The most common reason for fire alarm beeping is a weak battery. Fire alarms are made to start beeping when the battery gets low, to inform you that it is time to replace it. Check manufacturer recommendations for battery type specific to your alarm.
Types of Fire Alarms
Of course, fire alarm beeping can signal that combustion has been identified and the alarm is warning you to vacate the premises and call the fire department. The fire alarm beeping for an alarm signal is usually louder and the beep is a longer tone.
There are two main types of fire alarms:
1. Ionization Fire Alarms
These are the least expensive and most commonly used by homeowners. This type of alarm “feels” the fire. It detects fire that may not have visible smoke. When smoke particles get in the ionization chamber, they are neutralized causing a dip in the electric current between the ionization plates. This break in the current causes the unit to start beeping. This type of unit isn’t recommended for kitchen use, since it frequently gives off a false signal when cooking food.
2. Photoelectric Fire Alarms
These are more expensive, but are often used in kitchens, together with ionization fire alarms that are best used in other areas of the house. This type of alarm “sees” the fire. They work particularly well for fires that smolder or fume, creating lots of smoke with little fire. They work by shooting a beam of light across a T shaped chamber that is above a photo cell. When smoke enters the chamber, the beam of light is deflected down, hitting the photo cell and triggering the beeping sound. These units require frequent cleaning, as dust or insects can create a false signal.
My Fire Alarm Keeps Beeping
If your fire alarm or your home alarm system keeps beeping and you have determined that there isn’t a fire and you have replaced the battery, there are a few other reasons your fire alarm may be beeping.
- Steam or High Humidity can form condensation on the sensors or circuit board triggering a false alarm.
- Smoke alarm dirty. It is important to clean your fire alarm as or more often than you replace the battery. Dust, dirt and insects can interfere with the proper function of the unit. Check your manufacturer’s manual for tips on how to properly maintain your unit.
- Battery installed improperly. Make sure that your battery is not loose and that the connections are clean. Cleaning the contacts and re-installing the fresh battery will usually stop fire alarm beeping.
- Reset Unit. Current fire alarm models have a processor that can retain error conditions. They are supposed to reset themselves automatically, but if your fire alarm beeping continues after taking the previous steps, try resetting the unit.
- The AC unit reset requires removing the unit from the wall power source and taking out the battery. Hold the test button for 15 seconds.
- The DC unit reset requires removing the battery and holding test button down for 15 seconds.
- Electric Surges – AC fire alarm beeping periodically may be due to power surges.
Replace Fire Alarm
Fire alarms should be replaced every 8-10 years. Fire alarm beeping that doesn’t stop after checking the above conditions can signal that you need to replace your fire alarm. For a reliable fire alarm, you might check out Kidde wireless smoke alarms online.