I’ve replaced the batteries but my smoke detector won’t stop beeping!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you have changed the battery in your chirping smoke detector and it still chirps, you might think your detector is bad.

Before you replace that smoke detector or go out and purchase another new pack of nine-volt batteries, there are a couple things you should know about your smoke detector, and a few things you can do to address this problem.

There are several different types of smoke detectors, however, the most current model detectors found in homes and apartments operate by low-voltage electrical wiring with a battery backup.

These smoke detectors have internal processors that store error codes, and a week battery chirp is a common error code that may be retained, even after the old battery is replaced. The only way to clear this error is to reset the smoke detector, which can be done by following these simple steps:

* Turn off the power to the smoke detector at your circuit breaker.
* Remove the detector from its mounting bracket and unplug the power supply.
* Remove the battery from the smoke detector.
* With the battery removed, press and hold the test button for 15-20 seconds.
* Replace the new battery in the detector and plug in the power supply.
* Restore power to the circuit breaker.
* Reattach the breaker to mounting bracket.

When the power is restored, the smoke detector should chirp once. However, your low-battery chirping should no longer be a problem. There is one other thing you can do to reduce the possibility of ever hearing chirping from your smoke detector, and this is to change your batteries before the chirp is heard.

A good rule of thumb and industry standard is to change the batteries in your smoke detectors every six months. October is fire prevention month and a good time to change all your detectors in your home. However, if your detectors are chirping, change your batteries immediately.

If your smoke detector is more than 10 years old, the unit should be replaced with a newer one.

Detectors can be purchased at your local hardware stores, or your local fire department may have a program to distribute them. It is recommended that smoke detectors be installed in each bedroom of your home and a hallway. However, if you only have one smoke detector, placing it in the hallway outside of all bedrooms is the best location for placement.

If you live in the city of Sacramento and would like to get more information on how to get a smoke detector installed in your home call 311 from a hard-line telephone. For useful and up to date information on current events you’re welcome to follow the Captain Jonathan Burgess, Public Information Officer of the Sacramento Fire Department, on Twitter or Facebook by using the links below.

Sacramento Fire Department Facebook

Follow Captain John Burgess on Twitter



  • The last bullet says: * Reattach the breaker to mounting bracket.

    I believe it should say: Reattach the detector to its mounting bracket.

    • chris

      Good catch Atlanta, and only 2 years after the fact. Just “took the words out of my mouth” , ’cause if you hadn’t done it I would have. Let’s hope those in need will make the correction themselves (Cpt. Burgess has other priorities; besides he did his good deed so what else do you’all want?)

  • Thanks for this info. It worked perfectly for me and I didn’t have to unplug the smoke alarm or remove it from the mounting bracket. I just took out the battery, turned off the breaker, held the button down for 20 seconds, put the new battery in and turned the breaker back on. Viola beeping stopped. Thanks!

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I followed your instructions to the letter and it worked. The chirping was driving me crazy after the power to the smoke alarm had been turned off for installation of a new ceiling light on the same circuit.

  • Thank you, I followed this as well. I took some pictures of my smoke alarms as I was changing the batteries so others could see what it looks like and how to replace them if needed. The pics and instructions are here

  • Kimberly Rockwell

    Sorry but finding and climbing a ladder at 5 in the morning to follow those 43 “simple steps” while your ears are bleeding from that hellish, unnatural sound is NOT going to happen. The only solution to the problem is to find a broom, knock the demonic disk off the ceiling, grab your biggest hiking boots, and stomp it to death. Then find a picture of the inventor of the smoke detector, print it out, and spit on it. Surely there were less mind-melting sounds the designers could have picked, especially for something that is supposed to serve merely as a “reminder.”

    • Damian


  • Cathy N

    You are a lifesaver – my dog was going nuts with the constant chirping – never thought to turn off the circuit breaker – worked like a charm. Thank you thank you thank you!

