beeping smoke alarm at nite--why is this?

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Hi folks--
I have a smoke alarm in my house that beeps at night, in the middle of the night. When this starts, it beeps about 8 or 10 times, then stops, and then starts doing this again about 5 to 10 minutes later. It started doing this 2 nights ago. Both nights I ended up cutting off the power into my house so I could get a good night's sleep.
This only happens at night, and does not happen during the day.
I opened up the smoke alarm this morning, and found that it is the kind that is wired directly into the house wiring--it does not have a separate battery of any kind, nor a place for one that I can see.
Could power spikes/fluctuations in the middle of the night cause the smoke alarm to go off? That's the only thing I can think of.
Lastly, my house is still standing, and I don't smell any burning in my house. The smoke alarm is located on the second floor of my house, in the hallway, opposite my master bedroom--so it is far away from anything in the house that could have any residual *burning* smell, such as the oven/stove in my kitchen.
Thanks in advance for your help. Hopefully I won't have to cut the power into my house every nite to keep this from happening in the future.
Jean in VA
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Maybe a dirt on the sensor and a change in humidity at night, try blowing or vacume it clean.
Battery backup? maybe its low cycle is coincindently at night .
Defective unit , cause ?
A dead relative trying to contact you and keep you from sleeping, or warn you.
Having a battery only back up is always good measure.
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wrote:

Opposite your bedroom, you say?
Surely you've heard this old saw:
He: "Do you smoke after sex?" She: "Dunno--I never looked."
;-)

Well, if it starts beeping annoyingly during the day, your method will sure certainly your electrical bill!
Seriously (and knowing nothing about such technology), if there's no battery that could be run down, I'd just replace the alarm.
And lastly, it's a rare day that I find someone on Usenet that knows when and how to use a dash--I think I love you! :-)
~John W. Wells
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then
this
so
that
battery
the
Try cleaning it with canned air, like what they use to blow out computers. Do not use isopropyl alcohol on the sensor, isopropyl has water in it. An dry Q-tip would work, pretend it is your eye, gently. In higher humidity times the eye can get fooled. What does your a/c filter look like? Floaties in the air might cause this. Then again it could be broken and time for an new one.
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Smoke detectors are only good for ten years. If it is old replace it. If not, try cleaning as others have suggested. If that doesn't work replace it.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

then
this
so
that
battery
the
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Jean S. Barto wrote:

then
this
so
that
battery
the
My guess is the battery is going. It is usually cooler at night and the battery is putting out just a little less power and that is triggering the low battery beeps.
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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the
house
smoke
the
oven/stove
power
the
what battery? <g>
randy
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and
kind
my
in
the
some systems have a wet or gel cell battery in another place that powers alarms in case the power goes out.
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Like I mentioned in my first post, I can't see a battery of any kind in the unit anywhere--I think it is wired directly into the wiring in the wall. If there *is* a battery in it, I can't see it.
I wasn't aware that smoke alarms *wear out* and need to be replaced periodically. I thought only the batteries (if it has one) required replacing.
Thanks again,
Jean in VA

of
doing
in
and
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Jean S. Barto wrote:

the
If
Most if not all do have a battery, even when they are connected to the main.

It would seem they do. In any case if it is really old, I would recommend replacing it anyway. The newer ones are better. BTW if it does not have a battery backup, then replacing it would give you a chance to replace it with one that does have a battery backup. Fires often accompany a power loss.

stops,
kind
my
and
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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the
If
Jean,
If you only have the one unit and there is no battery compartment visible at the BACK of the unit then yours does not have a battery back-up, is most likely ready for replacement and you should consider replacing with a battery back-up style unit. Of course the replacing can be done with no help IF you can find the exact same unit. You would just unplug the old and plug in the new.
The symptoms you describe are typical for a unit that has a weak battery and replacing all the batteries at the same time typically solves the problem. It is also typical for a unit that has experienced a dust build-up and the compressed air clean out may work.
I have never seen the unit described by another poster which has a remote battery. My experience is mostly with the Firex brand. There unit has 3 wires. White, black and yellow to allow the multiple units to be inter-connected. I would think that a remote battery unit would need at least two more low voltage wires to power the back-up feature.
Colbyt
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Jean S. Barto wrote:

