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Old 03-31-2012, 08:47 PM   #1
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


Our house has 7 total electric smoke detectors. One in each bedroom, one in the upstairs hallway, one on the 1st floor, and one in the basement.

Last night around 2am, they all started to sound. I woke up, but by the time I made it to the hallway they all turned off. I looked around the house and everything seemed fine.

I went back to bed, then again at 4am they decided to do the same thing. They only sounded for about 30 seconds from what I could remember.

They haven't sounded all day today, so i'm curious about tonight.

Has anyone dealt with this before? The house is about 12 years old and they are all original except the one on the 1st floor.

I know it's not the battery because I just replaced all of them last year, and I remember from last year it only makes a "chirp" sound when they are low, not setting off the whole house.

Any suggestions would be great.

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Old 03-31-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


UL states that the useful life of smoke detectors is 10 years. Instead of fixing them, this may be telling you (indirectly) its time to replace them all.

If you replace them, I would suggest one combination smoke/CO detector on each floor.


Last edited by k_buz; 03-31-2012 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:55 PM   #3
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


http://www.summitelect.com/homeowner...kedetector.htm
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:56 PM   #4
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


The life of smokes is 10 years; replace them all.
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Old 03-31-2012, 08:57 PM   #5
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


Quote:
Originally Posted by adgjqetuo View Post
Our house has 7 total electric smoke detectors. One in each bedroom, one in the upstairs hallway, one on the 1st floor, and one in the basement.

Last night around 2am, they all started to sound. I woke up, but by the time I made it to the hallway they all turned off. I looked around the house and everything seemed fine.

I went back to bed, then again at 4am they decided to do the same thing. They only sounded for about 30 seconds from what I could remember.

They haven't sounded all day today, so i'm curious about tonight.

Has anyone dealt with this before? The house is about 12 years old and they are all original except the one on the 1st floor.

I know it's not the battery because I just replaced all of them last year, and I remember from last year it only makes a "chirp" sound when they are low, not setting off the whole house.

Any suggestions would be great.
For ALL of them to go off at the same time is an indication of a problem in the house IMO.
Are they smoke/carbon monoxide detectors?
may have an issue with carbon monoxide coming from the furnace since it only happens at night when the heater is likely running?

Last edited by sublime2; 03-31-2012 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:18 PM   #6
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


That's what I was afraid of...didn't really want to have to replace them all...but looks like i'll be doing this tomorrow.

I have a separate independent battery CO detector on the 2nd floor. I placed it in the hallway over my cathedral ceiling. The digital gauge on it said "0" on it last night.

Do you think it's a good idea to replace the one in the basement and 1st floor still? I figured since it was over the high ceiling only one would be OK.

None of my electrics are CO currently.

Sublime2 - I don't think it's odd the whole house went off because that's how they are wired. If any one of the detectors trips, it alarms them all at the same time.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:27 PM   #7
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


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For ALL of them to go off at the same time is an indication of a problem in the house IMO.
Are they smoke/carbon monoxide detectors?
may have an issue with carbon monoxide coming from the furnace since it only happens at night when the heater is likely running?
The suggestion by UL would be specific to onization smoke detectors only because of the radioactive element it utilizes. The way that the interconnected 120 volt smoke detectors work is that when one of the detectors senses enough incomplete particles of combustion inside the detector chamber, that specific detector goes into alarm, which switches the voltage inside that detector to go through the common wire that interconnects all of them together. When that detector "clears" of it's smoke, the voltage switches back which makes them all stop sounding.

My suggestion is that thew first thing you do is clean everyone by either using canned dust air or use your vacume cleaner to suck out any dirt that may have accumalated in them. They become more sensitive when dirty. The next thing to do is look for the detector that would most likely sense something other than smoke such as a heater/AC diffuser, open windows, potentially dirty locations and when it goes into alrm next time if it does after cleaning it, depending on the manufactuer there may be a red LED light that will light up if in alarm. If you can not find it and it still keeps happening, take one down at a time until it stops. That would be the "bad" detector ande replace it. Oh, excuse my spelling.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:42 PM   #8
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


I did some research on the one I replaced last year.

It's a Kidde I12060 - and from a simple google search it appears many people have complained about false alarms with it. I wonder if this one is the problem.
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Old 03-31-2012, 09:52 PM   #9
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


Our company will not troubleshoot any detector over 10 years old or if there are mixed systems where not all the detectors are the same.

Smoke detectors are life saving systems. If we sign off that we "fixed" the problem with 10+ year old detectors, and there is a fire the following week where the detectors are found to have failed, we could be held liable if anyone was injured.

This is how this should be handled. You said your detectors are over 10 years old. UL says the useful life of smoke detectors is 10 years. It is time to replace them, whether there is a problem or not. I would hate to think you or your family's lives aren't worth the money it would cost to replace them all.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:09 PM   #10
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


Can anyone recommend a brand or model which is known to be reliable? (preferably sold at Lowes or HD so I can pick them up tomorrow)

I want one that is AC with DC backup and has the quick connector.

List I said one post earlier, I replaced one last year and now it appears to be passing false alarms. Is Kidde considered a poor brand?

Last edited by adgjqetuo; 03-31-2012 at 10:12 PM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:14 PM   #11
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


We usually use FireX.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:55 PM   #12
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


System Sensor, BRK, Gentex are some that they make in 120 volts. As far as Kidde making bad smoke detectors I would say they are all about the same. I have been involved with Kidde since the late 80's and they were around way before that. If you replace them, they have to be the same manufacturer and you can not exceed how many detectors the manufacturer says can be on one circuit.
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Old 03-31-2012, 10:57 PM   #13
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


I have been doing a lot of research into smokes and CO detectors.....best I can tell....both Kidd and First Alert are about the same...
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:05 PM   #14
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


I wonder if I'm getting the false alarms because I have all the original builder FireX and one Kidd. I didn't know you couldn't mix brands.

Although it's been almost a year and the problem only recently surfaced. I know my Kidd works with the rest of the FireX in the house because i've tested it with the fake smoke spray stuff.

My other concern is the model I have, online A LOT of people complained about middle-of-the-night fake alarms...but then again, I can't really seem to find and model where people haven't complained about.

Frustrating...

The three i'm looking at are:

http://www.lowes.com/pd_171423-347-S...ired|4%20-%205

http://www.lowes.com/pd_128493-65213...ired|4%20-%205

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-25ec...&storeId=10051

I just don't want any more false alarms, my wife and I are expecting our first child soon and I don't need anything waking the baby up for no reason.

Last edited by adgjqetuo; 03-31-2012 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 03-31-2012, 11:10 PM   #15
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Electric Smoke Detectors going off randomly throughout the night


FireX is Kiddie. I haven't had any problems with them other than an occasional bad 9V out of the box.

Consumer reports has this about them.

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