questionsmy smoke alarm keeps going off and i don't…

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Try changing the battery? Some will beep with or without a battery to tell you it needs a fresh one.
If that doesn't work, consider getting a cheap new one and trying that out.

Some are super sensitive, to the point of being annoying. I think ours is set off by the shower steam, since it only goes off 6am.

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STOP DROP AND ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Battery, most likely. And I have gotten some bad 9V batteries in the past: take out the old and the thing still beeps, replace it with another new battery and it works fine.

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If it has a good battery, take it back and exchange it. If the new one does the same thing you might have some underlying issue in you home fooling it into thinking there is a fire (although I am not sure what might do that). Also get a carbon monoxide detector.

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@hossdawg97: First sentence- I just moved into this house in January, and made the landlord get a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector before i moved in.

But thanks for your answers so far! i'm going to try to get a new battery today and hope that fixes it

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@drsilentg: not sure where you live, but at least in IL, it's the law that the landlord provide both a smoke detector & carbon monoxide detector. not sure if they need to provide batteries or if that's a renters' deal, but if it isn't working, make it the landlord's problem. worst case, they may need to go purchase a new one. best case, ya'll figure out what the deal is in the process.

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Is it actually going off or just "chirping". If it's just chirping (a little annoying beep every few minutes) it's most likely something with the battery. If it's actually going off, there may be dust or something in/near the sensor that's causing it to go off. You can (and probably should) vaccum the exterior and the interior (as much as you can get) of the detector. That should help.

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@gt0163c: actually going off. loong loud beeps. full strength. about 1 second each, not stopping

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Smoke alarms work by sensing ions in the air. They use an Americium source to emit something (neutrons / beta particles, help me out here) against a target. When ionized air passes between the source and target, the signal is altered and the detector goes off.

What are sources of ionized air? Smoke, high humidity (like from a hot shower), nearby thunderstorms, hair dryers, and static electricity can all ionize the air and set off the detector. Surely there are more sources too.

It is likely something benign reacting with an overly sensitive detector. If you replace it with a new unit and the problem persists, then you should call your local ghost hunting crew to investigate.

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@drsilentg: D'ho, I zipped right past the who landlord part. if a battery doesn't fix it then the landlord need to exchange it.

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Is it near a heating vent? Might be a little dusty there, and I know that both smoke alarms and CO detectors shouldn't be placed near a duct.

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My smoke alarms occasionally go off when a bug manages to crawl into them.

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rapid or extreme temp changes ,make mine go off. the one in my kitchen is on a wall above the fridge and stove. so when i open the oven it starts yelping. then if i open the fridge for a few minutes it yelps some more. i have never "dusted" it so it's been since the last battery change since the dust got knocked off. but the temp changes also make my carbonmonoxide detector yelp occasionally.

have you performed any "test" to see if it does go off with the presence of smoke? it's worth a check. i second the nomination to make it a landlord issue.

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What kind of chirp does it make? These usually make different sort of chirps for battery, defect, or actual alarm. You could also try a new battery. Unless you yourself bought it from the store, you don't know it's new. Even contractors who build new homes use "new" batteries that are really years old.. but still in the packaging.

If you think it's the unit, and it's new, then you should have it exchanged. If you can't exchange it, then it's not a new unit :-) They should replaced when they are no more than 10 years old (from manufacture date, not usage date). Less if recommended by the manufacturer.

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The small radioactive sample that makes it go might be smaller or more decayed than it should be. Perhaps the alarm wasn't brand new after all. They have to be replaced after a certain number of years after radioactive decay has made it so that there's nothing to detect.

The poster who mentioned ionized air doesn't quite get the explanation right. The radioactive material emits particles at a detector. When smoke particles or anything in the air gets in that gap and blocks the radiation, the alarm goes off. While it could be a bug crawling in there, it could also be that the radioactive material is too far decayed to be detected part of the time.

I think you definitely need a new detector. The one you got from the landlord either wasn't new or had been sitting on the store shelf for too many years.

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@moosezilla: Sounds like that might be a dual heat/smoke detector. We had heat detectors in our dorms, since kids would smoke something up in the kitchen all the time, but obviously you don't want to evacuate a building unless something is really burning.

The only reason I think there's a smoke detector in there too is because I can't imagine it being set off by the temperature going down -- probably more likely that condensation is setting off a smoke alarm than coldness setting off a heat alarm.

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Did you check to see if the house is on fire?

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Get some compressed air and blow it out if the battery doesn't change the problem. Could have some dust or a bug that's gotten in there.

Had both happen before, but normally the noise is the alarm telling you it's hungry - the battery is about done.

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@lotsofgoats: i bought new at a box store that had just been built. the package said smoke detector i am sure. whether it said dual smoke/heat detector i have no idea. for me it's not a real issue since i'm always there if any door is being opened so i know what is going on. i also keep a large pan lid nearby to fan it with. but thanks for the info.

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Inside the smoke detector it says "the detector should be replaced by 2011.... lol. sending landlord message right now

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My smoke detector is hardwired, so I don't kow if this makes the differene, but every once in awhile it chirps enlessly, and all I need to do to make it stop is dust it. I would imagine that a battery operated one might be susceptible also. Can't hurt.

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Maybe it's cats.

65-year old woman set off smoke detector with stench of her cats.
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2012/05/stench_of_dead.php

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Some important consumer safety informatiom

My smoke alarm started chirping about once per minute, so I opened it up to find a hot battery with a melting terminal. I did a Google search and found this important consumer safety information that I wanted to share with you: http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/consumer&id=3939992

The article says some older smoke alarm designs are only compatible with certain makes of battery due to the design of the smoke alarm's battery cavity. The battery I was using was not a Duracell, which the article mentions, but an Ultralife 9v lithium battery that is supposed to be better for smoke alarms.