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If you’re hearing a random beeping noise in your home and don’t know where it’s coming from, there’s no need to be alarmed. A lot of homeowners mistake this to be a security alarm and call their security system operator, but that is unlikely to be the cause for the sound.
It probably just means some device in your house needs a battery replacement, and in most cases, it is either your smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors.
Here’s a short read on how to recognize the sounds and what you need to do.
What chirping noises mean
The source of these chirping or beeping noises is most often smoke detectors or carbon monoxide detectors. In a majority of homes, there are three possible places where these devices are installed.
- Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors that are ceiling mounted.
- Carbon monoxide detectors that are wall mounted, ceiling mounted or plugged into an electrical outlet.
- Only ceiling mounted smoke detectors.
While the numbers of these devices may vary, most homes are fitted with hard-wired, battery-operated CO detectors as well as smoke detectors in every hallway, bedroom, and living area.
All you need to do is find the source of the noise and replace the batteries.
Find the noise
Honestly, finding out exactly which device is making the noise can get a little frustrating. It may make more sense to simply replace the batteries on all your smoke alarms and CO detectors, especially if it has been a long time since the last battery change.
However, here’s the process you ought to follow.
Finding the device
- Locate all the smoke detectors and CO detectors in your home. Like we mentioned earlier, you’re most likely to find them in your bedrooms, hallways and other living spaces.
- To detach them from the wall or the ceiling, you will need to twist them counter clockwise.
- If the device has been hardwired, you will also need to disconnect the wiring harness from the detector. Remember, the wires are connected to your home’s electrical system, so do not pull the wires out. You only need to disconnect the plug connected to the detector.
- Once you have disconnected a device, take it to another room and see if that is the one making the noise.
- Make a note of which device is being removed from which location. You do not want to get them mixed up.
- Now, you need to see if the dive you disconnected is actually the one making the noise. Sometimes, these devices make beeping sounds every 30 or 60 seconds. This makes it easy to isolate the problematic device. However, some beep only once an hour or so. This can make the process frustrating.
Changing the batteries
- The battery in these devices is located either at the back or on the side under a pull-out tab. If you have your user manual handy, look it up to find out exactly where.
- Replace the batteries and install the device back in its original location. Reattach the wiring harness on hardwired devices.
- You will find a test button in front of the device. Press and hold the button to clear the old battery memory. Once this is done, the device may beep for 10-20 seconds. In some cases, all devices in your home may beep for that duration and then stop. This is how they self test, and is normal.
- If the device does not stop beeping, repeat the process of pressing the test button. If that doesn’t stop the noise, it may be a sign that you need to replace the device altogether.
Replacing the device
While smoke detectors last longer, CO detectors last only between 5 and 10 years. So if the beeping sound does not stop even after you’ve changed the batteries, it is a sign that the device needs to be replaced. Fortunately, CO detectors are easily available online, and a lot of them come with free installation as well.
Other possible causes
There are a couple of other reasons why you may hear random beeping around your house. For example, if you have a water softener, it may be an indicator that you need to check the salt levels. Some water heaters also beep to warn you of a leak. Battery backup devices for telephones and modems are also known to beep to indicate low batteries.
However, if you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe investigating these noises, never hesitate to hire a licensed professional to look into it for you. You know what they always say, better safe than sorry.
Look to this friendly abstract if you need a shorter version.