Smoke and carbon dioxide detectors serve an important potentially life-saving function and should be placed in every home. Furthermore installing them in the right placesyou should also take the time to check the owner’s manual that came with yours to learn the meanings of the various types of beeps, chirps, and alarm sounds it makes.
But what if you misplaced (or discarded) these instructions (and they’re not printed on the back of the device) and you find yourself in a situation where there’s no smoke, your carbon monoxide levels are fine, you’ve replaced the batteries, and your smoke detector is Still does it ring at regular intervals? Here’s what that means.
Although there is a range of several smoke and carbon monoxide detectorsaccording to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the meanings of their beeps and chirps are largely the same across models and brands.
First, some terminology clarifications: While specific tones may vary, when it comes to the duration of the single sound (not how long the alarm has been sounding), chirps tend to be shorter than beeps. This page on the NFPA website provides audio examples of each.
According to the NFPA, that’s it what does each alarm sound mean:
Continuous series of three (3) loud beeps: Smoke or fire has been detectedContinuous series of four (4) loud beeps: Carbon monoxide has been detected
If you hear either type of alarm, leave the house, call 9-1-1, and don’t go back in until you’re told it’s safe to do so.
Other times, beeps or chirps act as maintenance instructions:
A chirp every 30-60 seconds: Time to replace the batteryContinuous series of three (3) loud beeps, but no smoke or fire: The smoke detector is dirty
Over time, dust, dirt, spiders, bugs, and other debris can build up inside a smoke alarm, causing the alarm to go off. Check the back of the alarm to see if the manufacturer provides cleaning instructions. If not, gently vacuum the smoke detector or clean it using compressed air, according to the NFPA.
Let’s say your smoke detector starts chirping once every 30-60 seconds and doesn’t stop after you change the battery. Maybe you try another new battery, in case the first one is defective, or someone puts it back in the used packaging. It doesn’t work, so maybe you clean it with a vacuum cleaner or compressed air. No matter what you try, the chirping doesn’t stop.
This is what is known as the “end of life” chirping.: When your smoke detector lets you know it can no longer do its job, and now it has to die (i.e. you have to replace it with a new one).
This typically happens when one has been in use for about 10 years, although some smoke and carbon monoxide alarms don’t always last that long. So regardless of his age, if you determine he hears the end-of-life chirp, the recommends the NFPA by replacing your current smoke detector with a new one.