  • Sam Inman

    The power of Google once again. A South Carolinian thanks you very much for these instructions. They worked. Saved another trip to the hardware store to buy a new detector. And to Kimberly…. My daughter designs cool stuff as well as mundane stuff for a living. Her biggest impediments to sleek and user-friendly design are the myriad codes and standards brought forth by well-intentioned government officials on the local, state, and national levels. Even the lowly-but-hard-to-reach smoke detector is affected by politics.

  • http://sacramentopress.com/2010/08/31/ive-replaced-the-batteries-but-my-smoke-detector-wont-stop-beeping/ Ma Barker

    Just read through all the comments and want to say “Thank you!” from my family. Everyone else has already spoken my mind! (“2am your battery is low” alert…)LOL We installed gas detectors since putting heaters in our basement. I love when I am cooking and they go off because something accidentally got on the burner or in the bottom of the oven and started smoking. It is peace of mind to know they are working way up there on the vaulted ceiling. Makes getting out the step ladder a joy. (not really)

  • Ashleyf

    Thanks also from faraway Sydney (Australia). The instructions worked even down under 😉 No more chirping , and saved a few hundred dollars from having to et an electrician in to fit a new one.

  • James

    Instead of pulling circuit breaker, I simply untwisted the smoke detector and disconnected the plug, it works great now, this problem was driving me crazy, thank you Captain!

  • Judy

    Bless you my dear!

  • Good night’s sleep

    Just tried it on all 5 and so far, so good. I did not remove them but rather just removed the battery, turned off the breaker, counted 20 seconds and reinstalled the battery, then flipped breaker on. So far so good. My dog thanks you and I thank you! Google shines again!

  • christine

    This worked perfectly for me, thank you so much! I was ready to go to the store and buy a new smoke detector, I didn’t know what else to do until I thought to check the internet and found this article right away. And thank you for the tip about how to avoid the same problem in the future, I proactively changed the batteries n all the other smoke detectors. So peaceful now…

  • Karen

    Thanks a lot for this post! This worked for me too! Crazy smoke detectors were beeping on three floors and driving us crazy for more than 24 hrs before I found this thread. They were about to be banished from the house so we could sleep!

  • Mhar

    thank you it works!

  • Bill King

    Awesome. Thank you!! One of the most annoying sounds in the world (especially when you are half asleep) is that little chirp. When I replaced the battery IT DIDN’T STOP! With your steps above it took care of it….Ahhhhhhh…

  • Dave

    Followed the steps above for my constant beeping smoke detector even with new battery, and after resetting smoke detector by holding down the test button the noise finally ceased. That is one thing I didn’t know figured it would reset when I turned off breaker, but forgot back up battery still holds memory.

    Thanks. Good solution

  • Dave

    After three days finally at peace! :)

  • Would rather die

    With smoke detects with such awful features, I’d rather disconnect them all.

  • leelaile@yahoo.com

    Hi guys, Do you know how to disconnect a smoke detector? Why I switch the circuit bracket off and unplugged the detector but it still beeps? I tried everything, I even bought a new detector but the beeping won’t stop. Does anyone have any idea what is going on?

  • Chris

    I did everything on here and nothing. Any other ideas?

  • G.Rogers

    Thank you Captain Burgess. When this occurred in our house my husband was about to call the electrician so I looked up the problem on line and found your site about troubleshooting a chirping smoke detector. I followed your instructions and it worked perfectly!!! I looked like a real genius!! Thanks again .

  • Kirk392

    Thank you! This stopped our chirping.

    • Joan

      the batteries were brand new, so I removed them both and pressed the reset button for 25 seconds. This worked fine. Our detector is quite old and I was ready to replace it, but that’s not necessary now. Thank you.

      • dori

        Thank you Joan. This was right by our guest rooms, and the young grandsons are coming tomorrow. Nothing can interfere with their sleep! We have had 3 new batteries in it, and your remedy worked. Love ya’! Dori

  • David C.

    According to the Kidde support site (KB article 302951: What causes intermittent beeping or chirping?), intermittent chirping may be caused by:
    1: Loose, or Improperly Installed Battery
    2: Smoke Alarm Sensing Chamber May be Dirty
    3: Environmental Conditions
    4: Resetting the Alarm
    5: Electrical Condition
    6: Alarm Needs to be Replaced

    This article describes #4. In my particular case, #2 was the cause. I blew compressed air into all of the detector’s openings to dislodge whatever dust might have been in there, and the problem went away.

