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Last night at 3AM, we were woken up by our smoke detectors going off. We have a system where the detectors are hardwired together and each has a battery backup. The result is that when one unit reports smoke, the whole house screams at like 120 dB, which is not a great way to wake up...

No smoke, no fire, so we went around and started pulling the detectors. When I got to one of them and pulled it, the alarm stopped. I plugged the rest of them back in, and the alarm stayed off.

My thinking is that this 1 unit has a short in it. If it had been going off because of a blocked sensor or dust or something, it should have kept going off when I unplugged it from the system, right? I checked the battery, and it was fine.

I can't find anything online about a similar problem. Anyone here hear of anything like this?
 

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If they are over 10 years old, they should all be replaced...not the batteries, the units themselves.
 
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Shorts blow breakers, or cause batteries to explode. No, what you have is a unit going bad. It could be that breaking the connection on the plug cleaned the contacts, and removed a little bit of corrosion, is why it stopped, when you reset them.

Until you come back Shazamm42, all we can guess at this point what was going on.
 

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Same thing just happened to me. Mine went off at 5:00 AM, not 3:00, and the alarm stopped after about 5 seconds. I know my smoke detectors are old, and replacing them was already on my list of things to do.
I expect we have all managed to set off the smoke alarm while (over) cooking something in the kitchen, but I never even heard about false SD alarms (with zero smoke or humidity present) until I read your thread.
 

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When you change them out shazaam42, change them to Photo-Electric units, and also combo with CO detection for the bedrooms. You can at this point because they are faulty, use battery only units, which you can get for less than $10 at Lowe's, Ace Hardware, Home Depot, etc, until you can get the Photo-Electric cell units.

The ones I am talking about, have a shorter response time, then the older conventional ones, which can take up to a 1/2 hour to warn you, the Photo cells, can take less than 15 min's depending on the model to tell you that there is a problem. Also for bedrooms, get the ones that actually have a voice alarm, not the old school annunciator. Keep those for out in the other parts of the house.
 
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