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#195538 - 08/09/10 05:52 PM False Alarm Smoke Detectors....
site351 Offline

Registered: 06/10/07
Posts: 19
Loc: Tennessee

O.K.... Every once in awhile I get these call backs
for Residential interconnected 120 V. battery back-up
Smoke Detectors. Its bad enough with Arc faults and
Ground Faults so I always try to include several
Manuals so the Customer and Builder are aware of Reset
buttons and what proper procedures need to be taken.
If I have 10 or 12 Interconnected Smoke Detectors and
"Phantom Nuisance" False Alarms...whats the best way to
find out which one is the offending Alarm ?
Sometimes these things will work correctly and then at
2 in the morning one will mysteriously trip ?

Is there quick way to narrow this down ? thanks

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

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Arc Flash Clothing, Gloves, KneePads, Tool Belts, Pouches, Tool Carriers, etc. etc....

#195545 - 08/10/10 09:16 AM Re: False Alarm Smoke Detectors.... [Re: site351]
sabrown Offline

Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 297
Loc: Ogden, Utah, USA
I have found that the 2 am nuisance alarms are typically just beeeping saying the battery is dead. The batteries as the building cools down drop below the low battery threshold (though not exactly the same, a lead calcuim battery will drop 3.75 mV per degree C). Then the building warms back up and the beeping stops. As I am cheap and won't replace the batteries until death, my wife or kids are a lot better at finding these than myself. But this may not address the issue you brought up.

Phantom alarms always seem to happen at night, and those typically for me have been the neighborhood spider crawling in and sometimes setting up home in photoelectric types. The offending unit usually blinks red while alarming if memory serves. That is the only way I know of short of opening them all up.

Sad thing is, my wife is the only one who gets up for these problems. I barely come to, and my kids never miss a moment of sleep.


#195551 - 08/10/10 11:33 AM Re: False Alarm Smoke Detectors.... [Re: sabrown]
gfretwell Offline


Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9026
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Sad thing is, my wife is the only one who gets up for these problems. I barely come to, and my kids never miss a moment of sleep.

That sort of defeats the purpose doesn't it wink

Fortunately/unfortunately I have a dog that goes nuts when any beeper goes off so nobody will sleep through it.
If it is a fire alarm, good dog!
If it is a UPS (or 3) complaining about a switching transient, not so much.
I have disconnected the beeper on most of them.
Greg Fretwell

#195552 - 08/10/10 11:43 AM Re: False Alarm Smoke Detectors.... [Re: gfretwell]
mikesh Offline

Registered: 06/07/06
Posts: 614
Loc: Victoria, BC, Canada
Apparently smoke alarms are less effective in waking kids. Some models have voice alarms in addition to the irritating beeps. I think there is one coming or maybe available that can record the wake up (Insert name of person) there is a fire message in your own voice which is much more effective at waking kids. I know my sister (not a kid) could probably sleep through and earthquake accompanied with a flood and explosions. She wakes for the alarm clock however.

#195554 - 08/10/10 11:53 AM Re: False Alarm Smoke Detectors.... [Re: mikesh]
gfretwell Offline


Registered: 07/20/04
Posts: 9026
Loc: Estero,Fl,usa
Make a noise like the ice cream truck wink

... or am I just showing my age?
Greg Fretwell

#195653 - 08/16/10 08:55 PM Re: False Alarm Smoke Detectors.... [Re: site351]
Trumpy Offline


Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8532
Loc: SI,New Zealand
That's a really interesting question you ask.

I've had problems like this in the past and wished to God that smoke detector manufacturers would at least put a "tripped" LED and a reset button on their units, it would make fault-finding these systems a heck of a lot easier and faster.
For something as important as a smoke detection system, you'd think that this would be a given thing with inter-connected type detectors?
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

#195658 - 08/16/10 10:23 PM Re: False Alarm Smoke Detectors.... [Re: Trumpy]
noderaser Offline

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 405
Loc: Portland, Oregon, United State...
Reminds me of a comical scene where I forgot to open the damper on the fireplace, and had to go around the house with a ladder ripping the stupid smoke detectors off the ceiling so they would shut up. Fortunately, nuisance alarms (ones not involving smoke) haven't been a problem.

If the standard residential smoke alarms aren't loud enough for you, suppose you could go with the commercial ear-shattering type. I'm surprised there haven't been any lawsuits for hearing loss with those things. I've also lived in a building where they had alarms with a klaxon and audible warning; "Attention! Attention! An emergency has been declared. Please exit the building via the nearest available stairwell." Not exactly fun to wake up in the middle of the night with a strange voice screaming in your ear.

#195660 - 08/16/10 10:57 PM Re: False Alarm Smoke Detectors.... [Re: noderaser]
leland Offline

Registered: 08/20/07
Posts: 856
Loc: Lowell area, Ma. USA
Fire-EX- Known for this problem. bad QC.

As far as annoying- thats by design- made to make you want to exit the area.

Complain all you want- they really do SAVE LIVES- (When operable)


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