What to Do When Smoke Alarm Keeps Beeping?

Smoke detectors are required safety devices designed to alert you in case of a fire or smoke in your home. They operate by detecting the presence of smoke and emitting a loud, piercing alarm to warn you of the danger. However, it is not uncommon for hardwired smoke detectors to chirp intermittently, leading to confusion and frustration and potentially putting your safety at risk.

Smoke detectors are intended to make a chirping noise once the battery needs changing. Newer smoke alarms keep some errors in the processor. The smoke alarm must clear errors after the battery is changed, but it might continue to chirp even after you change the batteries. This usually occurs in electrical-powered smoke alarms with a battery backup. When this happens, the way to stop the chirping noise is to manually reset the smoke alarm to clear the error from the processor.


smoke alarm chirping

Why do smoke alarms chirp intermittently?

The “chirp” is usually caused by issues related to the battery or miss-wiring. However, don’t confuse the chirp with an intermittent alarm. A “chirp” sounds like a higher-pitched tone and sounds in equal intervals about once every minute. An intermittent alarm is usually a random sound for several seconds and has a lower-pitched tone.

Beeps, Chirps and Alerts: What Each Smoke Detector Beeping Means

There are three main types of signals that your smoke detector may emit, and each signal has a different meaning. The sounds and alerts may vary depending on the model of your smoke alarm, so it’s always a good idea to check your owner’s manual.

Beep-Beep-Beep: The Warning Alarm. The first signal is known as the warning alarm, which is three strong beeps in a row. This sound indicates that the alarm has detected smoke and it’s time to act quickly. 

Chirp-Chirp-Pause: The Fault Alert. The second signal is the fault alert, which sounds like a series of chirps (two or four). This signal indicates a problem with the smoke alarm, and it’s time to attend to it so that it works correctly. The newer models are more intelligent and can differentiate between a house fire and a malfunction.

One Beep, Long Pause: Low Battery. The third signal is a single beep with a long pause, which indicates a low battery. It’s time to change your smoke detector battery. This signal may also mean a generic fault alert, indicating that dust or dirt is blocking the detector’s sensors, the detector needs to be replaced, or you need a battery.

So, hopefully, the next time you hear your smoke detector beeping, you’ll know precisely what it’s trying to tell you. Keep your smoke detectors in top shape, and they will keep you safe!


Common Reasons for Smoke Alarms Chirping:

Battery Pull tab is Still in the Alarm 

The battery pull-tab should be removed after AC power is provided to the device.

The Battery Drawer is Open 

The battery drawer should be totally closed for the battery to make contact with the terminals.

Low Battery

As the battery in a smoke alarm gets weak, it will “chirp” about once a minute to let you know that the battery needs to be replaced. Note: Only the device with a low battery will chirp. The other interconnected alarms should be silent.

Battery is There but Part of the Terminal is Obstructed

The battery may not be completely making contact with the terminals in the alarm. Check to ensure the battery pull-tab or any other obstruction is completely removed.

Another Device or Appliance

Security systems, monitors, carbon monoxide alarms, and other devices have comparable low battery or alert sounds.

Temperature Fluctuations in the Home:

Another reason for a smoke alarm beeping or chirping erratically could be temperature fluctuations in the house. If you set the thermostat at an unusually very high or low temperature, the smoke alarm detects this and issues a sounding alert. Another reason the smoke alarm chirps could be if it detects hot air from the kitchen or bathroom. This could happen when you are cooking at high heat, or someone opens the bathroom door soon after taking a hot shower. To avoid this kind of false alarm, it is best to move the smoke alarms close to the kitchen or bathroom door or use another means to ensure that the hot air does not reach the alarm vents.

Its Life has Ended

Another reason for a smoke alarm beeping is that it has reached the end of its lifetime. Smoke alarms usually last for between eight and ten years. Take the smoke alarm off and check the manufacturing date on the back. If it is over eight years old, you must replace the smoke alarm immediately.

smoke alarms

Any of these reasons can cause your smoke alarm low battery chirp:

Does your smoke alarm have a separate silence push button? If so, the button could have been pressed by accident. The alarm will then  “chirp” once every minute for up to 15 minutes.

Make sure it’s the smoke alarm. Other devices have comparable low battery chirps or warning sounds. The reason for a single chirp is often hard to pinpoint. Check whether devices like carbon monoxide alarms are in use.

Sometimes, “new” batteries may not be fresh. If batteries are kept in cold areas, they can quickly lose their charge. Check the freshness date listed on the package when purchasing new batteries.


Why does my smoke detector go off when I install a new battery or turn on the AC power?

It is typical for the smoke alarms to go off and sound for a moment (up to 5-10 seconds) when you install a new battery, or they are powered up. In case the alarm continues to go off and there is no smoke present, the cause could be:

There may not be sufficient battery power. Try another battery.

Problems with voltage or insufficient electrical power (brownout) may cause a constant, weak-sounding alarm. For hardwired alarms, momentarily disconnect power at the service panel until the brownout is over.

Incompatible warning device. If an incompatible alarm or secondary device is connected to a series of hardwired smoke alarms, it could cause the system to go off inadvertently.

How do you reset a smoke detector to stop chirping after installing a new battery?

Electric Smoke Detectors with Battery Backup


Shut off the main breaker in your home’s breaker box to turn off the electrical current running to the smoke detector.


Take the smoke detector off its mounting bracket on the ceiling and disconnect the power cable plugged into the smoke detector.


Take out its battery, then press the “Test” button, holding it down for 15 seconds. An alarm will sound briefly; then, the alarm will silence.


Install the battery in the smoke detector, reconnect the power cable, and mount the smoke detector back on its mounting bracket. Turn the breaker on. The smoke alarm will chirp once to indicate that the unit has restored power.

Battery-Powered Smoke Detectors


Remove the battery from the smoke detector.


Press the “Test” button, holding it down for 15 seconds. An alarm will sound briefly, then stop.


Install the battery back in the smoke detector. The smoke alarm will chirp once to indicate the battery is connected.

A smoke alarm is necessary to ensure that you and your family are alerted in case of a fire at home. Since this is an indispensable means of protection, ensure that your home has adequate hard-wired smoke alarms installed. The size of your house will determine this. If you reside in the Metro Vancouver Area, BC, Canada, you can call WireChief Electric, and a skilled electrician can advise you on the best locations for smoke alarms in your house.

A professional Vancouver electrician will help you install the smoke alarms properly and ensure they do not unnecessarily chirp. A correctly installed and working smoke alarm can save lives and properties by alerting you to the risk of a fire.

In summary, understanding the common reasons fire alarms keep beeping and how to reset them is necessary to ensure your household’s safety and well-being. Regularly inspecting and maintaining your smoke detectors can help prevent false alarms and ensure that they are functioning correctly in case of an emergency.

If your smoke alarm is between 8 and 10 years old, or you suspect it is defective, these are very good, reliable, cost-effective models:


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Reliable model:

First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm | Battery Operated, SCO5CN


Need new batteries: Premium alkaline batteries for smoke detectors