5 Causes of Smoke Detector Beeping or Chirping Noises (Hardwired or Battery)

by Joanna Stewart

Thu, Sep 13, 2018

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check your smoke alarm

Is your smoke detector or fire alarm beeping or chirping every minute?

The constant noise might be just bearable enough that you have procrastinated fixing it. Or maybe your smoke detector is just out of reach. Or even possibly, your smoke alarm has a strange size battery that you don’t have at home.

No matter the reason, in this article we’ll help you stop those annoying smoke alarm beeping and chirping noises once and for all!

Editor's Note: It is important to regularly check that your smoke detector is actually working even if it is not currently beeping. According to the NFPA, 21% of home fire deaths occurred in homes with no working smoke alarms. And, in homes where smoke alarms were present but did not operate, almost half (46%) of the smoke alarms had missing or disconnected batteries. Don't make this same mistake!

Before we can continue, the first question we need to answer is whether your smoke detector is battery powered or hardwired.

To find out you will need to turn the smoke detector counterclockwise to remove it from the ceiling.

After it is detached from it’s mounting bracket it will be obvious if it is a hardwired unit as it will be hanging by a two or three colored wires. Do not disconnect these wires!

Next follow the directions below to troubleshoot problems with hardwired and battery powered smoke alarms.

Battery powered smoke alarms are by far the most common type of device found in homes and apartments.

An alarm will usually chirp every 30 to 60 seconds when there is a problem with the unit.

Replace Battery

replace smoke alarm battery

The most common problem with a battery powered unit is that the battery is almost dead.

When the alarm starts chirping, it is important to replace the battery right away. The majority of smoke detectors use 9 volt batteries.

To prevent chirping noises in the future, be sure to replace 9V alkaline batteries once per year.

When you replace the battery in one smoke detector it is a good idea to replace the batteries of all the units in your home.

Check Battery Connection

If you replaced the battery but the beeping continues, check the battery connection. To do this unplug or remove the new battery.

Clean the connections to remove any dust or corrosion that may be preventing a solid battery connection. Also verify that the battery was installed in the correct direction. After you confirm the connections are clean, carefully reinstall the battery.

Is there still a chirping noise? Then, move on to the next possible solution.

Press Reset Button

On hardwired smoke detectors you may need to press and hold the reset button to make the chirping noise stop.

Hold the reset button for 15 to 20 seconds. Then wait to see if the beeping stops.

Clean Alarm Sensors

Smoke alarms are often out of sight and out of reach. This means they do not get the same cleaning and dusting treatment the rest of our homes get.

Your smoke detector could be beeping because the sensor is dirty or dusty.

Wipe the unit with a microfiber towel to remove any dust or dirt build up. You may also try using a can of compressed air to blow any dust away.

Open Windows, Turn on Fan

Is your smoke alarm near a shower or humidifier? The sensors in most smoke alarms are very sensitive to steam and humidity.

After you have replaced the battery and the smoke detector is still chirping, consider opening a window or turning on a fan.

This will allow the steam or humidity to temporarily dissipate and clear the smoke detector sensor.

If the beeping noises were caused by steam from a shower, you may want to remember to turn on the vent fan during and after taking a shower. This will help prevent the steam from spreading throughout the house.

Also be careful not to put a humidifier or essential oil diffuser underneath or near a smoke alarm to prevent false alarms.

Replace Unit

Finally, if none of the above suggestions stop the beeping noises, it is time to replace the smoke detector.

Every smoke detector comes with the manufacture date printed on it. You should replace your smoke detectors every 10 years minimum.

If you live in an apartment and you are unsure when your smoke detectors were installed, now would be a great time to check the manufacture date. In the event it is ten years past this date, contact your landlord immediately and have them replaced.

On the other hand, if you own your own home and your smoke detectors are expired it is your responsibility to replace them right away.


One of the easiest ways to make your smoke detector stop chirping or beeping is the replace the battery. In fact, it is recommended that you replace the battery every year even if it isn’t beeping.

As we mentioned before over 20% of home fire deaths occurred in homes with no working smoke alarms. That means you should make sure your smoke detectors are working properly. Your life depends on it!

If you followed the steps above and your smoke detector is still beeping, this might be a sign that you need to replace the unit. They must be replaced every ten years to prevent malfunction.

Don’t worry, smoke detectors are fairly inexpensive to replace.


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