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 (@SacFirePIO) or Facebook (Sacramento Fire Department).