  • NextGenSolar

    Thank you!
    We were tired of hearing the persistent chirping inspite of putting three sets of new batteries. Your recommendation worked.
    Best regards

  • trgirl

    Where is the reset button?

    • EmaLee

      you have to remove a small portion of your ceiling to get to it. take a drill and carve a hole a proximately 1/4″ in diameter just about 1/2″ inches away from the northern tip of your smoke detector. a button will appear. take a device small enough to penetrate the hole and push the button with it.

  • Engage Gray Matter

    I think the author made a “typo”. First these are “steps” and should be labeled as such, not simply bullet points (as each one of these alone will not solve the problem).

    Secondly as numbered, the “steps” are out of order a little bit and contain an error in nomenclature of the last step. Steps 6 & 7 should have been reversed in original steps and the term “breaker” should have been “detector” (I.e. Reattach the breaker…”). . Otherwise very informative and helpful.

    1. Turn off power to the smoke detector at the circuit breaker.
    2. Remove detector from its mounting bracket and unplug the power supply.
    3. Remove the battery from the smoke detector.
    4. With the battery removed, press and hold the “test button” for 15 – 20 seconds.
    5. Replace the battery in the detector and plug in the power supply.
    6. Reattach the detector to the mounting bracket.
    7. Restore power to the circuit breaker.

    • showmesplfd

      The article states that these are steps to follow-why must he also be redundant and number each step if he does not choose to do so? Engage some of that “gray matter”, connect those neural synapses and arrive at logical thought.

  • Chad

    I had the same problem where the alarm kept beeping even after I
    replaced the battery. Once I disconnected it and held down the reset
    button it cleared the memory and stopped the beeping. I took pictures of
    me removing the smoke alarm and wrote a step by step on How
    to Change a Smoke Alarm Battery
    so others can see how to
    remove the housing. Sometimes it helps to see visuals. Hope this helps
    some others out there trying remove their annoying alarm in the middle
    of the night.

  • http://chemicalengineeringmagazine.com lukman143

    Never ignore when you find your smoke detector beeping. Find the fire first before doing anything…

    • showmesplfd

      lukman143: In most cases there is a distinct difference between the “chirp” or “beep” that this article is referring to that warns of something amiss with the detector and the much more annoying and attention getting “alarm” sound emitted to alert of smoke.

  • showmesplfd

    I wish this worked for me! Every time the cursed little necessities decide to go nuts for me and chirp away incessantly every little bit it’s in the middle of the night. Do they ever respond to new batteries or simply being unplugged? Nope-they end up out in the garage until morning. I am grateful for the info on how to reset a detector however-perhaps someday I will own one that this actually works on and I can finish sleeping without a trip to the garage at 3AM. Meanwhile, I’m off to buy more smoke detectors!

  • martin

    I have replaced two detectors that were old. replaced batts. first. followed through and shut main breaker off and disconnected all of the units and re hooked them and replaced them . while I had power off and units off and batts. out and shut each unit down after batts were out I was getting an alarm from an area where I had removed the hall unit. where the heck is that coming from? and that’s the one I can not get fixed no matter what I do.

  • Jack Datwyl

    About 3 weeks ago, my smoke alarm began chirping at 30 second intervals. At first all we did was hit the silence button. But obviously that did not solve the problem. I replaced the battery but that also did not solve the problem. After reading this article, I attempted the reset procedure as directed, but swapping steps 6 and 7. Unfortunately, this has also not corrected the problem. I did this 3 additional times, hoping that I made a mistake. But, no luck. The alarm still chirps about 3 – 4 times a day, at 30 second intervals and we still have to hit the silence button. a few hours later, it starts all over again. Pretty annoying in the middle of the night. Are there any other suggestions before I go out a purchase a new alarm?

  • SteelRaptor

    I tried all this and it did not work, but it is 12 years old so it’s best to just replace it.


Stay connected to what's happening in the city

* We hate spam, too, and will never share your info.