'Wear out' might not be the correct term, but they do lose their effectivness. I'm not sure how long ago (hasn't been long), a 10-year life span was placed on smoke detectors. It is recommended that they be replaced at that time.
Several years ago, manufactures started making low voltage-type detectors. If yours is more then a few years old, then you can not just buy a replacement and plug it in (provided the plugs are the same. There is no standardization). If you do, you will burn up the new one.
Your best bet would to look at yours and find the manufactures name, then find out what they have that is compatable. I do know that FireX makes a direct replacement for there older units. And, to be on the safe side, please get one that has a battery back-up, and use a 10-year battery in it.
Larry (also in VA)
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Jean S. Barto wrote:

Smoke detectors use a teeny bit of radioactive material (Americium) to ionize the air flowing over a sensor. Americium decays over time an becomes less energetic. The half-life of Americium-241 is approximately 430 years, so, if your house is about that old....
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JerryMouse wrote:

Not all smoke detectors. My 120V model uses a light in a small passageway. Smoke entering the system reflects the light to a sensor. There really is nothing except the bulb to wear out.
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Max recommended period is 10 years, & thats on assumption are vacuumed fairly regularly.
The US NFPA published paper on this some years ago.
After that time the MTBF[Engineers speak] ratios will become too high as to be unacceptable; and of course by then they'll be 1/cheaper than before 2/have more features 3/probably be smaller!
Follow maintenance instructions in your alarm manual for a long trouble free life.

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snipped-for-privacy@notmail.com says...

If you dispose of it correctly, it goes to a hazardous waste disposal facility.

Nope, only ionization-based detectors. Photoelectric detectors don't have any radioactive material in them.

Sounds like paranoia to me. The danger posed by the radiation from a smoke detector is miniscule, even if you take the detector apart and swallow the radioactive material.
Some background: http://www.epa.gov/radiation/sources/smoke_alarm.htm:
"As long as the radiation source stays in the detector, exposures would be negligible (less than about 1/100 of a millirem per year), since alpha particles cannot travel very far or penetrate even a single sheet of paper, and the gamma rays emitted by americium are relatively weak."
And from the Aussies (http://www.uic.com.au/nip35.htm ):
"The radiation dose to the occupants of a house from a domestic smoke detector is essentially zero, and in any case very much less than that from natural background radiation. The small amount of radioactive material that is used in these detectors is not a health hazard. On the other hand, the ability of domestic smoke detectors to save life and property has been demonstrated in many house fires."
What's more likely to be a danger to you - a tiny bit of radioactive material in a smoke detector, or a fire in your house?

I'm sure that people who die in house fires also have that equipment. For some reason, it doesn't seem to work as well as a smoke detector mounted to the wall.

Yup, sounds like paranoia to me.

Unfortunately, the American government hasn't discovered a way to outlaw stupidity.
Regards,
George Wenzel
--
George Wenzel, B.A. (Criminology)
E-mail: snipped-for-privacy@recursor.invalid
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The right to be stupid is guarantied by the Constitution unfortunately the same fools are also allowed to vote.
Colbyt
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<< > Unfortunately, the American government hasn't discovered a way to outlaw

The right to be stupid is guarantied by the Constitution unfortunately the same fools are also allowed to vote.
Colbyt
What in hell does this have to do with a malfunctioning smoke alarm?
I had a similar problem except it only whooped when I washed my hair. Turned out this was an outmoded smoke alarm I hadn't noticed when I bought the house, and it read "steam" as "smoke." I had it removed and that was that--the up to date alarms never have given me trouble.
zemedelec
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All smoke alarms are dumb & can't differentiate between smoke + steam.
Its why in UK only fixed point Heat Alarms are allowed in Kitchen.
snipped-for-privacy@aol.comspamfree (Zemedelec) wrote in message

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Gel wrote:

Well if you guys would stop BOILING everything, it would be less of a problem :)
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