector? I'd see if others also went off when put in the same room.

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  Reply # 1379489 4-Sep-2015 07:33
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Once confirmed there was no issue.  Replace the detector forthwith.  Detector type may need looking at if it keeps providing false alerts.   




Always be yourself, unless you can be Batman, then always be the Batman



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  Reply # 1379490 4-Sep-2015 07:35
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Sometimes dust or debris in the sensor (or ants apparently) can trigger false alarms. The Fire Service recommends you vacuum them periodically - http://www.fire.org.nz/Fire-Safety/Safety-Devices/Pages/Smoke-alarms-maintenance.html.

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  Reply # 1379491 4-Sep-2015 07:47
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I would replace it as it is probably faulty. A power cell draining normally only causes an annoying beep that always seams to start at circa 2am.We replace all ours in a four year cycle to ensure they are all okay and replace the power cells when day light saving changes.




Mike
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  Reply # 1379495 4-Sep-2015 08:06
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Don't just check the battery - check the "best by" date printed on the back of the alarm.
Most alarms are only good for a few years.

I'm about to replace all of ours with a new photoelectric type alarm with a 10-year battery.

See consumer.org recommendations




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  Reply # 1379512 4-Sep-2015 08:33
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Push the hush button and see if it happens again in 15 mins or when ever the hush period is over. 

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  Reply # 1379515 4-Sep-2015 08:42
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get another one

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  Reply # 1379519 4-Sep-2015 08:56
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MikeB4:  an annoying beep that always seams to start at circa 2am.


Yep - the bloody things.  That's because the battery voltage drops when it gets cold at 2-3AM.  


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  Reply # 1379537 4-Sep-2015 09:33
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Fred99:
MikeB4:  an annoying beep that always seams to start at circa 2am.


Yep - the bloody things.  That's because the battery voltage drops when it gets cold at 2-3AM.  



Ah, that potentially explains why the alarm in my son's rooms had a habit of going off at that time - despite it being a fairly new (6 months) lithium-based unit. We stuck it back up but after about three false alarms it's still down to be returned and replaced (we've got another 5 or so in the house).

The scary thing about them going off was the lack of response to the alarm - when I got into my son's room he was just groggily sitting up but not even thinking about moving; similarly, when my parents were sleeping in the same room they too hadn't made a single attempt to move.

It reminds me of an interview on This Way Up on Nat Rad a number of years ago which examined how effective smoke alarms were at waking people up from deep sleep; I recall the standard siren noise was not particularly good at this, and they'd worked out more effective noises. Can't say I've seen any of this put into practice. But my experience does make me realise that having working smoke alarms isn't far from a full solution to surviving a house fire.

EDIT: I've found the programme that examined the effectiveness of smoke alarms' sirens - http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/thiswayup/20081101

Haven't re-listened to it yet, but the lead-in to the programme is "New research shows smoke alarms would be 7 times more likely to wake people up if they sounded different". And that was broadcast seven years ago...

Hmm, what to write...
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  Reply # 1379538 4-Sep-2015 09:35
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I would check my alarm panel to see which detector had triggered and then reset the smoke circuit. If it happened again I would  replace the offending sensor with a spare and clean out the one the that was misbehaving.






Matthew


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