Bob Vila Radio: Why Is the Smoke Alarm Chirping?

Is the sound of a chirping smoke alarm steadily driving you crazy? Find out what you can do to restore quiet—and your sanity.

Why do you do when there’s a smoke alarm chirping in your home, seemingly without provocation? How can you keep that smoke alarm from robbing you of peace and quiet?

Smoke Alarm Chirping


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Listen to BOB VILA ON CHIRPING SMOKE ALARMS, or read the text below:

If the smoke alarm chirps at even intervals—say, every minute or so—it’s probably the device’s way of telling you that it needs a new battery. That’s true whether the detector runs on battery power all the time, or if it’s hard-wired and the battery’s only there as a back-up in case of a power outage. Simply open up the case and replace the battery; that should be the end of it.

While you’re changing smoke alarm batteries, it’s a good idea to use a can of compressed air to blow away any accumulated spider webs or dust. That sort of debris can cause irregular chirping that a new battery isn’t going to make go away. Also, bear in mind that alarms don’t live forever. Most need replacement every 10 years or so. The cost of a few new alarms is well worth the protection they’ll provide you and your family!

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.